Nina Ellis is a beloved and revered member of the Henderson County Master Gardener Association. Already a knowledgeable gardener with over seventy years of gardening experience when she enrolled in the Master Gardener training course, Nina wanted to learn more. And, she wanted to share her knowledge and love of gardening. She has been an invaluable contributor to her class, to the organization, to the community and beyond.
Nina was certified as a Master Gardener in 2004 and served as secretary of the Henderson County Master Gardener Association in 2006 and 2007 and as chairperson for the annual plant sale from 2006 until 2012. She became a popular speaker at area events and a regular contributor to the Inside Dirt, the association newsletter, as well as a consultant to the East Texas Arboretum for their Native Plant Garden. Other service has included participation in the development and implementation of the HCMGA DREAM Garden; founding membership and service in the Anderson County Master Gardener Association; and many years of membership in the Native Plant Society.
Nina’s specialty is native plants. She completed classes at the Lady Bird Johnson Center, where she is a charter member, to further her knowledge of native plants and bring the information back to HCMGA. She also has volunteered regularly to assist well known horticulturist, Greg Grant, at the Piney Woods Native Plant Center in Nacogdoches, TX. Greg describes Nina as “a DEAR friend, helper, mentor, student, and sweetheart”.
In recognition of her service, Nina was named Henderson County Master Gardener Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and received a 3rd place 2011 individual Master Gardener Award from the Texas Master Gardener Association.
Nina is charismatic in her love for gardening and for life. As a spokesperson and recruiter for HCMGA, she attracted many new members, nurtured their confidence and inspired them to expand their participation and knowledge. She has helped a young HCMGA grow and mature into a strong organization. Nina is known as a valuable source of horticultural information for HCMGA members, the CEA and for the public. She has been a role model. A common statement among Henderson County Master Gardeners is “Nina is what we all want to be when we grow up.” She is a Master Gardener in every sense of the word; passionate about learning ever more about horticulture; and, teaching others what she has learned in a simple and engaging way.