Crystal Wingate completed her required training in 1997 becoming a Certified Texas Master Gardener in the Orange County MG Association. She retired from Master Gardeners in August 2020 and moved to Pearland, Texas to live with her daughter because of health problems.
She has been known as the Pass Along Plant Queen, always sharing cuttings, bulbs, and tubers of all forms with the members almost each time she was at a meeting. These treasures all came from her personal gardens. She has presented numerous programs on bulbs to new students and the public, bringing to light that bulbs are not just tulips, daffodils, and irises.
In the early 2000’s she spearheaded the daylily sales project which the organization raised over $10,000. All daylilies donated were hybrid plants from a local enthusiast and grower. In fact, one of the hybrid daylilies was named “Crystal Wingate” by the hybridizer, Mrs. B. Brown of Orange. The successful sale made it possible for the organization to fund a scholarship to the local college, Lamar State College of Orange.
During her time in Master Gardeners, Crystal was a Delegate to the TMGA from 2000 thru 2010 representing the Orange County organization. She served the Orange organization as President from 2001 thru 2003, and as Vice President 2006 and 2007. She chaired or co-chaired many committees such as the awards committee, plant sales committee, vegetable contest committee along with the field trip committee. In July 2001, she, along with several other members attended the International Master Gardener conference in Florida. In September of the same year, she was awarded Honorable Mention for Individual Master Gardener at the Annual TMGA conference.
Prior to the Master Gardeners building their own greenhouse, Crystal would let the organization use her personal greenhouse to house plants for upcoming sales along with letting the group work on the plants there. To keep larger pots from being too heavy, she would put Styrofoam pellets in the bottom of these pots before adding soil and this was something the group incorporated in their routine when planting large plants. She also said to water a plant until “it pees” to make sure it was watering thoroughly. Crystal never met a plant she did not try to propagate.
Crystal has been a valuable, active member of the Orange County Master Gardener Association participating in leadership roles as well as contributing her time and talents toward numerous projects. Because of her devotion to the Master Gardeners for many years, we would like to recognize her as an Emeritus member.