When Linda Keese and her husband retired to San Marcos in 1989, Linda helped organize the very first Master Gardener class in Hays County. In the summer of 1991, she helped train a second group of gardeners and led a team to landscape the newly renovated train depot in San Marcos with old roses. She also wrote a grant to landscape the surrounding area with native trees, receiving Special Recognition for the project from the group.
On May 22,1992 at Texas A&M, 22 delegates from 14 counties, including Hays, met and ratified the newly proposed Texas Master Gardener Association during the first Master Gardener Advanced Training Seminar. With 101 volunteer hours from July ’91 to July 92 and re- certification CEU’s from the seminar, on July 21, 1992, Linda became a certified Hays County Texas Master Gardener. Armed with additional information on native seasonal color in the landscape, along with snake oils and science from the conference, she began presenting programs to garden clubs and civic groups and helped with each new training class group, as well as writing a weekly gardening column for the San Marcos Record, highlighting a blooming native plant of each month. She wrote the column for 8 years until her first grandchild was born, then only wrote what to plant where and how for 10 more years. She also served on the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Board.
November 29, 1994 she was given Special Recognition for over 800 hours of outstanding volunteer service to the Master Gardeners. She has held many offices, including president (1996) and led many projects, including co-chair for the Bexar/Hays sponsored Texas Master Gardener conference in San Antonio. She has written countless published articles, made hundreds of presentations and led many workshops on seed balls and cloning roses. In May 1998 at the Texas Master Gardener Conference in Galveston, she was recognized for her achievements as an Individual Master Gardener. Also in 1998, the Hays County Master Gardeners were called upon to help organize the Texas Master Naturalists, a volunteer organization sponsored by both the extension office and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Linda was part of the small group of Master Gardeners who attended the conference near La Grange to organize a chapter of HCMN from Hays County.
After 27 years of service, and thousands of volunteer hours, Linda is slowing down a bit these days, but she will always be a Texas Master Gardener, an avid plant collector and Texas Rose Rustler. She is still active on the HCMG Speakers Network and leads workshops for training classes. She is also certified by the Texas Native Plant Society at Level 4, Landscaping with Natives, extolling the virtues of native plant selection, with knowledgeable Master Gardener taught cultivation, to all who will listen.