Master Gardener class has something
for everyone

July 10, 2008

by Kim Green
Victoria County Master Gardener Intern
2008 Master Gardener Class Coordinator

Edited by Charla Borchers Leon
Victoria County Master Gardener             
Photo Credit: Kim Green/Victoria County Master Gardener Intern
Did you know there are both harmful and beneficial insects? One of the state’s leading experts, Extension Entomologist Roy Parker, will help you identify insects like this male Queen butterfly.
Who knew that a little more than 16 years after dabbling in my first yard, that I would be well on my way to becoming a Master Gardener. To explain a little, I started out gardening after I married. To put the word gardening in the sentence is quite funny to say the least. My first try at gardening was to plant shade-tolerant impatiens in the full sun. Who knew I was supposed to read the plant tag and plant based on proper conditions? So began my quest to learn after brutally killing those lovely impatiens.

Why not become a master gardener?

Over the years I have read anything and everything I could get my hands on. My yard grew more and more beautiful as I learned. Then one Thursday last year, I picked up the newspaper and read about becoming a master gardener. I thought to myself, why not? I enrolled in the class in August, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Classes are for everyone – novice to expert gardener

Anyone and everyone will gain knowledge from this course. It does not matter if you are a novice or expert gardener; there is something for everybody.

There are topics ranging from understanding plants and plant growth, diagnosing and understanding plant diseases, working with Victoria soils, identifying good and bad bugs, plant propagation, proper pesticide application, working with grasses in our area and so many more.
Visiting a local garden provides for identification and physical examination of plants described in the class. Horticulturist John Fossati discusses plants in his home landscape with 2007 class member Beth Ellis.
Lupe Cook, right, oversees propagation techniques with last year’s trainees. There will be a class on propagation again in this year’s course.
I myself love to propagate plants. I gained additional knowledge while in the program with the ability to attain hands-on learning on the different types of propagation at the Victoria County Master Gardener greenhouse. There are folks dedicated to this area, and they enjoy sharing their knowledge with you. Once you learn how to propagate effectively, think of all the money savings from not having to purchase so many plants. Sharing these plants with neighbors, friends and family is an added bonus.

This year’s course

The Victoria County Texas AgriLife Extension office, in conjunction with the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, will again hold a master gardener training class starting Aug. 7. The classes meet every Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m., with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, and cost $135, which covers 16 weekly classes taught by leading experts in the state.

The fee includes the master gardener training handbook, speaker transportation costs, as well as additional handouts, and your own home soil sample results. You will also get the option to tour the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas for transportation costs only.

The classes are taught by Texas AgriLife extension specialists, county extension agents, Texas A&M professors and local experts, including our own master gardeners.

From trainee to master gardener

While in the program, you will be assigned the title of trainee.

Upon completion of the course, you will be an intern and well on your way to becoming a certified master gardener.

Within one year of completion of the course, you must also complete 50 hours of volunteer service to wear the title of master gardener.

Hear from the masters

Still not sure if the master gardener program is for you? Come to the Lunch and Learn with the Masters free session at noon Monday, in the Pattie Dodson Health Center in Victoria.

The program, “Just What is a Master Gardener?” will be presented by President Helen Boatman, along with various master gardeners providing testimonials as to why they took the class and have remained certified annually. Have your questions and concerns answered; then sign up for the course.

How to register for the course

If even one or two aspects of the topics listed have enticed you to think about taking the course, I urge you to do so. I cannot say enough about how much I have learned, and in turn, have been able to share with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. You will look forward to the classes each week and meet lots of new friends that share in your love of gardening.

For an application go to and click on “Members, then “2008 Master Gardener Training Application.”

Download it at

If you do not have computer access, contact the Victoria County Extension office at 361-575-4581 and request information from Joe Janak, county extension agent, or Vikki Fitzpatrick, Ag secretary.

The registration deadline is July 28.

Your “why not?” will be answered

I will be instructing this year’s course with assistance from several other master gardeners. We have scheduled some of the most knowledgeable speakers in their respective fields for your benefit. My “Why Not?” has been answered over and over again. Speaking from experience, I think yours will be, too.

2008 Master Gardener Training Class Curriculum

• Pesticide safety and application techniques
• Understanding plants and plant growth
• Diagnosing and understanding plant diseases
• Landscape horticultures and principles of EarthKind practices – IPM
• Working with Victoria soils, tree species care and maintenance
• Vegetables and Herbs
• Identifying and Understanding Insects
• Plant propagation
• Perennials, roses and Texas Superstars
• Home fruit and nut management
• Turfgrass varieties and management
• Junior Master Gardener training
• Educating the public

          Lunch and Learn with the Masters

• “Just What is a Master Gardener?”
• Presented by Victoria County Master Gardener,
   Helen Boatman and fellow master gardeners
• When:  Monday, Noon to 1 p.m.
• Where:  Pattie Dodson Health Center,
   2805 N. Navarro St.
• What:  Free session
• Bring your own lunch and drink
• Coordinated by Texas AgriLife Extension Service – Victoria County