Getting Down and Dirty

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Response to some of the Learning Series classes offered by Master Gardeners has been so overwhelming organizers have decided to offer three of the classes twice.
The 2012 Learning Series kicks off Jan. 10 and concludes Oct. 9. Eleven different hour-long classes will be offered. All are on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. (and at 3:30 p.m. for the duplicate classes) at the Lee County Extension Service on Cliff Gookin Boulevard in Tupelo.
The programs are free.
“We thought we’d try a new concept to see how the afternoon classes work,” said Susan McGukin, program associate for volunteer management at the Lee County Extension Service. “This is to meet the demand of the overflow crowds from past years in a limited space.”
The three classes that will be offered twice are Fruits and Berries, Vegetable Gardening for Spring Planting, and Backyard Wildlife.
“Vegetable Gardening is our most popular class,” McGukin said. “And we’ve had lots of requests for Fruits and Berries. We don’t know if we’ll pack the house for that one because it is a specialty. Backyard Wildlife is a newly developed class. We’ve hit on that topic before.”
Butterfly Lifestyle is another newly developed class and will be presented by a new Master Gardener, Barbara Korpi.
“We’re trying to totally change it up because we know participants aren’t going to come back for the same old thing every year,” McGukin said.
Likewise, in 2010, Bill Fisher presented a program on Old Garden Roses. This year, he’ll talk about Roses in the Landscape.
“It’s the same topic, but different information,” McGukin said. “It will focus on different roses.”
One thing that’s different this year is the registration process. In the past, participants could sign up in January for as many classes as they wanted.
“But we had a problem with people forgetting they’d signed up and they wouldn’t show up after we had held those seats open for them,” McGukin said.
So the new policy is, participants may sign up for only one class at a time and no more than a month in advance.
“For example, if you attend the Jan. 10 class on Soil Preparation, Pest Control and Watering, and you want to attend the Feb. 14 class on Fruits and Berries, you would call the office on Jan. 11 to reserve your spot for the February class,” she explained.
McGukin noted that although the 2012 Learning Series is scheduled to end in October, there is the possibility of additional classes being added in November.
“There are a couple of topics we’re playing around with,” she said.
To register for a class or to learn more, call McGukin at (662) 841-9000. Seating is limited.
ginna.parsons@journalinc.com

2012 LEARNING SERIES LINEUP
ALL HOUR-LONG CLASSES are at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Lee County Extension Office on Cliff Gookin Boulevard, except for the classes on “Fruits and Berries,” “Vegetable Gardening for Spring Planting,” and “Backyard Wildlife,” which are also offered at 3:30 p.m.

• Jan. 10: “Soil Preparation, Pest Control and Watering,” presented by Bill Fisher.

• Feb. 14 (two sessions): “Fruits and Berries,” presented by Lonnie Neaves.

• March 13: “Problem Solving in the Garden: Been There, Done That,” presented by Sherra Owen.

• March 27: “Organic Gardening,” presented by Russ Hutcheson.

• April 10 (two sessions): “Vegetable Gardening for Spring Planting,” presented by Carl Oglesby.

• May 8: “Butterfly Lifestyle,” presented by Barbara Korpi.

• June 12: “Roses in the Landscape,” presented by Bill Fisher.

• July 10 (two sessions): “Backyard Wildlife,” presented by Donna Tucker.

• Aug. 14: “Vegetable Gardening for Fall Harvest,” presented by Russ Hutcheson.

• Sept. 11: “Herbs in the Landscape: Drying, Using Fresh, Cooking,” presented by Brenda Crother.

• Oct. 9: “Southern Art: Arbors, Planters Containers, Etc.,” presented by Susan Tackett and Sarah Harris.