Berries, birds and biblical plants Master Gardeners plan 2013 Learning Series

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

For the sixth consecutive year, the Master Gardeners of Lee County will offer a series of lectures intended to educate, entertain and inspire area gardeners.
The 2013 Learning Series kicks off Jan. 15 and concludes Oct. 8. Ten 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.
The programs are free.
“All the classes, except for the one in January, are offered on the second Tuesday of the month,” said Susan McGukin, program associate for volunteer management at the Lee County Extension Service. “And we have two classes in March because that’s such a hot time for gardening.”
Three of the classes – “Blueberries and Blackberries,” “Totally Tomatoes,” and “The 4 Rs of Gardening” – are being offered at two different times on the same day because of their popularity, she said.
The topics presented by the different Master Gardeners are actually chosen by the class participants.
“Every month that we have a class, participants evaluate the class and suggest future topics,” McGukin said. “Then we compile a list and let the instructors choose from that.”
All the presentations are new this year, although some may be on topics that have been offered before.
“Two new topics this year are composting and recycling,” McGukin said. “In gardening magazines, these are hot topics and we felt like our local gardeners would be interested in them.”
Interested participants need to register now for the Jan. 15 class on Trees and Shrubs, presented by Reginald Rose. Registration for future classes takes place one month in advance.
To register for a class or to learn more, call McGukin at (662) 841-9000.

2013 Learning Series
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 “Blueberries and Blackberries,” “Totally Tomatoes,” and “The 4 Rs of Gardening,” which are also offered at 3:30 p.m.
• Jan. 15: “Trees and Shrubs,” presented by Reginald Rose.
• Feb. 12 (two sessions): “Blueberries and Blackberries,” presented by Lonnie Neaves.
• March 12: “Gardening 101,” presented by Brenda Crothers.
• March 26 (two sessions): “Totally Tomatoes,” presented by Lonnie Neaves.
• April 9: “Small Space Gardening,” presented by Russ Hutcheson.
• May 14: “Two Worlds: The Story of Composting,” presented Dale Smith.
• July 9: “People, Plants and Their Stories,” presented by Sherra Owen.
• Aug. 13 (two sessions): “The 4 Rs of Gardening,” presented by Donna Tucker.
• Sept. 10: “Birds,” presented by Margaret Gratz.
• Oct. 8: “Biblical Plants,” presented by Kay Martin.

MG training course set to begin Feb. 5
The Lee County/MSU Extension Service and Master Gardener Association will jointly offer a 40-hour training course for those interested in becoming Master Gardeners.
The course will begin Feb. 5 and will meet at the Lee County Extension Office each Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. for six weeks. Each day’s instruction lasts about 4 hours, except for the last class on March 14, which is two hours.
The cost is $85 and covers the cost of training, supplies, light lunch and a one-year membership to the state Master Gardener Association. The class is limited to 15 participants.
After training is complete, an additional 40 hours of volunteer service is required for certified Master Gardener status.
For more information or to request an application, call Susan McGukin at (662) 841-9000. The deadline to register is noon on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Click video to hear audio