2017-07-09 / Insight

Master Gardeners help green up county

LAPEER COUNTY — At some point or another nearly everyone has stuck a couple of seeds in a Dixie cup of dirt or stuffed some petunias into an old pot. But there are those among us who take gardening a whole lot more seriously.

For those, there’s the Master Gardener Program. Mary Payne, chairman of Lapeer County’s program, said it’s an opportunity for people to learn about gardening in depth and do some community service.

The program began at Washington State University in 1972 and since then has spread to every state, nine Canadian provinces and South Korea. Last year 3,991 Master Gardener volunteers working in 77 Michigan counties did more than 170,000 hours of volunteer work.

In Lapeer County, 25 Master Gardeners maintain the Display Gardens at Suncrest, 1455 Suncrest Dr., Mayfield Township, which is open daily from dawn to dusk. The garden features everything from annuals and grasses to trees and shrubs.

Payne said Jackie Delisi will offer the next Master Gardener class at the Heritage Church — Imlay City Campus, 543 N. Cedar Street, Imlay City starting Aug. 24. The 14-week class costs $300 and will run from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays.

Tuition assistance is available, Payne noted. Once people complete the class they’re expected to complete 40 hours of volunteer service the first year and 20 hours annually after that.

“It’s a good way to give back to the community,” she said. She added it also creates gardening opportunities people might not have at home.

The class covers every aspect of gardening from soil science to planting and pruning.

The master gardener program fosters environmentally responsible gardening practices; improving food security; and community improvement.

For more information visit www.msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/master_ gardener_ volunteer.

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