Bloom­ing tal­ent

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

Study of the man­ual and com­ple­tion of the work­shops is fol­lowed by an exam and an in­tern­ship of 40 hours of com­mu­nity vol­un­teer ser­vice be­fore earn­ing the mas­ter gar­dener des­ig­na­tion.

The mas­ter gar­dener pro­gram be­gan in Washington State in 1972 in re­sponse to a grow­ing de­mand by the pub­lic for gar­den­ing in­for­ma­tion. To­day, mas­ter gar­dener pro­grams are of­fered in 45 states as well as B.C., Al­berta, Saskatchewan, On­tario, and At­lantic Canada. There are more than 300 mas­ter gar­den­ers in Saskatchewan and at least 800 in On­tario.

As re­cently as 2006, Man­i­to­bans wish­ing to be­come a mas­ter gar­dener were able to at­tend lo­cally de­liv­ered work­shops of­fered through the Uni­ver­sity of Saskatchewan’s mas­ter gar­dener pro­gram and ad­min­is­tered by Bran­don’s Assini­boine Com­mu­nity Col­lege. The work­shops were then sus­pended, al­though trainees had the op­tion of trav­el­ling to Saska­toon to com­plete any that were out­stand­ing.

Cer­tainly that is far from ideal and has re­sulted in only a hand­ful of mas­ter gar­den­ers scat­tered through­out our prov­ince in com­par­i­son to the vast net­works through­out North Amer­ica. Nev­er­the­less, they form a vi­brant net­work: Bar­bara Jean Jack­son main­tains sev­eral gar­dens at Bran­don Uni­ver­sity, is an ac­tive mem­ber of the Can-West Iris So­ci­ety, and is an Amer­i­can Iris So­ci­ety Ex­hi­bi­tion and Gar­den judge. Lenore Lin­ton vol­un­teers in the gar­den at St. Mary’s Road United Church, grow­ing veg­eta­bles for the church’s weekly har­vest food bank. Right now she is busy co-or­di­nat­ing a 100-mile Man­i­toba Feast at her church on Oc­to­ber 16th by freez­ing 23 pans of Good­land ap­ples for ap­ple crisps. Carol Ben­der vol­un­teers year round for the Beause­jour Daylily As­so­ci­a­tion. Her ef­forts have gone a long way to­wards en­sur­ing the in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion of the Beause­jour Daylily Gar­dens. These are just a few ex­am­ples of the many ways in which mas­ter gar­den­ers in our prov­ince con­trib­ute to their com­mu­ni­ties.

The ma­jor­ity of Man­i­toba’s mas­ter gar­den­ers have earned their des­ig­na­tions through the Uni­ver­sity of Saskatchewan. The time has come for Man­i­toba to have its own lo­cally de­liv­ered pro­gram.

This Fall, Assini­boine Com­mu­nity Col­lege will launch the mas­ter gar­dener pro­gram in Win­nipeg. The pro­gram is open to all — the only pre­req­ui­site is an in­ter­est in gar­den­ing. The cost is ap­prox­i­mately $800. If you want to learn more, please at­tend an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion co-hosted by The Friends of the Assini­boine Park Con­ser­va­tory and the Stein­bach Area Gar­den Club on Septem­ber 15th, 7 p.m. at the Cana­dian Men­non­ite Uni­ver­sity. Pre-reg­is­tra­tion will be avail­able. For more de­tails con­tact Mary Petersen, pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor, Assini­boine Com­mu­nity Col­lege, at 204-725-8700.

Right: B.J. Jack­son, a mas­ter gar­dener in Bran­don, plants a Siberian iris at the gar­dens she main­tains on the cam­pus of

Bran­don Uni­ver­sity.

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