Adams County Master Gardeners host conference

Published 11:04 pm Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Natchez — Using the theme “Gardens Old, Gardens New, Gardens Shared, Gardens Grew,” Adams County Master Gardeners along with other counties in the southwest district recently welcomed some 225 Master Gardeners from across the state to the 11th annual Master Gardeners Conference.

Master Gardeners who arrived early registered at Historic Jefferson College and enjoyed guided tours of the site’s nature trail and talks about hypertufa containers and patented plant laws. Don Estes, director emeritus of the Natchez City Cemetery, led tours of the cemetery to complete the day’s activities.

Activities continued at the Natchez Convention Center the following day. Topics for the three-day event included romantic southern gardens, tropical gardens, gardens shared, muscadine culture, yard art, Native American plant use, cemetery roses, modern roses, historic garden reclamation and tips for smart gardening.

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During the noon luncheon Dr. Lelia Kelly of Mississippi State University presented the Master Gardener state awards. Homer Richardson of Lincoln County won Master Gardener of the Year. Brookhaven Monument Company won the Friend of the Year.

The Adams County Master Gardeners won the other awards: Master Gardener Coordinator of the Year awarded to David Carter, Master Gardener Project of the Year accepted by Joanne King and Bill McGehee for the trimming of the crepe myrtles at the Natchez City Cemetery, Outstanding County Master Gardener Association accepted by Elaine Gemmell, and the Master Gardener Newspaper of the Year accepted by Anne Gray. Kelly directs the Mississippi Master Gardener program.

The keynote speaker at the Thursday night banquet was Pat Stone, nationally recognized writer and gardening expert, who shared the human side of gardening through his storytelling and music.

Friday’s events continued at the Natchez Convention Center and concluded with a picnic at Melrose Gardens. The schedule also allowed time for the Master Gardeners to take walking or driving tours to see some of the many beautiful gardens in Natchez.

Other guest speakers included Jim Coy, Elizabeth Boggess, Michael Norell, Gail Barton, Eddie Rhodes, Jackie Moody, Teri Tillman, Marilyn Wellan, Michael Seymour and Kathleen Jenkins.

The Master Gardener program began in Washington State in 1972. In 1991 Mississippi State University Extension Service started the first groups of Master Gardeners in Hinds and Harrison counties. Today there are approximately 700 active Master Gardeners statewide. Adams County’s first group was formed in 2001 and now has more than 40 active members.

New classes to become Master Gardeners begin in the fall. Contact the Extension Office at 601 445-8202 for more information.