Master Gardeners take home top honors

Published 3:25 am Friday, May 12, 2017

By Christian Coffman

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Master Gardeners brought home a bumper crop of awards from the Mississippi Master Gardeners annual conference earlier this month in Raymond.

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Top awards included honors for the outstanding project of the year and outstanding association of the year for large groups.

The Natchez campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College was also awarded the state’s friend of the master gardeners’ award.   

Adams County Master Gardeners President Beth Dudley said the group was proud to have won more awards than any other county. 

“I’m thrilled that Adams County was recognized for all the hard work that we’re a part of in the city of Natchez,” Dudley said. “It’s a really fun group and we work really hard. We’ve got our finger in everything.”

The group was honored for the many projects the group conducts throughout the year, including their work on walking trails at Historic Jefferson College and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, educational outreach at the George Armstrong Library and monthly senior citizen days at the Natchez Mall.

Adams County Master Gardeners has 65 members and is currently working on 13 projects.

The group’s efforts last fall to help the city in the treatment of crape myrtles in Natchez for the crape myrtle bark scale disease earned the project of the year award. 

The master gardeners donated $1,000 to purchase the pesticide needed for the treatment and prevention of the disease. The group worked for several weeks to treat more than 800 crape myrtles throughout the city.   

The Friend of the Master Gardeners Award was presented to Co-Lin Vice President Teresa Busby Thursday during the master gardeners’ monthly meeting. The award was given for Co-Lin’s partnership with the group, especially for allowing the gardeners use of the campus greenhouse.

“We had been searching for a way to acquire a greenhouse in which to grow plants throughout the year for our annual plant sale,” Dudley said.

In exchange for the use of the greenhouse, the master gardeners prune the crape myrtles on campus each year while educating the public on proper pruning techniques.

The group also won the educational program award for large groups for the creation of their monthly Wannabes Garden Tours.Open to the public, individuals dubbed wannabes are given the opportunity to learn successful gardening techniques and practices.

Two members were also chosen as part of a new award for top producers of the year. Dudley won first place and Tevah Cardneaux, who was last year’s president of the Adams County Master Gardeners won second place.

The group operates under the umbrella of Adams County Extension Service.

Adams County Extension Agent Jason Jones said the group serves a great role in the community.

“I love working with them; they’re vital to our community, and they help educate the community as a whole,” Jones said.