Garden Smarter Program- Calvert County, Maryland Master Gardeners
The Calvert County, MD Master Gardeners received a first place Search for Excellence award in the Workshop Category at the recent International Master Gardener conference in West Virginia.
The Garden Smarter program is a public education series of free interactive workshops and presentations for adults and children in Calvert County, Maryland. Calvert County is located on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The Garden Smarter program works in partnership with the Calvert County Library and most of the programs are held at the centrally located main branch.
Our goals are to educate the community about various topics to promote positive environmental stewardship and to promote and expand our outreach programs. Some of our workshops’ subject matter include: using integrated pest management, attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects, using native plants in the landscape, creating a wildlife habitat, gardening basics, building rain gardens, growing vegetables from seed, planning and preparing a home vegetable and herb garden, composting, preserving the harvest, making and using salad boxes and tables, building container gardens, landscaping with edible plants, extending vegetable gardens from spring to autumn, pruning, creating Bay friendly lawns, and preparing gardens for winter.
The partnership with the Calvert Library is an essential part of the success of Garden Smarter. The library publicizes the series on its web page, through email notification, and in local newspapers. The staff promotes the series throughout the season by distributing Garden Smarter brochures and setting up counter displays to interest library customers in gardening topics.
700 community members attend over 2 year period
The Garden Smarter series drew a total of 700 community members for the past three years, 2008-2010. The program has expanded each year from 7 to 19 sessions and the audience has increased from 26 to 353. The Garden Smarter Series has opened the door to many outreach activities for Calvert Master Gardeners including talks before school groups, community groups, garden clubs, and fraternal organizations.
The Garden Smarter series has connected many homeowners to the Maryland Master Gardener Bay Wise Yard Certification Program and increased the interest in our annual plant sale. After attending presentations about Bay Wise landscaping or vegetable gardening, people have come to the sale just to buy native plants, rain barrels, and salad boxes.
To learn more about the work of Calvert County Master Gardeners visit http://extension.umd.edu/gardening/mastergardeners/local/calvert/index.cfm
Written by Denise Moroney and Nancy Radcliffe, Calvert County, Maryland Master Gardeners