Whether through plant sales, a lecture series or gardening advice, the Harris County Master Gardeners organization has assisted county residents with various gardening and horticulture needs for the last 28 years.
"In Harris County there are two horticulture agents and more than 4 million people that we consider our clientele to reach about gardening, landscaping and lawn care," said Skip Richter, county extension horticulturist with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office. "By training volunteers, we can be in more places at once and reach more people."
Interested volunteers who want to become a master gardener take a series of classes during a 12-week period to learn about topics, such as basic botany, vegetables, soils, trees, insects and diseases, or anything related to plants and landscaping. After the class, each participant is required to complete 60 volunteer hours, after which they can continue to do volunteer work throughout the year.
"On the fourth Tuesday of the month, we'll have volunteers in the gardens to answer questions and host other educational events for children and adults," Richter said. "We have a spring and fall field day as well."
Volunteers can also spend their time manning a phone line service, which allows people to call into the extension office and ask questions related to plants or gardening. Harris County Master Gardeners offers free diagnostic services as well.
County residents interested in becoming a master gardener can sign up through the extension office website to become notified when the next class session begins, Richter said.
"To become a master gardener, people don't need gardening experience," he said. "We teach you everything we want you to learn."
Aug. 26: Open Garden Day
Guests can go on self-guided tours of the extension office gardens and partake in children and adult workshops and activities.3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston9–11:30 a.m.
Sept. 2: Bee lecture
During the month of September, the master gardener's lecture topic focuses on bees. The free lecture also includes lunch for $5.3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston
Sept. 20: Fall plant sale
Landscape plants, perennials and fall vegetables are available for purchase.
3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston
Harris County Master Gardeners
3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston 281-855-5600, www.hcmga.tamu.edu/Public