“But though an old man, I am but an aging gardener” – Thomas Jefferson

Irene Burke visited the Friends of the Library on May 4 to talk about the Master Gardeners. In way of background she told us that in 1862 there was an act that created Land Grant colleges. One example of this is Virginia Tech. In 1914 the cooperative extensions were created and this also created the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Finally in 1972 the Master Gardener program was created and the first one was in Washington State. In 1974 one was created in Arlington,  Virginia and in 1998 there was one created in Fluvanna.

Each Master Gardener has to complete 50 hours of training and 50 hours of service. Courses are given from February to May from 9 – noon. In addition each Master Gardener must complete eight hours of continuing education plus 20 volunteer hours.

The training is provided by the extension service and covers some of the following topics – botany, pest management, landscape management, water conservation, insects, insects, fruits, vegetables, weeds and wildlife management.

There are currently 38 Master Gardeners in Fluvanna and they meet every third Thursday at the Palmrya firehouse. Irene stressed that their volunteer efforts save taxpayer dollars. They are involved in many projects including Pleasant Grove, the Lake Monticello beautification corps and helping the Historical Society at the Holland Page Place.

Following her presentation there was a long question and answer session and Irene answered many questions about a variety of topics including moles, voles and deer. She also explained why synthetic fertilizer is harmful to the environment and stressed the use of natural fertilizers. She also explained the different types of soils in this area. In short her emphasis was on keeping the environment green. In her answers she showed a great enthusiasm for her topic and shared a wealth of information with us. We are most grateful to her for this presentation and everyone came away with an understanding of the complexities of gardening. I for one am so inept at gardening that my artificial plant died so I now have a new appreciation for this activity.

In other business it was reported that we now have 285 members. Cyndi Hoffman reported that they need volunteers to help with the Summer Reading Program crafts and once again reminded us of the free movie nights every first and third Friday. Come out and bring the family. This is one of Fluvanna’s nicest amenities.

Friend’s President Linda Waller announced that books have been purchased and are being sent to the Central Elementary. These are books that the teachers wanted but didn’t have the resources to obtain. The one-thousand dollars for these books was provided by the Friends.

Our next meeting will be on June 1. It will be the annual staff appreciation day brunch. Come out and help honor our hard working library staff. See you at the library.