( 0 Votes )

Fluvanna Master Gardeners toured the iris garden at Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants  on May 10.  Twelve volunteers armed with new knowledge of all things plants celebrated their graduation to Master Gardener intern status Thursday (May 10).
The group gathered with bona fide Fluvanna Master Gardener’s at Tufton Farm, the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, for a tour and lunch in the garden.

Those who completed the classroom training and passed the final exam are:

  • Nancy Arllen
  • Ruthann Carr
  • Irene Fulk
  • Jim Hallissy
  • Pam Hallissy
  • Brenda Hunter
  • Amy Myers
  • Joanne Perry
  • Janet Rockafellow
  • Claudia Thomas
  • Dana Traynham
  • Phyllis Wilson

In order to become full-fledged Master Gardeners, they must perform 50 volunteer hours. After receiving their certificates, the group heard about several volunteer opportunities.

In 2008, Master Gardeners Liz Spadarr and Michele Durst came up with the idea of asking gardeners using the Fluvanna Community Garden at Pleasant Grove to plant a row to donate to the Food Bank. Over the years, said Jan Hall, the group has farmed their own plots and donated all produce to the community. Interns learned they could volunteer to help weed, water, harvest and deliver the produce each Monday. Last year the group provided more than 1,500 pounds of free vegetables to Fluvanna’s hungry citizens.

“It’s a great project and people who need it the most will benefit,” Hall said.

A similar vegetable plot is planted at the Holland Page house.

Volunteers can also help with the plot at Central Elementary which involves working with school children to plant, grow and harvest vegetables and herbs.

Connie Dombowski spoke to the group about helping out at Ag Day. Master Gardeners provide Fluvanna fourth graders with the experience of planting their own zinnia and tomato seeds to take home.

“The children love it and they go away from our booth thinking they have a gift,” Dombowski said.

Some of the new interns have already started volunteering by operating the Master Gardener booth at the Farmer’s Market.

Rockafellow said she spent an afternoon at the booth and was surprised to see she held her own when people asked gardening questions.

Wilson said the classroom training was a wonderful experience.

“I learned a lot and it opened the door to a whole wealth of knowledge I have yet to learn,” she said.

Traynham, who is already getting into the thick of things by hosting the June meeting, said she was surprised at how interesting the classes were.

“When I saw that one class was devoted to turf, I wondered how they could fill up three hours on grass, but it ended up being one of my favorite classes,” Traynham said. “I was amazed that something so mundane could be so satisfying.”

Arllen said the class in which a representative from Tufton Farm talked about propagating was her favorite. In that class – just as fourth graders on Ag day – Master Gardener trainees planted different seeds and took cuttings from a fig tree to root.

“I was always interested in propagation but it was that class that pulled it all together for me,” Arllen said. “It made me want to learn more.”