There are many ways traditions start. Master Gardeners’ program is one of these traditions that has a beginning in the not so distant past.

There are many ways traditions start. Master Gardeners’ program is one of these traditions that has a beginning in the not so distant past.
In 1972 the Washington State University Cooperative Extension held a trial clinic in greater Seattle. Urban horticulture was a growing phenome. Questions on general gardening, how to do owner landscaping, and different crafts to beautify yards went unanswered.
The success of that trial clinic was so well accepted, that WSU Extension implemented the first Master Gardeners’ program. Since that humble beginning, the program now has 59,000 clubs disseminating information to the public through hotlines, by email, or in person. They do speaking engagements for public events, write articles and columns for newspapers or other publications. Some run Facebook pages and many are partners with local community programs. Many educational facilities request master gardeners to teach special classes and help with gardens.
Hill ‘N’ Hollow Master Gardeners, keeping with these traditions, have many projects they help with every year. Since Hill ‘N’ Hollow was founded in Newton and McDonald counties, we have a much larger region to work in. Beautification of the city of Anderson flower beds, Jolly Mills flower beds,      McDonald County Courthouse, both county fairs, Newton County Courthouse Landscaping, and Newtonia Battlefield Historical Orchard are some community projects near and dear to master gardeners.
Every year, master gardeners manage booths for Carver Day and Prairie Day at George Washington Carver National Monument. They provide educational classes for roses, native plants, herbs, and wild edibles. They help identify pests, invasive plants, and give information on growing a butterfly garden or rain garden.
Many of the master gardeners not only teach, but continue their own education to stay abreast of innovative ideas and methods. They enjoy sharing their knowledge whether you are under five or approaching one hundred.
All this good work is possible because of the selfless giving of a wonderful group of gardeners.
We can’t do this much without money. To that end, master gardeners across the nation engage in the yearly ritual of Master Gardeners’ Annual Plant Sale.
There will be many vegetable plants; tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, and more. Many are heirloom or historical varieties. Herbs are a perennial favorite and they will be there. There are many perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and groundcovers just for your garden. Need a houseplant? We will have them, too.
This year will have a new category. Shabby chic planters with tiny succulents make great Mother’s Day gifts that are easy to care for. Maybe you would like to have a mini-garden or try container gardening this year. They will be there with someone to tell you how they worked for them.
All these plants are locally grown by the master gardeners. They start the seeds for annuals giving you the opportunity to have heirlooms not available any other way. They separate their perennials or layer root a plant. These are usually favorite items the master gardeners want others to enjoy as much as they do.  
Hold the date: May 6h, at the Newton County Extension Center, 18728 HWY 59, Neosho, Missouri. Across from Neosho airport. Opens at 8am and runs until plants are gone. Come early for best choices.


Bruce Hallman writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.