This week, the Lafayette County Master Gardeners hosted the 2014 State Master Gardeners Convention at the Oxford Convention Center.
Master Gardeners enjoyed tours of the University of Mississippi campus and Rowan Oak on Wednesday and Thursday. There were also self-guided walking tour of Historic Oxford and the University Museum, along with some tours of private gardens on North and South Lamar.
The conference was split into two events. One aspect is strictly for Master Gardeners who were registered to attend. The other featured event is the Garden Expo that’s open to the public. Anyone is invited who has a green thumb and three days to shop for flowers and plants, gardening tools, equipment and supplies, some homemaker crafts and even garden-related art.
The Garden Expo took place at the National Guard Readiness Center, while the Master Gardeners conference was in the conference section of the Oxford Conference Center.
Master Gardeners live in 50 Mississippi counties, and the Lafayette group has about 80 members. Statewide, more than 1,500 volunteers work in local communities as Master Gardeners.
Anyone interested in becoming a Master Gardener must complete 40 hours of training in the first year. At that point, the candidate is considered a master gardener intern, according to Colleen McChesney, publicity committee chairman for the Lafayette County Master Gardeners.
In the second year, interns must complete 40 hours of service. Then, they’re given a Master Gardeners card and certification, becoming an official member of the association. There is a fee for certification.
The association brings in professors and horticulturalists to train future Master Gardeners. They also bring subjects — from ornamental plants and soil analysis to the various bugs, pests and diseases that may affect native plants. The training includes readings and some hands-on experience, McChesney said.
Below are pictures from the Garden Expo.
– Photos by Sharon Hays, Shays Photography, firstname.lastname@example.org
– Master Gardener information provided by aspiring master gardener Gretchen Stone.