BY MELODY ROSE
Applications are now being taken for the upcoming 2013 Tennessee Master Gardener Classes conducted by the University of Tennessee Extension Office.
The 2013 Big Spring/Greene County Master Gardener classes will begin on March 6 and continue through Oct.17.
Two monthly sessions will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Greene County University of Tennessee Extension Office.
The fee for the program is $175, which includes an extensive 800-plus-page Master Gardener textbook, a name badge, hand lens and other related materials. Two partial scholarships will be awarded on an as-needed basis.
Tennessee Master Gardeners (TMGs) are trained volunteers who help the UT Extension Office provide information and educate the public in home horticulture.
Prospective TMGs attend 40 hours of horticultural classes and are required to volunteer 40 hours of community service through the Extension Office.
The University of Tennessee sponsors the Tennessee Master Gardener Program.
Statewide, there are approximately 2,000 active Master Gardeners in 44 counties.
GOAL OF THE PROGRAM
The main goal of the Master Gardener program is to enhance the availability of horticultural information and to improve the quality of life within community gardens and landscapes.
These volunteers aid the Extension Office by conducting plant clinics; providing requests for UT horticultural information; establishing and maintaining demonstration gardens; working with the handicapped, youth, and the elderly; aiding other special groups in the community; and designing and implementing community involvement projects, along with coordinating Master Gardener programs.
ACTIVE LOCAL PROGRAMS
Some programs the Big Spring Master Gardeners are currently involved with include the Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County Demonstration Garden, the New Hope Cemetery Restoration and Landscape Project, and the Nathanael Greene Museum Landscape.
They are also in the beginning stages of creating very different and distinct community gardens in the downtown Greeneville area for 2013 -- the Greeneville Friendship Heritage Garden located at the Babb Cabin Homestead, and the Tabernacle Soup Kitchen Garden at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, on Wesley Avenue.
The Heritage Garden, located at Fox Park, is a joint effort of the Big Spring Master Gardener Association, Christ United Methodist Church, and the Nathanael Greene Museum.
Master Gardeners also participate in the Greene County Fair and various venues throughout the county promoting horticulture projects.
They host a plant sale consisting primarily of heirloom tomatoes and herbs each spring and attend educational demonstrations throughout the year.
This year the group attended the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, in Charlottesville, Va.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Applications can be picked up at the Extension Office or printed from the Big Spring Master Gardener website at http://www.bsmga.com.
Applications will be accepted through Feb. 7.
Selected applicants will be notified by Feb. 21, and full payment needs to be made to the UT Extension Office by Feb. 28.
Contact Melody Rose, Master Gardener Coordinator/UT Extension Agent, at (423) 798-1710 for more information.