September 24, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman
PADUCAH, Ky.

For the second year, Kentucky’s Master Gardeners decided to get together to share information and ideas, and what better way to kick-off the event than with a look at gardens.

Participants of the recent three-day event had a chance to check out a couple of private gardens in McCracken County, as well as the award-winning Purchase Area Master Gardeners Demonstration and Trial Garden.

Master Gardeners from the Purchase area guided their Kentucky counterparts through the many small gardens within the demonstration garden, answering questions and sharing stories.

Sue Sturgeon, a Northern Kentucky Master Gardener, was excited to see the gardens and get to participate in the conference. When playing host to the International Master Gardeners conference earlier this year, she said, she did not get to listen to many of the speakers.

“The speakers always bring new information to us as well as perhaps a different or interesting slant on a problem or opportunity within gardening,” she said. “That’s what I’m looking for.”

Purchase area Master Gardener Nova Nuckolls said she and her fellow gardeners spend a lot of time in the garden preparing it for visitors, not just during the convention but also throughout the year. Visitors stop by often, she said.

Helping to answer questions at the garden and throughout the conference was Kathy Keeney, McCracken County horticulture agent for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

The first statewide Master Gardener meeting was in Elizabethtown in 2002 and next year it will move to Bowling Green. Keeney, a member of the planning committee, said the goal is to have the meeting at a central location one year and at an outlying area the next.

“We maintain centrality for the most part, but give people the adventure of coming out to see some of the farther sites,” she said.

While Paducah played host to the event, Master Gardener groups from other areas pitched in to help.

“We try to break up the different things that have to be done among different groups,” she said. “That way it becomes more of a state effort.”

The annual meetings are a great way to share ideas, enthusiasm and support, Keeney said. 
“We’re building friendship and camaraderie across the state,” she said.

For more information on becoming a Master Gardener contact a county office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service.
 

Contact: 

Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Source: Kathy Keeney 270-554-9520