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Cannon: Master gardener applications to go out soon
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If you are looking for a wonderful learning experience that is all garden related and you want to become involved with a group of interesting people that want to learn and be a part of the community through volunteer and education, the upcoming master gardener class might be the right program for you.

As this year comes to a close, I will be coordinating classes that will add to our growing group of around 170 enthusiastic gardeners.

Master gardener interns receive more than 40 hours of instructional courses taught by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agents and other horticulture specialists.

The 24 classes range from topics including basic botany and native plants to water-wise gardening, butterfly and vegetable gardening, and pest and disease management.

These classes help equip the student to be able to assist with gardening questions when the need arises within the community. When the classes are completed, the master gardener intern is required to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours the first year and 25 hours each year afterward to remain active in their certification.

The Hall County Master Gardeners are a diverse group of individuals that contribute valuable volunteer hours each year through various events and activities.

Hall County has been the No. 1 master gardening group in the state for the past two years totaling almost 17,000 volunteer hours in 2010. Their volunteer support in our extension office is a vital resource.

Volunteers answer garden-related questions and research various questions to find correct answers to the many phone calls received each week.

They are also involved in the sponsoring of the popular Spring and Fall Plant Expos. These events draw a huge gathering of plant lovers from around the area with a large number of nursery and garden vendors.

This year’s Fall Expo will be held Sept. 23-24 at the Chicopee Agricultural Center. There is a $2 admission fee. Times are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Although our main focus is educating, many libraries, schools, nonprofit organizations, assisted livinghcmgs.comtime and resources to make Hall County a more beautiful place to live.

Another exciting project that continues to grow in Hall County is the Junior Master Gardener program. At this time, there are around 10 elementary schools involved with more than 250 children participating.

The master gardeners teach children about community service, soil, water, garden design, wildlife and good nutrition. This program is in its sixth year, with new schools added every year.

Also, there is a great lineup of free classes taught by the Hall County Master Gardeners through our local libraries. The "Lunch and Learn Series" is currently going on from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at the Murrayville Library in August and at the Spouts Springs Library in September.

Topics range from houseplant care to fall garden prep. To get the complete lineup of classes, contact the library or call the extension office at 770-535-8293.

Applications will be mailed in mid September, and classes start in early January through March 2012. The classes are taught every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

You can also go the Hall County Master Gardeners website for more information about the mission statement of the master gardeners.

Wanda Cannon is a master gardener trained and also serves as master gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293. Her column appears biweekly and on

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