The Texas Master Gardeners Program, offered by Texas A&M University through the Texas Cooperative Extension Agencies, started in Texas in 1978. After 34 years, there are over 5,400 master gardeners in over 99 counties across the state. I am deeply grateful being given the opportunity to become a Texas Master Gardener. It is a wonderful program and a great learning and educational experience. I first heard about the Master Gardener Program several years ago from my sister who lives in South Carolina. When I researched the program here in Texas, I found it was not offered everywhere and where it was offered, there was a long waiting list. So I pretty much forgot about it for a couple of years. You can imagine my amazement and delight when I saw an advertisement in the Brady paper last summer offering the Master Gardener Program right here! A great “thank you” goes to Sheila Van Zant for coordinating these classes for us. Have you thought you might like to give it a try’ We are looking to see if we have enough interest in the area to offer this program again this fall. We have had a few calls from people who are interested, but will require several more in order to go forward. Last fall we met every Tuesday afternoon from 1-5 p.m. for three months. We had speakers from all over the state take time to share their expertise and knowledge with us. Topics ranged from soil, drip irrigation, turf grass, native plants, landscape design, fruit production, water gardening pond construction and rainwater harvesting. We also had a field trip to Wildseed Farms outside Fredericksburg. The classes offered through the program add up to approximately 50 hours. After the classes are over, we are considered master gardener interns and we have one year to volunteer 50 hours of service back to the community. After that, we are considered Texas Master Gardeners. After graduating in December, we met in January to form a group and to name our group. We chose the name Central Texas Master Gardeners Association (CTMGA) because our members are from various counties, not just McCulloch. So, what exactly does a master gardener intern do’ Basically, we act as a connection between the County Extension Agency and the public by volunteering our time answering horticultural questions. We also help out on various community projects. This spring Jan Byler headed the project of landscaping the library. Gina Hepburn helped at the Ed Davenport Civic Center (formerly the Heart of Texas Civic Center), and as a group, we have helped Connie Locklear with some weeding at the Heart of Texas Historical Museum. As part of our volunteer service, we are also at the County Extension Office from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and available to answer your gardening questions. Please call us at 597-1295 with questions or to let us know if you’re interested in becoming a master gardener.