Master gardeners to hold class

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Dallas County Master Gardeners Association is inviting green thumbs and garden enthusiasts for a learning program with a special guest speaker.

“It’s an opportunity for us to learn more about our specific area and what we can and can’t grow,” said Master Gardeners president Tina Lancaster.

Alabama Living gardening columnist and Auburn University’s Office of Agricultural Communications and Marketing head Katie Jackson will be speaking. Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and a master’s degree in public administration from Auburn University. With more than 30 years of experience as writer, editor and photographer. She has written about agriculture, natural resources, environment, art, travel, music, cuisine and more.

“She is going to speak to us about plants that are native to our area and how to have a butterfly garden,” Lancaster said.

She said the group requested Jackson to speak about butterfly gardens because the group will be helping with the butterfly gardens at the Mill Village Community Garden.

“A lot of us are interested in knowing what to plant out there to attract the butterflies and what to do in our own neighborhood,” Lancaster said.

The program will be held at the Central Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative, located at the corner of U.S. Highway 80 West and Medical Center Parkway, on Monday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Lancaster said the program is unique because it generally isn’t open to the public. She hopes the program will welcome local gardeners to participate in the group.

The Master Gardeners Association was founded in 1973 at Washington State University in Seattle. Since then, the program has expanded to all 50 U.S. states. The association provides extensive horticultural training for incoming members who then use that knowledge to give lectures, create gardens and community projects.

In Alabama, the association is provided through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, formed by Auburn University and Alabama A&M in 1995. Currently, 35 counties including Dallas, Tuscaloosa, Chilton, Elmore, Shelby, Mobile and other have groups.

The Dallas County group currently has 35 members.

“We do community activities, we try to endorse gardening and [teach] how to garden,” Lancaster said. “I think the community activity and being involved with the community is so important.”