People driving by the Chestnut Ridge Christian Church on Post Oak Tritt may notice busy gardeners and beautiful vegetables. They can also observe similar activity and many green plants at Green Meadows Preserve on Dallas Highway, behind the old Allgood School in Marietta, and at Kennesaw’s Fountain Gate Community Garden on Cherokee Street. These are community gardens, where Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County assist and mentor members of the community in growing food organically in their own garden plots.
Master Gardeners have an upcoming plant sale and expo on April 25 from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and April 26 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Jim Miller Park in Marietta. The event is free and open to the public. They will also have an annual garden tour on May 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at McFarlane Nature Park. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Member price is $10.
Master Gardeners have been trained and certified in horticulture and related subjects in the volunteer training program offered by University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension. In exchange for their training, Master Gardeners volunteer their expertise and services to promote knowledge, interest, and enjoyment of gardening within the community.
Other Master Gardener projects range from growing food for the needy, to working with children, assisting in the operation of public gardens and nature centers, and providing free educational programs to the public.
Master Gardeners in Kennesaw grow food for the needy under the banner of the “Plant A Row for the Hungry” nationwide program. The Plant A Row garden annually provides more than 2,000 pounds of fresh, organically grown produce for the Center for Family Resources to help feed the needy.
Recognizing the importance of healthful and educational activities for children, volunteers assist 14 Cobb school teachers, who are also trained Master Gardeners, as they conduct Junior Master Gardener programs at Birney, Kemp, and Midway Covenant elementary schools.
Master Gardener members maintain 17 major projects. Their “Lunch & Learn” and “Gardener’s Night Out” are free and open to the public.
“Educating themselves and the Community has become a way of life for Master Gardeners everywhere because they certainly share the fruits of their labor with the folks they are serving in their neighborhoods,” said Carolyn Gentry, recently retired Cobb County Master Gardener Coordinator.