Mastering gardening in U.P.

Group learns about local gardening organization

Linda Andriacchi, left, a board member of the MIchigan Master Gardener Association, gives Rebecca Krans, consumer horticulture educator for Michigan State University Extension, a gift Thursday at the Marquette Arts and Culture Association. The event included a presentation on English gardens as well as information about the new Upper Peninsula Master Gardener Association. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — If looking at photographs of topiaries, giant rhubarb and a bee hotel in places like Hampton Court and Hever Castle Gardens don’t inspire you, maybe the Upper Peninsula Master Gardeners Association isn’t for you.

If they do, perhaps it is.

Michigan State University Extension consumer horticulture educator Rebecca Krans traveled to England last year, visting places like the Abbey House Gardens and the Sissinghurst Castle Gardens as part of MSUE’s English Garden Study Tour 2016.

Thursday at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center, Krans gave a presentation, “Explore English Castles & Gardens,” where she talked her trip and showed photographs of castles, of course, as well as perennial borders, raised beds and even research plots designed to determine germination speed.

The event also served as a means to attract members to the UPMGA, which Krans said started just last year.

Growing flowers and other plants is a major focus of the newly formed Upper Peninsula Master Gardener Association. (Journal file photo)

The group is designed to bring people who like to garden together, and that includes experienced Master Gardeners, she said. However, individuals with other levels of experience are welcome.

“We are opening it up to the community at large too,” Krans said.

The Master Gardener program is an adult horticulture education and volunteer leader training program in which participants learn basic horticulture principles and complete at least 40 hours of community-based service.

After finishing this service, they earn the title of certified Extension Master Gardener.

The UPMGA offers educational opportunities, such as Thursday’s presentation. However, members don’t have to create elaborate, manicured lawns surrounding a country estate to get something out of the organization.

(Journal file photo)

“it’s up to the group, but they could hold conferences, field trips, a variety of ways to socialize and then educate more gardeners,” Krans said.

Linda Andriacchi, a board member of the Michigan Master Gardener Association, explained the organization to the audience.

Certified Master Gardeners may join the Michigan Master Gardener Association, she said.

“We help out with the Master Gardener College,” Andriacchi said. “We provide liability insurance to all the Master Gardeners, which in my opinion is the number reason why people should sign up for our organization.”

The UPMGA would be an affiliate chapter.

To be eligible for regular membership, individuals must be designed by MSUE as a certified Master Gardener or a Master Gardener Volunteer in Training. Anyone can join the organization, but won’t have voting rights and can’t belong to the MMGA.

Quarterly meetings are held with other Extension Master Gardeners in Marquette, Houghton, Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie.

Annual dues are $20 for a regular membership and $25 for a non-Master Gardener. A membership in the MMGA is $5 annually.

Why should gardeners belong to the Upper Peninsula-based group?

“So we can all be one,” Andriacchi said. “We can be one voice together.”

Pam Henriksen of Marquette listened to Thursday’s presentation.

Not surprisingly, she loves to garden, and for more than one reason: “Because I love the color and technique and atmosphere that all types of gardens can bring,” Henriksen said.

She also appreciates the fact that gardening can be shared with others as well as the solo gardener.

“And every day it changes,” Henriksen said.

To join the UPMGA, mail a check payable to the UPMGA to Andriacchi at 1500 Aspen Drive, Ishpeming, MI 49849. For details, email linda.andriacchi@gmail.com.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.