The classroom part of my Master Gardener classes ended a couple of weeks ago and I can't believe how quickly it went. Each week, the topics and the speakers were so incredibly interesting, that our 8-hour days just flew.
We learned a great deal of technical information via our manuals and the extra handouts we received during each class, but what really made it all real were the various speakers we had over the course of nine weeks. They brought it all to life.
Shortly before our last class, we experienced a loss that will always be remembered by our class and the Master Gardeners as a group. One of our fellow classmates was killed in a car accident in front of her home, on her husband's birthday, the day before their anniversary. Two other classmates and I rode to and from class together with Deb each week, and we were deeply moved by this tragedy.
It was decided to remember Deb by making her an honorary Master Gardener, since she was nearly finished with classes and most certainly would have completed the requirements had her young life not been cut short. A tree will be planted in her memory in the park in her hometown.
Our final exam consisted of 20 essay questions encompassing the topics we studied each week and putting it to practical use. It was a take-home test and took me four hours to complete! During our last class, we went over each question in detail, which was a learning experience in itself. Hearing each person's perspective on the situations in the questions helped me to think about things in different ways.
We now are required to complete 50 hours of volunteer work in our community, which may include working to maintain public gardens, teaching classes at garden centers, writing articles for various publications, and answering Hot Line queries at the county extension office, just to name a few. Later this fall, there will be a recognition of those that completed the requirements and we will then officially be Master Gardeners!