Sunday, September 5, 2010

Horticultural Society versus That Master Gardener Thing

When I was volunteering for the Minnesota State Horticultural Society the other day at the Fair, a man asked me about the benefits of becoming a member. After I told him, he said, “No thanks, I’ll just do that Master Gardener thing instead.” I explained to him that they were two separate things and that the Master Gardener “thing” was more involved than paying your membership fee each year. He waved as he walked away, saying, “I audited part of the class one year, it’s not that hard.”

It may not be that hard. But, it is work. Maybe I’m sensitive about his cavalier response because I’m in the process of applying to be part of the Master Gardener program for my county. I’ve put more time and thought into completing the on the 5-page application than I have spent hours in my three shifts at the Hort booth at the Fair this year. The “Horticultural Dilemmas” page asks you to show your work in that you need to list the source for your answer, which could be a book, the internet, or “other” resources.

The Horticultural Society encourages its members to volunteer – the Master Gardener program requires 50 volunteer hours the first year and 25 hours each subsequent year. The Horticultural Society offers classes, the MG program requires 12 hours of continuing education every year – plus the core course the first year. A blogger I read frequently responded to the Master Gardener question earlier this year.

That he didn’t see his comparison as apples to oranges astounds me. I would have taken his rejection of the Hort Society much less hard if he had said, “No thanks, I’ll become a member of the Arboretum instead,” since the Arboretum is another member supported organization that offers benefits to members without requiring service in return.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too sensitive about the man’s cavalier response? Is becoming/being a Master Gardener a piece of cake? Post a comment and let me know!


Mary Schier said...

This really surprises me, but (as you know) you hear all sorts of things at the fair. Becoming a master gardener is a huge commitment -- and, I think most master gardeners are also members of the hort society.

Auntie K said...

Mary, I totally agree--on both accounts. (Can you belive I heard it twice yesterday at the booth!) I wonder if people really know about the commitment. Maybe they'll become members next year!

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