2011 Search for Excellence Special Needs Audiences Award Winner- 2nd place

Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Brooke Grove Retirement Village Assisted Living- Montgomery County, Maryland

Master Gardeners visit Brooke Grove Retirement Village Assisted Living residents once a month. The goal of their visits is to provide a life-enriching, sensory-stimulating, group experience for these residents through hands-on garden and nature-related activities with educational opportunities.

Many of the residents here are memory-impaired with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Some also have limited mobility, fine and gross motor skill deficits, and/or sensory deficits. Yet, all are able to participate in and benefit from these programs.

A Master Gardener teaches a Brooke Grove resident how to do floral arranging.
Sample projects include:
Butterflies –discussion of butterfly life cycle, and making of small arrangements of butterfly-attracting  flowers
Salad Box Gardening – planting of seeds and seedlings, watering and harvesting of greens
Apples – discussion of different kind s of apples, tasting, and apple print-making
Winter Evergreens – discussion of characteristics, and making of holiday centerpieces


Projects are adapted to what residents can do giving each a feeling of being successful, useful and productive. Stimulation is provided for all senses. When sensory deficits are present, strengths are drawn from, i.e. when vision is impaired the sense of smell or touch is stimulated. Plant materials for the programs are obtained from the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden and Master Gardeners’ home gardens. Recyclables are used for containers whenever possible.

Residents have shown great delight in hearing about and working with fresh flowers and natural materials. Those who can remember have commented over and over how they look forward to this, their favorite activity. (For most, this is their only direct contact with nature.) Positive social interactions among group members are frequently observed, and attendance has increased from 12 to almost 30 residents due to the successful engagement of participants and the enjoyment expressed by them.

Written by JoAnn Mueller, Montgomery County, MD  Master Gardener

To learn more about the Montgomery County Master Gardener visit their webpage at http://mastergardener.umd.edu/local/Montgomery/index.cfm

2011 Search for Excellence Workshop Category Award Winner- 1st Place

Garden Smarter Program- Calvert County, Maryland Master Gardeners

The Calvert County, MD Master Gardeners received a first place Search for Excellence award in the Workshop Category at the recent International Master Gardener conference in West Virginia.

A Calvert County Master Gardener gives a hands-on demonstration on how to propagate plants.

The Garden Smarter program is a public education series of free interactive workshops and presentations for adults and children in Calvert County, Maryland. Calvert County is located on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The Garden Smarter program works in partnership with the Calvert County Library and most of the programs are held at the centrally located main branch.

Our goals are to educate the community about various topics to promote positive environmental stewardship and to promote and expand our outreach programs.  Some of our workshops’ subject matter include: using integrated pest management, attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects, using native plants in the landscape, creating a wildlife habitat, gardening basics, building rain gardens, growing vegetables from seed, planning and preparing a home vegetable and herb garden, composting, preserving the harvest, making and using salad boxes and tables, building container gardens, landscaping with edible plants, extending vegetable gardens from spring to autumn, pruning, creating Bay friendly lawns, and preparing gardens for winter.

The partnership with the Calvert Library is an essential part of the success of Garden Smarter.  The library publicizes the series on its web page, through email notification, and in local newspapers.  The staff promotes the series throughout the season by distributing Garden Smarter brochures and setting up counter displays to interest library customers in gardening topics.

700 community members attend over 2 year period

The Garden Smarter series drew a total of 700 community members for the past three years, 2008-2010. The program has expanded each year from 7 to 19 sessions and the audience has increased from 26 to 353. The Garden Smarter Series has opened the door to many outreach activities for Calvert Master Gardeners including talks before school groups, community groups, garden clubs, and fraternal organizations.

Learning how to make salad boxes is a popular workshop at the Garden Smarter Series.

The Garden Smarter series has connected many homeowners to the Maryland Master Gardener Bay Wise Yard Certification Program and increased the interest in our annual plant sale.   After attending presentations about Bay Wise landscaping or vegetable gardening, people have come to the sale just to buy native plants, rain barrels, and salad boxes.

To learn more about the work of Calvert County Master Gardeners visit http://extension.umd.edu/gardening/mastergardeners/local/calvert/index.cfm


Written by Denise Moroney and Nancy Radcliffe, Calvert County, Maryland  Master Gardeners

2011 Search for Excellence Innovative Project Winners- 3rd Place Tie

Two projects: Emerald Ash Borer Awareness/Management by Greene County Ohio Master Gardeners and Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps by Anne Arundel County Maryland Master Gardeners tie for third place in the Innovative project category at the International Master Gardener Conference.

Emerald Ash Borer – Greene County Ohio Master Gardeners

Ohio’s Greene County Master Gardeners were awarded the Search for Excellence Award, 3rd place, at the International Master Gardeners Conference for their Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Program.  In their thorough approach, the Master Gardeners worked with local government to not only raise general awareness but to manage the impact of the EAB.

Master Gardeners check a city tree for signs of EAB damage.

Seminars and meetings reach 1000+

Under the leadership of Thais Reiff, Xenia, Ohio, the group hosted three major seminars and 40 group meetings, reaching over a thousand government officials, landscape professionals, and private citizens.  To emphasize the need for EAB training and provide all Ohio Master Gardeners information, they developed, aired, and archived nine EAB and tree related training programs over the internet.  This innovative program delivery provided the impetus for the creation of the Ohio State University sponsored “EAB University.”  For more information, visit: www.emeraldashborer.info.

EAB Tree Inventory of ~25,141 Green County Specimens

Lead by retired engineer, Steve Mehaffie, Beavercreek, Ohio, the Master Gardeners and volunteers inventoried every city-maintained tree in Greene County, totaling approximately 25,141 specimens.  To achieve this amazing feat, Steve provided a thorough document, “Guide to the Beavercreek Tree Inventory”.  Also, he shared his tree inventory techniques in 90-minute presentation on “How to Do a City Tree Inventory” for organizers. The goal was to allow local governments to better manage their urban forests in light of the EAB infestation.  Both presentations are available to all Master Gardeners throughout Ohio and beyond at: www.greene.osu.edu/topics/master-gardener-volunteer-program/links-1.

For more information, visit www.greene.osu.edu.

Written by Susan Richardson, Greene County Ohio Master Gardener


Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps – Anne Arundel County Maryland Master Gardeners

Anne Arundel County, Maryland Master Gardeners also received a third place award for their project with youth- Grow It! Eat It! Summer Camps.

Children enjoy getting their hands dirty while learning about soils and nutrition at Grow It Eat It Summer Camp.

Basic Food Gardening Lesson for Youth in Summer Camps

In partnership with the Anne Arundel County Recreation and Park, Annapolis City Recreation and Parks, and the Family and Consumer Sciences at University of Maryland the MG established a lesson on basic food gardening for underserved youth between ages six and twelve who were attending Recreation and Parks summer camps.

Lessons included Soil and Nutrition, Seeds, Plant Parts, Whole Grains, and Colors. Over 760 children attended the camps where they learned basic gardening principles and were given the tools to make healthier choices at home. The Master Gardeners were also asked to return to work with children ages four and five to introduce basic gardening concepts.

For more information visit the website at http://annearundel.umd.edu/MGFiles/GrowIt.cfm

posted by Monica David, IMGC Vice President