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Arapahoe County Extension provides trusted, practical education to help you solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.

Volunteer Spotlight: Valerie Seale

Colorado Master Gardener℠ (CMG) volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about sharing gardening, landscape and horticulture education. This month we are highlighting Valerie Seale.

“I started horticulture and design classes at Front Range Community College in 1999. The course material was great but lacked information on home gardening. So, I joined the Colorado Master Gardener program in 2003 with an interest in general gardening practices and stayed because of the wonderful people in the program.

I always enjoy volunteering at the Garden & Home Show. There are so many great opportunities to come up with landscape solutions face-to-face. The O’Toole’s Information Booth is also a fun way to help people with their gardening questions.

Another favorite part of the program is the volunteer potlucks. Seriously, the potlucks. Master Gardeners are amazing cooks! And everything is so creative, fresh and usually healthy and it’s also a great chance to catch up on personal lives of fellow Master Gardeners, too.

The plant list and design for the Lima Plaza Pollinator Garden was a collaborative effort that began with a couple of brainstorming sessions that included fellow Colorado Master Gardener volunteers Muriel Parker and Gloria Huegel. Those sessions resulted in many practical ideas for what plants to include—and what to avoid. While creating the design, I culled quite a bit of plant information from two outstanding sources, Pretty Tough Plants by Plant Select and Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens by the Ogdens. Both books contain a wealth of design ideas, such as where a plant fits in—e.g., prairie, meadow, rock garden—and other plants that look and play well with it. The series of booklets, i.e., regional native planting guides, published by the Colorado Native Plant Society are a great source as well. Especially helpful was the Prairie and Plains Guide with native plants appropriate to eastern Arapahoe County. The most challenging part of the design? Coming up with heat tolerant, low water and generally bullet-proof plants for the two front entry gardens, while keeping in mind pollinator friendliness, all-season interest and a variety of textures and bloom colors.”

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