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 Carol Gilmore.
When did you join the Colorado Master Gardener program?
I always wanted to be a Master Gardener when I retired and had appreciated the help I received from the Master Gardener volunteers. I did a lot of research on my own through various gardening magazines and wanted to learn more.
In 2000, I saw the CMG application and decided I was going to become a CMG, now. Why wait? At the time, retirement was years away. If volunteering is something you really want to do, go for it. I applied to be a CSU Extension Master Gardener in Arapahoe County and started in 2001.
When I was accepted, I decided to go into gardening full throttle. My office job was not fulfilling so I applied with a local garden maintenance company and found out that it was a great fit for me. Since Fridays were non-workdays, I could fulfill my Apprentice office hours on Fridays. Perfect!
I received a strong education in the field as a professional gardener that supplemented my Master Gardener training for the first four years. When I began, the program was a lot different. No computers, tons of paper and I truly enjoyed all the other Master Gardeners I met. The classes were great. I look forward to eventually retiring and doing more weekday MG volunteering.
What is your favorite activity?
I love volunteering at the Colorado Garden and Home Show. It’s a very intense activity where you are bombarded with continual questions. It keeps you on your toes and I really enjoy the interaction. I also enjoy answering the office phones with other MGs and have made great connections there and hope we can do that again soon. Finally, volunteering at ProGreen Expo was a terrific opportunity. In addition to the volunteer work option, there were great training and educational opportunities.
What is your favorite part of the program?
I enjoy the continuing education opportunities the most. It’s been amazing to see how things have changed in the course of being a Master Gardener for over 20 years. I remember when we were never going to have Japanese Beetles—too dry in Colorado. Or need to worry about the Emerald Ash Borer because they couldn’t navigate the Great Plains with no ash trees to feed on. Things will change even more with climate change.
How has being a Master Gardener helped you personally?
Volunteering as a Master Gardener is keeping me in touch with my creative side. I enjoy photography which is used on the Arapahoe County Master Gardener Facebook page and writing for the newsletter. These activities tie in with my education and interests.