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Volunteer Spotlight

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 Judy Kunz.

When and why did you join the Colorado Master Gardener program?

I joined the program in 2006 when my youngest son left for college. I felt that I needed an activity to take my attention away from the empty nest and the MG program was something I had heard about. I was interested in learning more because I had always liked gardening, but, as it turned out, I didn’t really know anything about gardening. Also, I am a Colorado native and have an interest in geology and weather science and how they affect growing conditions along the Front Range. Horticultural classes and online learning have enhanced my knowledge of these subjects.

What inspires you about the program?

I feel it is a definite privilege to be part of this program and, like many other MGs, I get the most inspiration from helping others with their horticultural challenges. Whether it’s working at the help desk at the Extension office, answering Ask Extension questions online, contributing articles to The Garden Buzz, or answering questions from visitors to Silo Park Garden, it is personally fulfilling to help them understand how they can overcome challenges and “grow better” here. I particularly enjoy helping newcomers to the area locate relevant information that will answer their horticulture questions.

Also, Silo Park Garden is located near a playground so we have children who frequently visit us while we are working. It is always a great experience to help them harvest a cherry tomato, a green bean, a carrot, or a pod of peas and watch them find out what a fresh vegetable tastes like. They invariably love what they are tasting. I hope, in some small way, this experience plants a seed in their memory and inspires them so they might enjoy gardening when they get older.

What have you learned that you didn’t know before?

Probably one of the more interesting things I have learned (and is being illustrated in a big way this season) is that when hail devastates your garden, don’t give up and rush to the nearest garden center to purchase new plants. Trim away the damage and watch with wonder the self-healing powers of Mother Nature.

How has being a Master Gardener helped you personally and in what way?

Like any other topic of interest to a person, the more you learn, the more there is to learn about gardening. From soils to weeds to vegetables, turf and trees, there are endless topics that are fascinating, and sometimes a little different here because of growing conditions. I continue to learn and also re-learn what I have forgotten in the 17 years I have been a Master Gardener. In addition, I have found Colorado Master Gardeners to be among the most friendly, outgoing and helpful people I have ever met. It is a great group to be part of and I treasure the friendships I have made.

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