Visit our Colorado State Extension office for more news, tools and resources.

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

Volunteer Spotlight – Janet Brophy

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

Gardening is in my blood. My grandfather was well-known for his gladiola and dahlia displays in his Michigan garden, and my father spent many of his weekends playing out in the garden and yard. We were instructed to save all kinds of organic “waste” from the kitchen to be delivered to the huge compost pile he tended in the woods behind our house. I have fond memories of cutting zinnias and digging for potatoes in my maternal grandmother’s back yard in Illinois. My mother was so joyful with her coral-colored geraniums and white impatiens displayed every summer.

When I moved to Colorado in 1998, I was, like many of us I imagine, surprised by what I found when I started digging in the “soil” here. I had moved across the country from New York with a car full of plants that I wanted to transplant in my new garden, but I was in for a rude awakening. I do still have a beautiful Pulmonaria in my possession that had been gifted to me by my mother-in-law. Being new to the state, I learned about the master gardener program at a dinner party and applied the next year. Hard to believe that was 20 years ago!

I have met so many wonderful people in the program through the years, learned so much, and continue to enjoy the ever-evolving gardening world in our state. I don’t miss carrying those two massive binders filled with fact sheets and garden notes though.

What inspires you about the program?

The last 20 years have certainly seen lots of changes brought to Colorado. And so it has been in the gardening world. I have been impressed with how the industry and supporting programs such as ours and those of Denver Botanic Gardens have shifted to help the public learn about current recommendations for a changing climate, mass immigration into our state, and increasing demands on our water supply, for example. It is always fun meeting new master gardeners who bring different focuses and backgrounds from my own. But what has never changed is the participants’ love for the green world and appreciation for all that plants bring to our lives.

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

My knowledge of gardening has evolved tremendously in the 20 years I have been in the program. I have grown to appreciate all the different micro worlds and symbiotic relationships among flora and fauna (mainly insects). I have learned to appreciate that beauty can be defined by more than just a pretty rose. And I continue to be challenged and curious to witness how the plant world evolves and will play an important role in the enhancement and ultimate survival of the human species.

What would you want someone to know about the CMG program that may not be common knowledge?

When I tell people that I am a MG volunteer, there is often a response of “OMG that’s amazing. You must know so much about gardening and be an awesome gardener!”  Yes, I have learned so much from the program and just from hands-on experience, but my response is usually more that the program has really taught me how to access the overabundant amount of resources that are now available to us so readily, and I am excited to share it with whomever is looking for help. AND I still kill plants too, usually not by intention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *