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Volunteer Spotlight – Allie Molinda

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 Allie Molinda.

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

I became a Master Gardener in 2008. At the time, I had recently started a school garden at Franklin Elementary, a Littleton Public School that my children attended. Using the garden as an outdoor “classroom” seemed like the perfect opportunity to create a unique, hands-on learning experience. Realizing the importance of passing on accurate, quality information to children, staff and parents, I felt the need to up my gardening know-how game.  I was also in the throes of re-landscaping my fairly large yard, decreasing grass and creating more water-wise perennial beds. It was a period of my life where lots of my time and energy was devoted to gardening, and I was mostly learning on the fly. Although some things never change because I’m still doing the same thing 16 years later!

What inspires you about the program?

Dedication. The dedication of the volunteers to their respective projects and the program is quite amazing. The amount of community engagement the Arapahoe Master Gardener program offers is impressive, and it is all carried out with enthusiasm and humor. They’re a fun bunch. The horticultural staff is also super dedicated, making sure the volunteers are well supported with the knowledge needed to educate the community.  

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

Everything. Well, almost everything. Like most, I think, I started gardening by trial and error which resulted in enough success to keep me going, but also enough failure to cost a significant amount of time and money. Knowledge is power and a money saver, too. Probably the area where I have gained the most knowledge, but simultaneously have the most to learn, is with plant disease and disorder diagnostics. So much still to learn…

In my garden…. There is order and chaos, intentional plantings and volunteers randomly taking hold. There is biodiversity: natives and non-natives, pollinators, snakes, birds, foxes and a faithful family pup who patrols for squirrels and bunnies. A succession of blooming perennials offers a rainbow of colors all season long. There are quite possibly more weeds than grass in my lawn area, but it’s greener during the heat of the summer than it might otherwise be.  There is a seemingly daily battle with bindweed and black medic, of which I am losing, I fear.  Five raised beds provide scrumptious, nutritious summer-time veggies and fruits. But most of all there is tranquility and joy.

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