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Oklahoma County Master Gardener program has roots in growing, sharing expertise

The Oklahoma County Master Gardener Association and Program president talks about the training program.
BY SARAH HUSSAIN Modified: February 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm •  Published: February 19, 2014

Out with the snow, in with the flowers. With spring right around the corner, the Oklahoma County Master Gardeners Association and Program is here to aid in all things gardening.

“If you want someone who grows tomatoes, we got them. If you want someone who grows pecans, we got them. If you want someone who knows about how to take care of rodents, we got them,” President Susan Hill said about the program's 300 members. “There's just somebody that knows it all.”

Hill said all the people in the program share a love of gardening.

After taking early retirement, Hill was searching for somewhere to volunteer, but she found no common interests with fellow volunteers until she came across the association's booth at a home and garden show in 2003.

“They want to spread the information about good gardening practices,” she said. “We all have the same love of gardening.”

She has held nearly all the available positions in the program and is serving as president for the second time.

Operating out of Oklahoma State University's Oklahoma County Extension Center, the program was started in 1978.

“The whole master gardener idea was started in 1972 in Washington state because they were inundated at the extension,” Hill said.

Hill said that what happened at the extension service in Washington is that they were getting so many requests for horticultural information that they designed the master gardener program to train volunteers who had some experience in horticulture.

“That was in '72, and then in '78 this extension needed the help, too, so they went ahead and started a program here,” Hill said. “The program itself is run by the extension, master gardeners help with it, but it's an educational program.”

Cultivating skills

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