Garden variety 

The program started in 1978 at the Oklahoma County Extension office. Twenty-five years later, the purpose remains to disseminate horticultural information to the public.

Now, even more folks can learn more about area trees, shrubs, irrigation, annuals and perennials thanks to expanded outreach.

“We have several events scheduled throughout the year 2014 that will provide the community with information to help them grow more economically and ecologically,” said Susan Hill, president elect of the group.

In 2014, programs include Third Thursday, Garden Boot Camp, Community Garden Workshop and Junior Master Gardener program, according to Hill. All classes are held at the Oklahoma County Extension Auditorium, 930 N. Portland Ave.

Third Thursday is a Garden Lecture Series presented by Oklahoma County Master Gardeners with evening classes on gardening topics for each month of the year. Each month, the free class is 6 p.m.-7 p.m. every third Thursday.

Garden Boot Camp is $35 and will be held at 9:30 a.m. over three Saturdays starting Jan. 25 to prepare students for the growing season. Hill said topics from soil fertility, choosing annuals and perennials that do well in Oklahoma, watering needs and more will be presented.

The free Community Garden Workshop is a ten-step “how-to” on starting and maintaining a community garden for a church, organization or neighborhood.

A panel of veteran community gardeners will offer their advice and experience and will answer questions from attendees.

“Our speakers committee presents programs to organizations, churches, libraries, school children and garden clubs,” Hill said.

“We also are present at the Home & Garden Show each year in January at the State Fairgrounds, the State and Oklahoma County Fairs and multiple horticultural events around the county.”

The program is comprised of 300 volunteers who were accepted into the Master Gardener program and fulfilled the year-long classes. In addition to their education, they must perform 60 hours of community service that puts their education to use by answering phones at the extension office and assisting with the activities.

Hill said that the organization also recently became a certified Junior Master Gardener program.

She will develop and present Junior Master Gardener programs to help youth learn more about where their food comes from, how to garden, the benefits of gardening and how to enrich their lives through horticulture.

For more information, call the Oklahoma County Extension office at 713-1125.

The Oklahoma City Home & Garden Show is Jan. 17-19 at State Fair Park of Oklahoma, 333 Gordon Cooper Blvd.

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Malena Lott

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