Tag Archives: plants

Master Gardeners help extend Extension’s reach

Master Gardener Mary Ann Kincaid, of Virginia Beach, helps to maintain the gardens at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Master Gardener Mary Ann Kincaid, of Virginia Beach, helps to maintain the gardens at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

At more than 5,500 strong, Virginia’s Master Gardeners are making an impact in communities across the commonwealth.

Master Gardeners can usually be found in the middle of any community garden project. They share their knowledge with the public through plant clinics and educational programs. They develop and maintain demonstration gardens and provide garden tours. They also set up plant clinics at farmers markets and staff horticulture help desks at local Extension offices.

While not all of Virginia’s citizens actively seek help from Master Gardeners, everyone in the commonwealth can benefit from their efforts. Even a small group of people that learns and implements best management horticulture practices that help sustain the environment will improve the viability of all of Virginia.

“If a particular neighborhood pays attention to its lawn care practices, it’s going to have an impact on that particular watershed and eventually have a positive impact on the Chesapeake Bay. The entire commonwealth receives public value from those actions, even though it’s a small segment of people that is directly involved in the work,” said David Close, state Master Gardener coordinator.

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Growing ornamentals and profits

Jim OwenJim Owen has his sights set on three goals when it comes to helping nursery growers.

One-third of his research and Extension work focuses on ways he can help growers save money while protecting the environment in the immediate future by reducing the amount of water used on plants.

Another third of his work looks at giving nurseries the tools they can use two and three years down the road. The final third centers on developing long-term strategies to keep the nursery industry profitable for the long haul while dealing with new environmental regulations coming down the road.

“We are working on a solution to help nursery growers in Virginia and around the country maintain their high standards of quality while helping improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and beyond,” said Owen, an associate professor of horticulture who works at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

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