Asheville – North Carolinians have an incredible source for horticultural information through the NC State Extension, an outreach program at NC State University. NC State Extension faculty and staff work tirelessly to deliver research-based solutions to local issues. The program reaches millions of North Carolina citizens each year through local centers in the state’s 100 counties and with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Here in Buncombe County, Alison Arnold is the Extension Agent, and Steve Pettis, in Henderson County. Radio Hendersonville counties have very active programs—they provide agriculture, education and knowledge promptly to deal with current situations. Looking at the Henderson County Center website, three days ago Dr. William Kelley wrote a very timely article for Hendersonville farmers titled “After the Freeze—Damage Mitigation Possibilities.”
The Spring Fling Plant Sale
To fund their many programs, The Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of Buncombe County and Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society will be holding their plant sale on Saturday, May 8th from 9 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, in the American Red Cross Parking Lot, 100 Edgewood Road, in North Asheville. The annual plant sale is one of the major fundraising events for this organization. The proceeds are put toward funding varied horticultural programs, which are offered free to the community. The plants offered for sale are sourced from the Master Gardener Volunteers’ gardens who are all very knowledgeable about gardening. Sadly, due to the pandemic last spring, this event was not able to be held. This year they plan to have a record number of unusual specimens to offer and hope many will attend this lively event. A variety of roses will be available for purchase from the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society. Also, volunteers will be at the sale to assist customers with their plant choices and provide gardening advice.
Buncombe Extension Master Gardener Education Programs
Deborah Breck, a Master Gardener since 2012, said: “Consistent with our mission to support, teach and encourage a diverse community of gardeners using current research-based horticulture practices, we offer numerous learning opportunities to the public, free of charge.
Gardening in the Mountains Series – A series of 90-minute seminars covering various gardening topics. This year, these programs are offered the third Thursday of each month, February thru October. Here’s a link to the schedule/topics: 2021 Gardening in the Mountains Schedule. Pre-Covid, these classes were held at the Buncombe County Extension office, 49 Mt. Carmel Rd., Asheville. All of these seminars are now available online (registration required) through the www.buncombemastergardener.org website.
Saturday Seminar Series
A series of hands-on seminars covering various gardening topics. These programs will be offered online on selected Saturday mornings, February – November. Here’s a link to the schedules/topics: 2021 Saturday Seminar Schedule. Again, these classes are currently being offered online only this year. Registration is required.
The Garden Helpline is open for the season. Our EMG volunteers (working from home) are available to respond to phone calls and emails. An email (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or voice message (828-250-4878) may be left at any time. A Master Gardener will respond during the Helpline hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 am to 2 pm, Fridays, 10 am to noon.
The Learning Garden
A teaching garden with a quarter-mile walking trail has been created by our EMGs at the Buncombe County Extension office, 49 Mt. Carmel Rd., Asheville. The Learning Garden includes five distinct gardens (Gateway, Rose, Four Seasons, Sun &Shade, Vegetable) and a compost demonstration area. A Pollinator and Dye garden is planned for installation in 2021. Visitors are welcome to visit Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm. (except on holidays when the Extension office is closed). At present, adherence to current COVID guidelines is required, including the wearing of face coverings and maintaining social distancing while on the property.
School Garden Grants
A substantial portion of our fundraising activities (the annual Plant Sale and biennial Garden Tour) supports grants to Buncombe County and Asheville area schools to establish or maintain a school garden. In addition to providing financial support, EMGs volunteer their time and energy to provide the grant recipients with expertise in setting up and taking care of the gardens.
In addition to the opportunities detailed above, in pre-Covid times, EMGs provided Backyard Composting Demonstrations at the WNC Farmers Market, Extension Master Gardener Info Tables at various local tailgate markets, and an annual WNC Gardening Symposium. We look forward to offering these learning experiences again when public health
Extension Master Gardener Training Program
Anyone who loves to garden and help others and is interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer may apply for the training program. We are looking for individuals who want to serve their community, expand and share their gardening knowledge, and work in a team environment. Applicants are interviewed for selection and are scored on qualifications such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, ability to attend training, ability to volunteer during normal office hours, and commitment to participate in volunteer activities. Applications are now being accepted for the initial training beginning this fall. There is a $150 application fee. The application deadline is June 1, 2021.”