President’s Message (05/11)

Spring flies by, doesn’t it?  This year, especially, seems like an endless transition from a dark, wet period to a brighter, wet period.  Suddenly it’s almost June and growth is exploding while we’re still cataloging damage from our last freeze and wishing the winter wet would dry.  None of that stops us, though.  Work parties are in full force in demo gardens and clinics are going strong.  New canopies, tables, and supplies are being purchased.  Plants are being set into the ground with dreams of warmth to come.  Like other springs, we’re wet and cold, but we’re planting for, and dreaming of, the few glorious months ahead that will surely bring summer.  Our intern class is on the same schedule, too.  Fresh from training with the promise and enthusiasm of our greenhouse tomatoes, we’re all looking forward to getting growing.


May is plant sale time.  After months of planning meetings, somehow in one day of set up, CUH goes from business as usual to a fully fledged sale and party with its own momentum.  The sale is always fun (thank you, Horst, for that).  There are so few opportunities to gather as a community of Master Gardeners to talk plants with each other and with a hungry, curious public.  The sale is one weekend in which I see folks I don’t see at any other time of year.  Like clockwork, exhausting, heavy, dirty clockwork, Dick and Ed and the natives crew are there looking as ready as ever to share their enthusiasm for our native flora.  And there are Darryl and Donna and the tally crew working hard every year to make the sale go smoother, faster, better.  There are CJ and Suzanne and the edibles folks planning for next year, smiling the whole time. And there’s our own crew in ornamentals, or bushes as Horst likes to call us, surrounded by perennials volunteers, many of whom are interns just beginning to find their home in our county wide efforts.  Every year I’m impressed with the work of new MGs and inspired by their enthusiasm (thank you, Pete, Valerie, David, Penny, and so many others).  It’s such a pleasure to work with people who come fresh to the sale, without preconceptions, who are able to say what they observe and offer suggestions for improvement.


The plant sale is also a good reminder that we’re a diverse group of people with different goals.  After a shift change in the tomato tent, Katie and Heather stopped by to chat before shopping and heading home.  They assured me selling tomatoes was perfect for them since they got to talk to a lot of people about a limited range of plants.  The feeling of being expert was a good fit for them and something they enjoy together each year.  It might be useful to remember this as we move on into our regular work:  clinics, gardens, speaking, etc.  We’re a broad enough group in a big enough county that we can use all the talents we each bring.  If clinics aren’t for you, maybe working on the raffle, or publicizing the sale, are.  If those seem like too much, how about organizing the donations of leftover plants to area non-profits, or coordinating some continuing education at the plant sale or beyond?  If you’re not able to dig in our demo gardens, maybe offering your expertise as a garden consultant through the Growing Groceries program, or answering calls from Elaine for community garden consultants.  If not those jobs, how about giving a few hours a month to help Elaine in the office, helping to keep track of the hundreds of us doing work all over King County?  You get the idea.   There’s a place for each of us and plenty of work.

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