To Master or Not to Master

In early September, I applied to the Master Gardener program, which is run by the local county extension office. I have a quiz and interview with the selection committee this afternoon.

I wasn’t going to say anything about my application until after the results were in, and I knew whether I made the cut or not. That way, I wouldn’t have to sound all excited one day and later admit that I was “rejected.” (I hate that word)

But then I thought that just applying is a success of sorts. I’m taking a risk, facing my nervous twitch, and working towards a bigger dream that’s sketchy still, but starting to put on layers.

The program requires that you take classes Fridays and Saturdays through the month of January 2013. If I’m accepted to the program, the classes are $275, plus 50 hours of volunteer time, and 8 additional hours of continued education to completed during the year.

It’s a bit of a time and money commitment, but I decided it would be worth it since the volunteer opportunities would be a half-ass way of fulfilling another childhood dream, when I wanted to be a scientist. I gave up that idea when one of my science teachers nicknamed me “Grace” because I had a tendency to drop and spill things. Plus, girls just didn’t pursue math or science. We weren’t smart enough and we didn’t need to earn money because our husbands would take care of us. Hmmm…

As I prepare for the quiz this afternoon, I’m once again questioning the power of my brain. It’s been a long time since I’ve studied for a quiz, and I’ve never been very good at memorization. If asked, “How far apart should you plant tomatoes?” My answer would be, “As far apart as the package of seeds tells me to.”

But I’m pretty sure that won’t be one of the choices on the quiz.

In the best of scenarios, people from the U of M, who are involved with the program, will be so blown away by my analytical thinking, creativity, and technical writing skills that they will beg me to do research and writing for some amazing U of M research project and pay me gazillions of dollars!

“You say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one…” — John Lennon

If I don’t make it, I can apply again next year (with a better understanding of the process). Or I could bite-the-bullet and pay $575 to take the classes for certification and at least gain knowledge that would improve my own gardening endeavors.

And maybe I could still teach a community education class to help people grow their own food. I would inspire them to get closer to nature and understanding the inter-relationship between all living things and how our actions affect the welfare of the whole flippin’ ecosystem, and that we should really be planting drought tolerant, low maintenance yards and quit wasting water and using nasty chemicals!

Oh, oh… that sounds like more fantasy, dreaming, wish ranting… Do you think the Master Gardener program takes on people solely for their passion?

Similar Posts


  1. I hope it worked out! That sounds like an awesome program and have a couple friends from high school that have gone through it! And I think you would be perfect for it!!

  2. I’d say go for it! It’s already been pretty courageous of you to have applied to the program – something I had considered for myself once. Let us know of the outcome of the quiz!

  3. Thank you all for the encouragement. I took the quiz after reading the handouts 3 times each and making up study questions I reviewed 6 times. I still was at a loss on the quiz. I’d had a migraine all day so that’s my excuse. The interview was not what I expected either and I may have come off a bit manic. It’s so hard to tell on these things… But I should hear sometime next week.

  4. I’m so glad to read that you did this! I’m hopeing it has the perfect outcome but the great thing is, you took the steps, you took the test, you have a very clear idea of the work you want to do. And your images that you shared here are truly awesome!
    You should be so proud ~ I know I am.

  5. I have a friend in Oklahoma who is a master gardener. She started from “ground zero”, and it took her years – as she says, the first five to get over the anxiety, the next to do the work. 😉

    I was one of those who escaped school without any kind of working knowledge of science and math. I hated both. In college, I learned that the best way to balance a checkbook is to change banks. Thank heaven I’m past that!

    If they don’t accept you this time, make another run at it. After all, you want to be a Master Gardener, not just a pretty-good-gardener!

  6. Way to go Maery…best of luck.
    The owner of Purple Prairie Botanicals is a Master Gardner (Bethany)…that is what started her hugely successful natural product business. She had been in it for 10 years when I interviewed her and she was a wealth of information. It’s a great program I hear.

  7. I am torn about my feelings for the program. Up here the group is active but as of yet I do not know what they do..I asked for help with the perennial garden at the Museum and was told..oh we don’t weed..we only plant.
    I think you may already know more than what the program will teach you.:(

Comments are closed.