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KC Master Gardner encourages others to join the fun

Posted: October 14, 2011 4:01 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The following is a reprint of an article by Margot Rochester which appeared in the August 20, 2008, Chronicle-Independent. After reading this article, I took the Master Gardner class and it has changed my life in many ways.

Retirees should consider Master Gardner classes
  

By Margot Rochester

When I decided to retire from teaching in 1993, I had a list of “to do’s,” and the list did not include cleaning closets, emptying the attic or painting the living room. Why would I quit teaching, which I loved nine days out of 10, to do housework that I hate 10 days out of 10?

Here’s my advice to potential retirees: have your own list of “to do’s” that includes only occupations that will enrich your life. Think of your own pleasure and doing something for someone else. After all, let’s face it. When you reach retirement age, you probably are on the last third of that life, and you need to make the most of your time.

If I had known what was ahead, my list would have been headed – 1. Becoming friends with a least 50 fabulous people I’d never met in my former life; 2. Writing two books and a lot of columns which have gained even more fabulous friends and 3. Figuring out ways to be helpful to others because, when you think of it, that is what gives life value.
Each of these three unexpected bonuses came to me because of the top item on my real “to do” list (the one that said zilch about housework): become a Master Gardener.

I had a friend who had joined Master Gardeners and she seemed to be having a whole lot of fun, working in her own garden, traveling places, teaching others strategies for their gardens (her specialty was composting) and contributing to our community. I knew these were the kind of experiences that would enrich my life.
So I put my name on the candidate list for the Kershaw County Master Gardner program and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

I have created a garden far beyond my expectations and had a wonderful time doing it. I have traveled to fabulous botanical and private gardens. I appreciate gardens I visit because I have become familiar with the plants, much as I enjoy going to parties filled with familiar faces. I have learned about soils, beneficial insects, mulches, irrigation, suppressing weeds and selecting plants. I have developed a sense of style in my garden, and I have met Master Gardeners throughout the southeast.

But, best of all, I am surrounded by wonderful friends who are interested in improving the environment, helping to make our community attractive and teaching others to garden successfully.
Here is what Master Gardeners do not do unless they feel like it: learn botanical nomenclature, identify strange plants, do public speaking, work long hours in hot weather, design gardens, invite people to tour their gardens or hike long distances.
Basically, Master Gardeners want to enjoy life and help others garden successfully.

The Kershaw County Master Gardener Association invites you to come to an orientation session at the Homemaker Building on the corner of Church and DeKalb Streets on Thursday at 6 p.m. We will provide you with information about the 2012 Master Gardener class, our educational and service program and the impact of the Master Gardener program on people like you.

Submitted by Maryann Bowen, Kershaw County Master
Gardener Association

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