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By Marcie Katz
Master Gardener 2019
2020 – A year most of us will never forget. It was a year of historic change. Our everyday life became stay-at-home with no restaurants or movie theaters. Large events, parties and gatherings, were cancelled. For Master Gardeners, it meant the end of the 2020 Practicum and a whole Master Gardener class put on hold, with GEMS and students kept out of the Demonstration Gardens so we all could stay safe in the time of COVID-19.
Our hard-working members had just finished pest-proofing greenhouses 1 and 2 and we were on our way with the first seeds started in the Prop house for SGF. I had just applied to be the GEM of the Bird, Bee and Butterfly Garden (BBB) when it was determined that it was planted too close to the west wall of GH 1, and posed a “pest potential”. The Gardens Working Group decided it needed to be moved and plans and paperwork went in to be approved. The Practicum could use this as an opportunity to teach the students about how to “dig and divide” perennials and March was the perfect time!
Then COVID-19 came! Three months later, we returned to our beloved gardens that were full grown, full of weeds and operating under maintenance-only guidelines. Three days a week for three hours a day, the GEMs and helpers took back control and things started happening. A new native nursery garden grew; others shrank or lay dormant. More changes.
It was well into June, and the BBB Garden was in its full glory, so full of blooming plants that nary a weed could invade. It bloomed all summer and into the fall. It was so huge, some plants like “Queen of the Prairie” and “Joe Pye Weed” were over 6 feet tall! Russian Sage was popping out everywhere. In October, in preparation for the move, Margaret Saydah and I decided to cut it back. It took two garden days! A group work day was scheduled on Nov. 4 and with my seven wonderful helpers and three hours of non-stop digging and heavy lifting, we moved all of the plants. It was a monumental job. We were all exhausted but jubilant at our progress! At this time, the future home of the BBB is unknown, but the plants are saved, heeled-in temporarily in the Children’s Garden raised beds waiting out the winter.
All in all, even with the quarantine, limited time, and what we were allowed to do, and though many of our Master Gardeners are considered as high risk and were unable to come out and work in the gardens as they would have liked, much was accomplished this year and changes were made for the better.
I would like to thank all of the volunteers who made all things possible: all the GEMs, student helpers, Garden Enhancement Committee, and those who came out just because. Thank you. Thanks for sharing your time, your hard work, your knowledge and most of all your comradery in all things garden. And let us not forget about all the behind-the-scenes MGs that are working from home to keep our wonderful association afloat and make important decisions via ZOOM meetings in these challenging times. Change is something most of us don’t like but have had to deal with a lot in the last year. Change is in the way we do things so that we survive and prosper and guide us into the future, whatever it may be. Good bye old BBB Garden, goodbye 2020, let’s see what the new year brings. More change.

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