After two long years, the annual Master Gardener August Picnic is back! Although our numbers were not what they were before COVID-19, we had a wonderful turn out of about 50 people. The auditorium was beautifully decorated with tablecloths, burlap runners and Mason jars of flowers by the Picnic Committee that included Sandy Hammond, Marcie Katz, Sandy Hansen, Lynn Kunstman, Colet Allen, Regula Pepi, Lucy Pylkki, Pam Hillers and Margaret Saydah. The menu was delicious BBQ burgers with all the fixins, and a wonderful variety of side dishes and desserts brought by the attendees. It was a joyful get together with old acquaintances and students from 2020 and the 2022 classes who finally got to meet and mingle with our newly graduated as well as experienced Master Gardeners.
Awards were the key focus of the event, with a BIG congratulations going to Jane Moyer (although she was not in attendance) who received the 2022 State Master Gardener of the Year Award, selected over nominees from all the MG Chapters in Oregon! Jane’s service and dedication to our organization for the last 17 years is impressive and her Practicum Curriculum has been copied and shared throughout the state. Jane is currently on the committee to select the new coordinator for the 2023 MG class and to plan next year’s Practicum.
Jackson County Master Gardeners awarded Lynn Kunstman as the 2022 Master Gardener of the Year for her hard work in keeping the Native Nursery functioning through the hard times and bringing in much needed revenue from plant “pop up” sales. Her passion for spreading the word about native plants emphasizes a key objective for Master Gardeners as we go forward into a time of insect apocalypse and climate change. You can hear her each week on Jefferson Public Radio as she answers listeners’ gardening questions. Lynn also taught a class on native plants at the recent OMGA Mini College and is always willing to answer questions about native plants. You can find her working diligently in the Native Nursery.
Sean Cawley (2020 class) was awarded the JCMGA Behind the Scenes Master Gardener for his enthusiastic and hard-working management of the Vegetable Garden (formerly the Children’s Garden) and the Orchards! He has single-handedly pruned all the apple, pear and peach trees in the big orchard as well as pruning the Fig Grove down to the ground last fall to give it a revitalization! Those interested in cover crops, companion planting and the various other experiments going on, should visit his garden. Sean also taught several outdoor classes to the 2022 students and helps with grounds maintenance in assisting Doug Kirby. Sean and Lynn were both instrumental in getting the new Water Containment System in and preparing us for the future.
The Award Nominations Committee also wanted to acknowledge several others who have contributed to the organization throughout the hard times we have experienced in the last few years and presented awards to the unsuspecting recipients.
Sandy Hammond is “Captain of Fortune” for her tireless delivery of Garden Guides from Ashland to Grants Pass, the sales of which have kept us in the black and for her work as Chair of the Fundraising WG!
Doug Kirby is “Keeper of the Sacred Grounds” for his dedication to maintaining the irrigation system, ordering soils and amendments, working on the weekend fixing the pump piping, and always being there to help on volunteer workdays, sanding benches, moving beds, cutting blackberries, etc., all while he keeps the beautiful Perennial Garden a delight to behold.
Last, but not least, is Ronnie Budge, who was awarded the title of “Herald” for her active role in Chairing the Community Outreach WG while living in Seattle! With the goal of Diversify, Integration and Equality she has led her group on a renewal of the Speakers Bureau, Community Garden projects and School Scholarships. Ronnie was also made a Lifetime Member of the JCMGA for her 11 years of service, which included years as mentor in the Practicum. As President, she led us through the year of COVID-19 in 2020; she kept us together while learning how to navigate and conduct board business meetings on (the dreaded) Zoom!
Congratulations to all the Award recipients!
To those who have been on the fence, please stay involved. We are making our way back to “normal” with many future events planned.
I hope to see you all at the Graduation in October. Come and meet the new Master Gardeners and let’s get ready for a fantastic 2023!