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Our Unsung Hero —  Doug Kirby, Keeper of the Sacred Grounds

That title was bequeathed to him as an Award at the Annual JCMGA Picnic last August in recognition for all he does for the Demonstration Gardens and grounds. It was a small token of appreciation for someone who has such a huge sense of volunteerism.

Most people who come out to the Extension Gardens see Doug in his Perennial Garden, digging, or on his hands and knees hand-pulling weeds out of the pathway. If you stop to admire his beautiful garden, he will engage you in wonderful “garden talk,” telling you about the latest thing in bloom or how he is squirrel proofing his plants.

His amazing garden is accomplishment enough – he works out there almost daily – but Doug is also an integral part of JCMGA because he manages and maintains the grounds. Every place we plant requires irrigation and he is the behind-the-scenes person who monitors the well and repairs all the irrigation systems for all the gardens. He often takes on big projects that require physical hard work or refitting gardens with an improved system. In addition, he is the person responsible for all the compost and coir bins being full, as well as those with D/G and wood chips. All the gardeners depend on him; if you have a problem, he happily stops what he is doing and goes to check it out with you.

As if that isn’t enough, Doug’s future projects include completely emptying out the tool shed and re-organizing while putting tools back, replacing the irrigation controller, finish building a gate in the new wheelbarrow area and mounting shelves to the walls.

When there is an all hands workday, Doug is always there, no matter what the project, from sanding benches to blackberry removal, always willing to give to the group.

All of us should follow his example in volunteerism. One way to do that is to come down and help at the next workday when the wheelbarrow area will be completed. That will also help Doug out by making a locked storage area for supplies.

That is Doug Kirby, Jack-of-All-Trades, Gentleman Gardener, and all-around great guy who we are very lucky to know and call our friend!