By Colet Allen, Susan Koenig, and Barbara Low
Our Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2022 was a great success! We wanted to make sure to thank everyone involved to make this event an actuality. It genuinely took a village to accomplish all that was involved.
The Winter Dreams Summer Garden 2022 team gives a big thank you to the Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2021 team for leaving such a good road map for us to follow. The records that were left gave us a great starting point and allowed us to get right to work. After reviewing what was in Dropbox, we had a good idea of what was going to be needed by us to make the Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2022 event happen, maybe not seamlessly but close to it.
The three of us were able to look at the compilation of information and determine what the path for development was going to be. We created a timeline for accomplishing each major step from start to finish. Once this was done, we each used our strengths to fit ourselves into the slots that would best meet our personal wants and at the same time, figure out what the project would need, equally balance the workload, and end up with a quality product.
Division of labor between the three team members was one of the joys of this project. We worked well together, kept each other informed on all matters and enjoyed the process. We started early in the year so that there was plenty of time to plan and determine if there was some new energy and ideas that we could bring to this year’s symposium.
One of the new things we wanted to address was to make sure we documented our process as we went along. We each agreed that it was important that we documented our process along with the forms we created to accomplish our tasks. Our plan was that once the Symposium was complete and after a little time to decompress, we would review the process and determine what remains to be documented. Our goal is to review, develop what is missing, and download a completed process to Dropbox by mid-January.
At the suggestion of one of our Master Gardeners who is also a Licensed Landscaper (Thank you, Sherri Morgan), we sought accreditation and to determine if JCMGA could get our presentations certified by the Oregon State Landscaper Contractors Board (LCB) for their required continuing education hours. We worked with the State Board and were able to get all sixteen of our offerings certified. We only had four landscapers who took advantage of that opportunity this year. Next year, we will do a statewide outreach now that we know what the state is looking for and are confident that JCMGA can offer this service at a very reasonable rate. Working with this group of people in Salem was a real pleasure. They were responsive to phone calls/emails and worked with us to make sure we understood exactly what was needed to ensure we gave them the correct information to expedite the process. They were a joy to work with.
In addition to the traditional methods for getting the word out, we wanted to explore a few new ones. Besides appealing to the Licensed Landscapers, we worked with Medford Parks and Recreation. We put a quarter-page advertisement in their Fall booklet that went out in early September to 44,000 homes.
As a non-profit organization, we were able to use the QuestionPro Survey program this year. By sending out a survey we are trying to determine what is working and what is not. Please fill it out so that we can improve. It will probably take a couple of years to gather enough information to help make needed changes, but we appreciate and welcome your feedback.
Thanks to our Communications Working Group for following our schedule for PSAs, Facebook postings, Mailchimps, and other forms of advertising. We also had some help from OMGA, Josephine County Master Gardeners, OSU Extension and the OSU Task Force. A big thank you to all.
We were very happy with our wonderful presenters and pleased with the turnout for this year’s Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Symposium. We were able to provide a wide variety of relevant gardening topics with very qualified presenters. We tried to cover topics that we felt were important, including climate change, fire-resistant gardening, native plants, etc.
We learned a few lessons along the way. Our plan is to build on that knowledge and continue to develop a high-quality educational event for our gardening community.
What are we recommending for next year? We have a list of several speakers we want to ask back for other areas of their expertise and some new ones that we did not have room for this year.
We would also like to hear from you, the reader, and find out who you would recommend and what other subjects you would like to learn about.
Please give us information concerning what you liked and what we could improve on. Critical review is valuable, and we appreciate the feedback. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.