I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and that you all were able to spend quality time with family and friends, especially those that you may not have been able to see during these last several years.
It has been a very fun time of year, what with the Gingerbread Jubilee, Festival of Trees, and the Soroptimist Holiday Home Tour all back in person after the long COVID-19 hiatus (yes, I go to them all)! Yummy Christmas luncheons and Open Houses were again enjoyed, making this year’s season feel warm, cozy and most certainly helped to put one in the holiday Spirit. (The eggnog and wine may have had something to do with that, too!)
I am very enthusiastic for this new year as your elected President!
We have slowly been coming out from under the umbrella of COVID-19 restrictions, each year doing a little more while allowing us to feel useful, productive and accomplished.
This past year on campus, we installed a water catchment system and caged water tanks to allow us to remain sustainable during the drought. The Native Nursery was enlarged and joined with the Propagation Nursery. Practicum moved from the condemned COH (Creepy Old House) into new storage PODS. Master Gardeners had five plant sales, a High Tea Membership Drive, Yard Sale, Annual Picnic with Awards, catered the Graduation Dinner, had a Holiday Bazaar, and produced a very successful 4-day on-line Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Symposium!
We learned we can make money while working within a limited budget, albeit with fewer volunteers, and still take care of the needs of the Association!
It takes a village and Master Gardeners have risen to the task of helping where needed. Members got our message out there by teaching through OLLI, Winter Dreams Summer Gardens, the Speakers Bureau, at Garden Clubs and on Jefferson Public Radio.
While we were able to hold our first hybrid Board Meeting and a Retreat, we are happy to be back again (somewhat) in person and will have hybrid meetings once a quarter in the new year!
We are starting out knowing that the 2023 Master Gardener Program will have a full-size class of more than 50 students, with Practicum returning and a new Coordinator! Meeting in Greenhouse 1 as a classroom, they will focus on growing vegetables and herbs for a Spring Plant Sale. We might even ask some venders to join us on campus for a slightly modified Spring Garden Fair. I’d like to see a collaboration between the other programs at the Extension – inviting them to join us in some events, have Garden Tours in our beautiful Demonstration Gardens and hopefully this fall, have a Harvest Fair with winter vegetable starts as well as items to sell made from our lavender harvest.
We have a terrific group as the new Board of Directors and I am looking forward to seeing what wonderful things we can do in the coming year. So, raise a glass (mine is always half full) in a toast to JCMGA 2023 and come join the party!