This fall I was accepted into my local Master Gardener program. This has been a goal of mine for many years, so to act on my dreams and follow through with a hobby feels incredible. It seemed as though I was in a room full of geniuses at times; our instructors were so well-versed in their oh-so-specific fields, it was awesome to spend six hours a week completely submersed in gardening information. Not to mention, my classmates were super nice.

My gardening classes ended the week after Thanksgiving, the same week This is Us took a mid season break. This was bittersweet, since I mostly enjoyed my classes with the exception of my Granny passing away. Once that happened, I really didn’t feel like leaving the house. And now that I have nothing to occupy my Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I’m complaining of boredom again. I can’t seem to win. I’ve been making to-do lists for the week instead of daily lists, and this occupies my time while Keegan works at Right to Read. I can’t wait to volunteer in the Spring for the Weld County Extension Office. Looking forward to learning more about gardening in this region and making new friends.

Out of all the different subjects we studied, I was totally drawn to trees. I’m especially interested in giving trees “haircuts”, aka, pruning. I might ease into pruning shrubs, but for now I’m much more comfortable with the idea of pruning trees. Of all things, I would’ve never imagined this would interest me. Also, I really liked botany and soils. Botany, the scientific study of plants, was such a great introduction to the course. I loved using a dichotomous key to identify different types of woody shrubs native to Colorado. With so many different types of soil problems, it’s estimated up to 80% of plant growth issues are beneath the surface. Thus, I find it really important to understand soil, soil types and soil pathogens.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my classes. I am so beyond grateful to have had this learning opportunity, something for me to focus on and to keep my mind growing. Here’s a few completely random facts I learned along the way:

  1. For every 300 feet you gain in elevation, you lose a degree of temperature.
  2. Apsen don’t do well below 8,500 feet and are meant to grow in forests.
  3. 3. Necrotic ring spot on Kentucky Bluegrass is one of the most common issues in Colorado turf and lawn grass.
  4. A weed is considered a weed if it grows somewhere you don’t want it to grow.
  5. Seed are dispersed via wind, rain, water, bursting, animals and humans.
  6. Almost all fruit trees are grafted.
  7. Soil testing prices range from affordable to very expensive, and there’s still a lot of things that soil testing can’t tell you, such as over-watering, diseases, insect damage and compaction.
  8. When searching for plant diseases, one must consider the disease triangle: The plant, the environment and the organism. Right plant, right place is of the up most importance!
  9. A lot of disease symptoms look similar to other plant problems.
  10. There’s so much more to gardening than I ever anticipated.
Entomology Part 2: Identifying Insects

I remember being interviewed by Amy and her team, and they asked me what my gardening interests were. I replied with vegetable gardening, raised beds, container gardening and perennials. Little did I know, this was barely scratching the tip of the surface. Now I’m interested in trees, and Lord only knows what else will interest me.

I missed three classes this semester. First, I bought tickets to Queens of the Stone Age at Red Rocks, and the other two courses followed my Granny’s death. Then, the instructor that was supposed to teach Landscape Design ended up cancelling, so we wound up with Entomology Part 1 and 2 instead of just the first class. I’m excited to make up Turf Grass 1, Herbaceous Plants, and Pathology Part 1 in the Spring. I’m hopeful they bring back Vegetables and Landscape Design, since these two courses are electives.

I could go on and on about everything I’ve learned, how eager I am to share that information with local community members, and how science and evidence-based practices are so important, but I’ll leave you with this: When you do what you love, the rest falls into place.