Friday, January 15, 2016

Jefferson County Master Gardeners: The Past and Present Come Together by Lorrie Redman

Photo courtesy of Duane Davidson, Pictured: Char Gottlieb and Mary Kirby  
Jefferson County’s thriving master gardener program started in the early 1970s, by Dr. James R. Feuchts, the Jefferson County Horticulture Agent. Extension agents wanted to reach more residents in the gardening community and the landscaping industry. Today the Jefferson County Master Gardener program supports over a 100 volunteers utilizing research based education to foster successful gardeners, develop partnerships and build stronger communities. 
  • It began with 17 volunteers who finished 36 classroom hours at the Denver Botanic Gardens and reached 4500 Jefferson County residents. 
  • A telephone recording system was implemented to disseminate information for the public.
  • The first Demonstration and Research Garden was created on the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
  • Master Gardeners participated in solar energy tours and drought tolerant plant classes. 

  • A Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic was started and is still a unique resource available for Jefferson County residences. 
  • A Speakers Bureau was created to reach garden clubs and Green Industry professionals.
  • 74 master gardeners participated in research projects including alternative mulches, pheromone trapping and season extenders. 

  • Master Gardeners increased focus in Urban Integrated Pest Management and Plant and Insect Diagnosis.  
  • Master Gardeners promoted use of native plants and environmentally responsible solutions to plant and pest problems.
  • Numerous science based fact sheets and online information services were created and accessed through the CSU extension website. 
  • An educational Harvest Show was created and Master Gardeners were involved in many educational outlets that served both the public and industry professionals. 
 Duane Davidson demonstrating how to build hypertufa container at the Golden Farmer's Market

Master Gardeners today are a larger group and more varied in their interests, including: Teachers, Horticulturists, Scientists, Lawyers, Urban Farming Leaders, CSA Owners, Bee Keepers, Native Plant Masters, Landscape Designers, and Business Professionals. These individuals bring their professionalism and energy into every Master Gardener program that they support.  

Master Gardener Volunteers provide a variety of services, including:
  • Diagnose plants and diseases, answer questions on trees, lawns, water conservation, and native plants, 
  • Provide science-based information through websites, garden TV programs, blogs, newspaper articles, tweets, Facebook, and U-Tube videos, 
  • Organize farmer’s market booths on varied topics from urban farming to seed saving.
  • Run research and demonstration gardens. 
  • Develop classes and tours to educate garden organizations, youth and senior groups, landscape conferences, and community gardens.
  • Promote responsible gardening practices that strengthen local food systems. 
  Photo courtesy of Paul Luzetski: Master Gardener Garlic Class

Master Gardeners are goodwill ambassadors that teach how important gardening is to our community, our world and our own individual well being! With such knowledgeable volunteers, this program will continue to adapt and educate the public on changing garden practices.

  Photo courtesy of Paul Luzetski
If you are interested in becoming a Jefferson County Master Gardener please click here:

Historical information obtained from records of the Colorado Cooperative Extension, Colorado Agricultural Archive, Colorado State University.