2018 Purdue Master Gardener State Conference!

Purdue Master Gardeners warm up at the 2018 Purdue MG State Conference!

The 2018 Purdue Master Gardener State Conference was held June 7-9, 2018 in Danville, IN! The Hendricks County Master Gardeners, Purdue Extension, Hendricks County and Purdue Master Gardener State Office hosted over 280 Purdue Master Gardeners! Rosie Lenihan and Jan Myers, Co-chairs for the conference along with John Orick, Purdue Master Gardener State Coordinator served as the core planning team for the conference! Thank you to the Hendricks County Master Gardeners for all your hard work to make this year’s conference a huge success!

Congratulations to the following Purdue Master Gardener Search for Excellence Award Winners!

Demonstration Garden

LaPorte County Master Gardeners SFE Award Poster

1st Place: La Porte County Master Gardeners – Pioneer Heritage Garden

Established in 1999, the LaPorte County Fairgrounds Pioneer Village heritage garden represents a living history of heirloom herbs, vegetables, and flowers.  It is a 32-foot by 40-foot garden that reflects some of the most commonly used cooking, medicinal, textile and household herbs and vegetables dating to the mid-1800s.  The garden is based on a four-square kitchen garden plan, which was popular during that period, because it was an efficient means of feeding the family and preserving food for the coming winter.

The goal of the garden is to educate children and adults about the importance of the garden in the early years of this country’s history and how to apply those same gardening practices in today’s world.

Greene County Master Gardeners SFE Award Poster

2nd Place: Purdue Master Gardeners of Greene County – “Share the Bounty” Demonstration Vegetable Garden

In 2005, the Greene County Master Gardener Association (GCMGA) constructed a Demonstration garden near the Community Building on the Greene County 4-H Fairgrounds. The garden was 260 sq ft and divided into four sections. The vegetable garden section was 63 sq ft. A renovation of the Community Building led to the need to relocate the vegetable garden. In the fall of 2015, a request was made to the 4-H Council for new garden space. The request was approved and allowed a significant expansion in size and scope.

The demonstration vegetable garden is intended to “Help Others Grow” by demonstrating various gardening practices, showcasing a variety of different vegetables, serving as a “hands-on” opportunity for learners and benefiting low-income families through food pantry donations.

The goals for the project were:

  • To educate area youth and adults on home vegetable gardening and the role vegetables play in a healthy diet.
  • To promote community health and wellness by donating harvest yields to community food pantries.
  • To create ‘pollinator friendly’ space in and around the garden through native wildflower plantings which are attractive to honey bees and other pollinators.
  • To engage community youth organizations through an aggressive outreach initiative.
  • To provide interesting and engaging learning experiences on gardening methods and techniques.
Lake County Master Gardeners SFE Award Poster

3rd Place: Lake County Master Gardeners – The Butterfly and Pollinator Garden at Tri-Town Safety Village

Butterfly and Pollinator Gardens are becoming increasingly significant as the public becomes more and more aware of the plight of our pollinators. Many want to know more about what they can do to help. Yet to the average suburban/urban homeowner these types of gardens can appear unruly in appearance as well as intimidating due to their restrictions on pesticide and herbicide usage. The Butterfly and Pollinator Garden project at Tri-Town Safety Village has struck an ideal balance to address the aesthetic needs of the suburban/urban gardener while also encouraging them to make their own gardens ecologically viable to pollinators.

This 17,000 sq ft garden located in the expanding suburb of Schererville, IN was an overgrown and weedy pollinator garden with limited access to the public. The goal of the rehabilitation was to create an inspirational garden which provided educational elements and year-round educational classes that demonstrated to adults and children the importance of pollinators, pollinator plants and pollinator-friendly gardening practices with the hope is that the community will learn more and replicate our plantings and practices in the gardens or open spaces available to them regardless of the size.

Educational Service Workshop

Sunnyside Master Gardeners SFE Award Poster

1st Place: Sunnyside Master Gardener Association of Southern Indiana, Floyd County – Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Team

The Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Team [PBIT] was established with the goal of providing science-based information to the Sunnyside Master Gardener [SMG] membership and to the general public on pollinators and other beneficial insects.   The team seeks out current, research-based information on pollinators and beneficial insects and the many ways that these species effect and are affected by the natural environment.  The team utilizes this information to provides concrete, practical guidance that gardeners and property owners can use to understand the role that the ‘beneficials’ play in our lives and environment and to improve habitat for these crucial species.   Activities include Pollinator Day at Purdue Research Park [PRP], the SMG Butterfly Garden Open House, demonstrations and presentations at other public events, establishment of a pollinator garden at PRP, seed collection, etc.

Hendricks County Master Gardeners SFE Award Poster

2nd Place: Hendricks County Master Gardeners – Gardening for All Ages

Gardening for All Ages (GFAA) is a multifaceted garden and home horticulture show hosted by the Hendricks County Master Gardeners that started over 25 years ago.  GFAA is typically held on the third or fourth Saturday in April: in 2017 it was held on April 22nd.  It has grown in scope and attendance each year to become one of our major events that involves nearly all the membership in one role or another.  GFAA is open to the public and is an admission-free event and includes Master Gardener educational and informational booths, educational programs, and home horticulture-related vendor booths.

The Master Gardener booths include an Information/Resource Booth, a Children’s Activity area, Free Trees, Free Seeds, the Gardener’s Closet and the Garden Wizard.  The Information/Resource Booth invites the public to ask Master Gardeners questions and get responses to any garden-related concerns they have and are provided with appropriate Purdue publications related to their interests or concern. The Children’s activity area is geared toward youth interest and incorporates creative educational activities around a central theme; the 2017 theme was pollinators, previous themes have included trees, garden plants and planting vegetables.  The Free Seeds and Free Trees provides the attendees with free seed packets donated by seed companies, and free seedling trees obtained through the IDNR and are intended to attract the public to the show, while also “whetting their appetite” for home horticulture.  The Gardener’s Closet offers gently used donated garden items and equipment for sale at very reasonable prices.  And the Garden Wizard displays various, often unique, garden ideas and techniques.  In 2018 HCMG will add its new Demonstration Garden as a new educational feature at the show.

Special Needs Audience

St Joe Valley Master Gardeners SFE Award Poster

1st Place: St. Joseph Valley Master Gardeners – Corvilla Gardening Program

The purpose of this program is to teach adults with special needs how to grow a vegetable garden and how to plant and help maintain landscape beds around their building. This project is a joint effort with Corvilla, an organization providing day programming, employment, and group homes for special needs adults in St. Joseph County.  Corvilla contacted our county extension office to ask for our help in developing a garden program.  Our first program together was in October of 2016.  Working one on one with a master gardener, the clients planted 200 spring bulbs in clumps of 10 per grouping.  Spring was very rewarding for these folks as April through June they were able to see results of their work in full bloom.  Beginning in April, seeds in hand, our master gardeners worked one on one with the clients planting early vegetables.  Before each planting, master gardeners would explain what we were planting and why we were growing this plant.

The goal was to keep our clients’ interest and attention at all times. As a result, the clients were able to identify flowers and plants in the garden. The vegetables they grew were used at their group homes for food. Everyone had a pumpkin from the garden to decorate for Halloween.

See you at the 2020 Purdue Master Gardener State Conference in Hamilton and Howard Counties – September 10-12, 2020!

Enjoy some additional photos!


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