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At the recent 2022 Missouri State Master Gardener Conference held in Jefferson City, September 16-18, two Macon-Shelby Master Gardeners were recognized for their gardening efforts and volunteerism.
The Master Gardener of the Year (small chapter) award was presented to Mary Beth Jennings of Macon. Her nominator wrote the following: “Someone of Mary Beth’s caliber works with her hands, but mostly with her heart. To examine her heart, we’ll use an E.K.G. She is:
E.nergetic – When Mary Beth walks into the room, energy walks into the room! She exudes confidence and humility. She looks for opportunities to share new gardening ideas and to hear what others are trying. She loves gardening and those who garden! She has a good heart.
K.nowledgeable – Mary Beth travels miles to learn about gardening. In 2021 she attended the Gardener’s Pallette in Quincy and drove several fellow Master Gardeners to tour Whistle Stop Peonies, Gorin. Her interests are insatiable. Her good heart affects her mind.
G.enerous – Mary Beth arrives at monthly meetings with her pickup filled with plants she wants to share. When neighbors were hospitalized during Covid, she watered, weeded, and mowed for them. Mary Beth’s good heart is generous.
Some of her projects include working the healing gardens at Samaritan Hospital in Macon, working at the Missouri Veteran’s Cemetery in Jacksonville, and working in the Butterfly House at the Jefferson Farm and Garden in Columbia, among many other projects and activities.”
The Chapter Project of the Year (small chapter) award was presented to Mela Linn of Macon. In 2011, the Macon-Shelby Master Gardeners voted to create and maintain two interior courtyard gardens at Samaritan Hospital. Master Gardener, Mela Linn, drew detailed plans for the hardscape and gardens. The Tower Courtyard surrounds the compressor and EMT communication tower now camouflaged behind a wooden fence. Iron railings and paving stones form a patio and seating wall in the white-themed garden. To create the larger Healing Rose Garden, professional help was sought for a site plan and excavation to correct roof and surface drainage problems; the main storm drain was raised three feet to ground level; irrigation water lines were run to each garden section. Due to the interior location, literally tons of organic matter, topsoil, pea gravel and concrete for sidewalks, patios, and the fountain base were carted down hallways in wheelbarrows. Principles of aroma and color therapy were applied. ADA guidelines were followed for full access.
The gardens have provided good public relations opportunities for the Master Gardener chapter. Mela says almost every time she works in the garden herself, someone comes with a question about gardening. She has taped instructional posters on the windows overlooking the gardens. Once she attached a Japanese beetle in a plastic bag to a poster about the destructive beetles.
Approximately 25 Master Gardeners assisted over three years in the construction of the gardens. Since then, eight to ten Master Gardeners have volunteered annually. Eight Master Gardeners volunteered in 2021 to keep the redbuds, Japanese lilacs, Japanese maple, deutzia “Chardonnay Pearls”, hydrangeas, yellow roses, boxwood hedge, daisies, daylilies, hostas, Siberian irises, jonquils, salvia, grape hyacinths, lavender, and asters looking beautiful.
Tom Howell and Colleen Wilson of the Macon-Shelby chapter wrote and submitted the nominatiwons.