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How to learn how little you know about gardening in 12 easy classes

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Three of the writers who bring you GREENE Magazine just finished 10 weeks of training to be Master Gardeners. Along with 50 other gardening students, we spent six hours a week learning how to learn ore about gardening. Contributing editor Jeanne Duffey, Columnist Tom Lakowske and I sat relatively still for 12 sessions at the new Botanical Center listening and asking questions about the latest and thinking about the botanical world. Lest you think we’re just a few wanna-be’s, even our wonderful webmaster, R.J. Jacob, is a Master Gardener as well.

Master Gardeners can look it up

Let’s be clear: No Master Gardener worth his or her soil test results claims to be an expert gardener. If you garden for very long, you will realize none of us really knows much. Some of what we thought we knew turns out to be wrong. Most of us do know where to look for answers, and we want to pass along something to others for the help we received along the way. But the smartest gardeners just know how
much they don’t know, and keeping trying. Master Gardeners are students, not experts.

Still, we do have more resources than most. We may have a better idea of where to look for questions we can’t answer. We often know what to ask to gather clues. We often know who might have the best answer, whether it might be another gardener, a book or on the vast resources of the Internet. You can call the Master Gardener Hotline, 417-881-8909, Ext. 320.

You certainly don’t have to be a Master Gardener to be a student of the horticultural world. What really sets us apart is our willingness to give something back, to share, to espouse good and safe practices, and to encourage you to try and try again.

Gardening today is more popular than ever. More than NASCAR or golf or soccer or, well, you name it.

Along with gardening, GREENE believes we’re yearning for something more. Sanctuary, balance, trust, quiet, beauty, knowledge, happiness and celebration, reverence. And one more piece of this giant puzzle, more sustainable ways of living. What we’ve learned so far is that the best is yet to come.

GREENE is hoping you might want to come along. Join us. Take the first step
online and we’ll see you in print.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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