Master Gardener College

2015 Master Gardener College Update and Plans for 2016

It is that time of year when we look for garden-related events and opportunities for the coming growing season that’s just right around the corner. Colorful seed catalogues and promotional fliers for local gardening conferences have arrived in our mail box and our 2015 engagement calendar is filling up with all the wonderful garden events we look forward to attending each year.

Master Gardener College is the major educational event of the season for many Master Gardener volunteers and we want to provide you with an update for 2015.  To avoid conflicts between gardening events, the Master Gardener College planning committee initially focused on partnering with The World Cup of Gardening (scheduled for Belle Isle June 16-21) which was one of three major conferences scheduled for this year. Regrettably, when we received notice that this event was canceled for 2015, there was insufficient time for the committee to shift Master Gardener College back to East Lansing in June. In addition, there are two outstanding Master Gardener educational events (see below) scheduled for August and September that we didn’t want to conflict with.   

So, even though there will not be the regular Master Gardener College format this year, we want to still offer you some wonderful educational opportunities.  Accordingly, we are putting a different twist on Master Gardener Volunteer advanced training with a variety of different opportunities and events.  First, we will be offering several 1 hour webinars throughout the growing season which will be at reduced or no cost to re-certified MSU Extension Master Gardeners.  While all details, dates and additional topics are still be determined, the following speakers and topics have been confirmed:

  • Diseases of Conifers-Dr. Dennis Fulbright and Jill O’Donnell
  • Insects of Trees and Shrubs-Dr. Dave Smitley
  • Enhancing Pollinators and How to ID Native Bees-Dr. Rufus Isaacs and Amy Bennett
  • Gardening in Urban Soils-Dr. Lucy Bradley
  • Managing Tomato Diseases-Dr. Mary Hausbeck

Michigan Face-to-Face Events:

There have been a plethora of winter gardening conferences. If you’ve missed them or have a thirst for more, check out the following opportunities:

(We will notify you of additional Master Gardener association seminars as we become aware of them.)

Out-of State events:

There are two great out-of-state Master Gardener events for which we are considering organizing car pools or chartering busses if there’s enough interest:

1.  Ohio Master Gardener Conference - August 28-29, Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio (greater Toledo area).  We’ll have MSU educators teaching sessions and are working with our Ohio counter parts to determine more logistics about bringing Michigan Master Gardeners.  More details will follow as they become available.

2.  International Master Gardener Conference - September 22-25 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Keynote speakers, conference sessions and tours are currently posted on the website. Early registration is now available.

While this approach to advanced training in 2015 is far different from our traditional Master Gardener College, it does offer a variety in delivery and cost which many of you indicated was a priority. And, we hope these events will offer you the opportunity to meet and make new gardening friends as well as see what other Master Gardener groups are doing.

Rest assured that we will return to the traditional Master Gardener College in 2016. The committee is currently in the planning stages for this event which will be held June, 2016 in the Grand Rapids area, Michigan’s horticulture haven!!  We are looking at the many wonderful opportunities for tours to nurseries, farms, wineries, natural areas, etc. along with a schedule of outstanding speakers, breakout sessions and of course shopping in the Greens Marketplace.

Stay tuned for exciting updates and details!

The Master Gardener College Planning Committee