As the Carroll County Master Gardener Extension Office volunteers gear up for the annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale, it’s important to recognize some of those volunteers who work behind the scenes to make the plant sale a success each year. This includes some of the many who propagate plants for the sale.
Meet one of those tireless workers: Kathy Howell. After many satisfying years as a teacher and administrator in the Carrollton City School system, Kathy has retired and is pursuing other interests. One of those interests is gardening. While Kathy has lived in her current home for 41 years, her gardening consisted of ornamentals until recently. About 15 years ago, her husband David, started a vegetable garden. Now David and Kathy share a passion for both ornamental and vegetable gardening. In addition to her gardening, Kathy has been actively involved with the Master Gardener organization. After completing the Master Gardener training in 2003, Kathy has served in many capacities within the organization: as Vice President, President, a member of the education committee, and three years as chairman of the scholarship committee.
Surrounding her patio and back yard pool, Kathy has an extensive collection of perennial flowers, flowering shrubbery and vines, and container gardens. Down a few steps and past the blueberry patch is her vegetable garden, which was teeming with winter greens and blooming strawberry plants when I visited her last week. During the winter months, they harvested cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, lettuces and snow peas. Later, there will be tomatoes, green beans, squash, peppers, cucumbers and other summer vegetables and herbs. Her vegetable garden is not only functional, it is surrounded by a gorgeous arbor covered with roses in bloom, a picket fence and flowering plants, including hydrangeas, native honeysuckle, false indigo, and irises.
A tour of the front yard revealed a purple smoke tree, Fringe tree, red buckeye, bearded iris, crepe myrtle and numerous other plants creating a serene setting. As we walked through her gardens, Kathy did what most gardeners do – she fondly recalled each person who gave her a cutting or ‘a start’ as we often call it, of many of the plants in her yard. Kathy and David’s garden is a prime example of making use of your space for garden areas. Because of her extensive plantings, she has only a small patch of grass to maintain, giving her more time to spend on other things she enjoys.
Pass along plants are a staple of most gardens, but Master Gardeners are truly masters of passing along plants. Most of the plants at our plant sale are from our own gardens. Throughout our tour of the gardens, Kathy pointed out pots of rooted plants tucked under shrubs that are bound for the plant sale, often commenting that she would have had a lot more, but she kept giving them to friends and relatives who dropped by to visit. I didn’t bring any home with me, but put in my order for cuttings of some of her plants when she decided to divide them. And like any true gardener, she readily agreed to share.
Please join us for our plant sale on Saturday, May 12, at the Carroll County Ag Center at 900 Newnan Rd. Doors open to the public at 9 a.m. We’ll have roses, native azaleas, blueberries, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and vegetable plants this year. Proceeds from the plant sale fund our free workshops, scholarships, grants for beautification and other civic projects throughout the year.