Greene County

Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners are trained volunteers with gardening backgrounds ranging from hobbyist to professional, from beginner to experienced, from young adult to senior citizen. The common bond is a love of gardening, learning and sharing. After training, Master Gardeners serve as a resource with University of Missouri Extension to give county residents research-based answers to their gardening questions. The primary purpose of a Master Gardener is to volunteer, but members rate camaraderie and learning opportunities as important reasons for participating. To become a Master Gardener, call  417-881-8909.

Hotline

Call the hotline directly at 417-874-2963 with gardening questions. Master Gardeners are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, March through October, except holidays. At other times, leave a message. Calls are returned with 24 hours.

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    Speakers bureau

    Master Gardeners are available to give presentations to schools, clubs and organizations in the area. To schedule a speaker, visit Master Gardeners of Greene County Speakers Bureau.

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    Annual plant sale

    The chapter's annual plate sale is held in April. Plants are sold at reasonable prices and include bedding plants, bulbs, natives and other seasonal plants.

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    Demonstration gardens

    Our gardens provide a place for residents to learn about plants that do well in Greene County, as well see gardening techniques and methods in action. Master Gardeners have three demonstration gardens in Springfield: the Xeriscape Garden at National and Linwood, and the demonstration garden and kitchen garden at Nathanael Greene Park near the botanical center.

    Nathanael Greene Park

    The Master Gardeners of Greene County developed the original demonstration garden in 1994 on land provided by the Springfield/Greene County Park Board. In 2001, the garden was completely reworked and expanded to include:

    • A semi-formal turf plot showcasing eight varieties of of turf grass
    • A large vegetable garden that has annually yielded over 600 pounds of produce which is then donated to the Victory Mansion and other charities
    • An expanded Missouri wildflower section
    • An upgraded mixed border area of trees, perennials and shrubs
    • An improved herb garden divided into culinary, scented, medicinal, and dyeing herbs

    Xeriscape

    The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden was established in 1992 primarily to demonstrate the efficient use of water in landscaping while at the same time providing an interesting and attractive area for strolling and relaxing in an urban setting. Plants are chosen based on their water needs. Shade/sun requirements, height, color, and blooming season also influence plant selection. The xeriscape is divided into three water-use zones:

    1. high water requiring frequent irrigation
    2. moderate water using less irrigation
    3. low water use zone which receives no supplemental irrigation

    The xeriscape garden has been designed to demonstrate wise water use. Some plants simply require lots of water, like roses and hibiscus. Plants like these are included in beds that receive at least one inch of rain per week.

    Other plants, such as lilacs and phlox, enjoy a "normal" amount of water and are placed in beds that receive approximately half an inch of rain per week. Still others, such as digitalis and heuchera, enjoy "normal" water but can do with significantly less if they are planted in some afternoon shade and also mulched.

    Plants in the dry, or xeric, beds are selected because they can survive with little or no watering beyond what they receive from normal rainfall. Even these plants need to become established, however, before they develop the deep roots and structure that allow them to withstand drought.

    Newly-planted specimens are watered several times during their first summer to get them established. On occasion, when the temperatures topped 100 degrees and there had been no rain for many weeks, perennials in the xeric bed have ben watered.

    The trees, large shrubs and established grasses have not received supplemental watering.

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    Chapter history

    Master Gardeners of Greene County are headquartered in Springfield. The group started in 1984, and is a self-managing, not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors.

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