Barb Howe (left) and Janet Kemp, both Master Gardeners, take a break while waiting for eager pumpkin painters to arrive at the Fall Children’s Festival.

Photo by Carol Spears.

You have seen us at the Garden wearing our West Virginia Botanic Garden name tags. We also have Monongalia County Master Gardener name tags. Who needs two name tags? We do because we are among the volunteers welcoming you to the Garden on weekends, weeding and planting the gardens, clearing trails, mowing, and leading walks and workshops. For the Fall Children’s Festival, we lead activities like painting pumpkins and planting bulbs, in addition to organizing the Fairy Garden and preparing and serving refreshments. We are planning events and serving on committees and as officers and board members of the West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc. From July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, we donated precisely 671.85 hours to the Garden. From January 1 to June 30, 2018, we donated 403 hours. As a group, we have donated $4,000 to the Garden from our dues since 2014 to support improvements in the Education Center, the plantings in the Shade Garden, materials for the new shelter for hosts, and some of the metal blazes for the trails.

Why do we volunteer? We do it because we love the Garden, and also because, as Master Gardeners, we are required to volunteer to achieve and then retain Certified Master Gardener status. The Monongalia County Master Gardener program is offered through the West Virginia University Extension Service. For further information about that program, contact the Monongalia County Extension Office at 304-291-7201, email Sheryl Bergen Jarvis at, or go to To join us as volunteers at the Botanic Garden, contact former Master Gardener and current WVBG Volunteer Coordinator Kay Jones

by Barb Howe, Master Gardener

originally published in our Winter 2018 newsletter

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