Local master gardeners win awards

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | awarren@messenger-inquirer.com Bonnie Nance, master gardener, clips off some cox comb flowers in her garden on Wednesday at her home in Daviess County. Nance won the Outstanding Individual Master Gardener award at a recent state conference.

Bonnie Nance tries to use her skills as a master gardener to serve the community in whatever way she can.

Nance, a retired photographer, has been a master gardener for four years, but she has been gardening for about 40. In her spare time, she works on landscaping for the Hospice of Western Kentucky and volunteers with the Arc of Owensboro.

Over the past year she and other members of the Green River Extension Master Gardener Association, referred to as GRAEMGA, have been working to promote gardening in the area through videography, for which the group has gained statewide recognition, and Nance herself tied for Outstanding Individual Master Gardener at the recent Extension Master Gardener Conference held in Louisville.

This is the first year that GRAEMGA ever applied for all three awards given at the state conference, and they took home all three: Search for Excellence Award, Community Education; Outstanding Master Gardener Group; and Outstanding Individual Master Gardener. The group received their awards, and many accolades, for their work in developing and posting the "how-to" videos to their Facebook page, as well as their work with the Seed Library at the Daviess County Public Library.

Nance said she is proud of the group for their winnings, and is happy to be a part of a group that works hard to serve the community.

"I just try to do whatever I can in the community to promote flowers and gardening and vegetables and horticulture and all that stuff," she said.

Nance said she and the other GRAEMGA members have been happy to provide the how-to videos to the general public. Information like that is important, she said, especially in such an information-heavy world.

"I know there's a lot of information out on the internet, and sometimes it's not all correct, so we try to put the correct information out there in the community," she said. "Gardening can be expensive. People need to know the right information so they can be successful."

The videos range in subject matter from "dead heading" plants to make them bloom larger, butterfly gardens, how to take soil samples and beekeeping.

Cathy Schmidt, GRAEMGA president, said winning the three top master gardener awards the state can give made all the many hours put into promoting gardening through videography well worth it. She said the GRAEMGA group has about 60 people who are master gardeners, 30 of which come to meetings, and 15 of those who are active members. There were about six people who worked on the awards application.

Nance said she comes from a long line of gardeners, and she is just happy to introduce others to the craft.

"I love gardening, it's part of my DNA," she said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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