The firefly is the symbol of illumination and is portrayed on the Florida Master Gardener volunteer 5-year service award. Wendy L. Wilbur, State Master Gardener coordinator explained, “with 5 years of service, a Master Gardener Volunteer has a good understanding of the meaning of being a horticulture volunteer” she continues “their light shines to guide and attract others.”
In addition to working on the landscape renovation project at Levy County Extension Center, Barbara Dossey multiplies her results by teaching, training and mentoring volunteers in Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) principles. Barbara’s ability to collaborate with people from across the United States to manage off-site gardens is awe-inspiring.
Sue Stockman’s horticulture interest is expanding into the Portable Herbarium project. Sue’s natural curiosity and gentle manner puts people at ease. She’s finding her niche with stem cuttings and sharing the propagules with Nature Coast Master Gardeners (NCMG’s)! Both Sue and Linda Rees-Gurney have been instrumental in cultivating the FFL garden at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO). In 2021, the GCSO, under the skilled hands of many NCMG’s, earned FFL recognition for a landscape designed to have success with minimum maintenance once established.
Linda has fielded plant clinic inquires, developed, and delivered presentations to the community. She’s especially fond of colorful ornamentals and container gardens. I feel inspired surveying her horticulture creations and use of repurposed natural elements, enhancing the containers.
Not pictured but also recognized are Diane Wilson and Dr. Eugene Gibbins. Eugene’s creative talent shines in developing educational tools such as the vegetable garden soil testing whiteboard and Arbor Day tree planting video. Eugene has served on several state and international Master Gardener award nomination committees, bringing a new set of eyes and ideas on how project(s) could be enhanced. His talks on how to plan for nominations during the preliminary stages of a project were eye-opening.
From a demonstration and talk on plant preservation in 2017, Diane Wilson honed plant pressing skills by volunteering at UF’s Museum of Natural History Herbaria and later developed a fluid core group of Master Gardeners committed to the Nature Coast ‘Record of Change’ Portable Herbarium Project. Working with co-leader Kristine Switt, Diane’s commitment and dedication to the project was illuminated during COVID-19 lockdown. Kristine and Diane kept in regular contact by email, text, and phone to keep the Herbarium team and NCMG’s engaged.
Congratulations to Barbara, Sue, Linda, Eugene, and Diane. You’ve led the way, inspiring us, taking us into new territory while maintining your winsome, charming, and charismatic personalities. It’s hard keeping up with you all, but I’ll try. Until next time – Happy Gardening!