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Re: was Cyclamen / now Master Gardeners


In a message dated 11/10/2003 10:55:22 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
Cersgarden@aol.com writes:

> <<In New York State we have a Horticulture School program that we feel is 
> even 
> better.   >>
> 
> Auralie, is this beyond the garden study course?
>   Ceres
> 

This is somewhat different from the garden study course.  That series has a 
fixed curriculum set by National Garden Clubs, and is very good.  I'm not 
putting it down by any means.  The New York State school is called Horticulture 
School for Judges and Exhibitors, but the emphasis is on exhibitors.  We try to 
give people a good basis in growing fine plants.  We start with basic botany 
and plant taxonomy and progress through four seasons of plant materials. Each 
school has one specific genus such as roses, peonies, hemerocallis, etc., and 
one container-grown type such as cactus, orchids, etc.  We always include a 
section on native plants with emphasis on the New York State Protected Native 
Plant List.  And include a section on a specific technique, such as xerophitic 
gardening, pruning, perennials, etc.  Our curriculum is not rigidly set - we 
choose topics that are of local interest and we use local specialists who may or 
may not be on National's approved speaker list.  Usually these people are plant 
society judges.  We always end our sessions with a practice judging session 
to show the students exactly what points are important to the specialists.  
There is a two-hour written test for students.  
Our courses are almost always approved by the National Garden Study Chairman 
as a refresher for their students.  My argument with the National program is 
that their speakers may be specialists in some field, but not necessarily the 
field which is being addressed.  For instance I once took a symposium on 
daffodils taught by a gladiolus specialist.  I know she is the tops in glads, but I 
knew more about daffs than she did. And often their speakers come from 
different areas and don't know the  local growing conditions. That doesn't happen in 
our schools.  The other difference is that the Garden Study courses don't 
address the judging questions, and we feel that too many people don't understand 
what the see in flower shows.  Why one specimen is better than another.  In 
fact we often feel that horticulture is a poor step-child in the National Flower 
Show system, and to so many of us, it's the most important part.
But then, I'm prejudiced.  More than you wanted to know, I'm sure.
Auralie

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