Re: was Cyclamen / now Master Gardeners
In a message dated 11/10/2003 10:55:22 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> <<In New York State we have a Horticulture School program that we feel is
> better. >>
> Auralie, is this beyond the garden study course?
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.
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