What is a Master Gardener? Master Gardeners are community volunteers trained by experts at Rutgers in eco-friendly gardening principles. They answer inquiries from the public via phone and email, and they hold many free educational events.
Why does someone become a Master Gardener? A passion for plants is usually the answer. Sharon Sayegh of East Brunswick completed the program in 2015.
“I think it was a little in my blood,” she said. “My father was a landscape architect who went through the Rutgers LA program, and when I was a kid I worked for him. He was very knowledgeable about plant materials from back when he was in Israel, trying to cultivate the desert.”
Master Gardeners are typically trained on a range of subjects, including houseplants, vegetables or fruit gardening, landscapes, tree care, and pests and diseases of plants.
Despite Sharon’s plant-oriented DNA, she still found the program to be demanding.
“It’s a challenge,” she said. “There’s a tremendous amount of material. I was working full-time but I was still able to fit it into my schedule. I’m sure I wasn’t their stellar pupil.”
Despite the trials and tribulations, Sharon completed the program. And what is her final assessment?
“It’s a serious program and it’s worthwhile. You make a lot of friends with shared interests.”
Click here for more information about becoming a Master Gardener.
By the way, Sharon is also a painter. Her paintings have been widely exhibited, and she even created one inspired by her Master Gardener experience and her time spent in the Children’s Garden at the Middlesex County E.A.R.T.H. Center.
The painting is called Iris.
Click here to see more of Sharon’s work.