Q&A with a prospective Master Gardener

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic
Nancy Anderson of Galva is working on completion of requirements for the Master Gardener certification with the University of Illinois Extension.

Nancy Anderson of Galva has completed course work for the Master Gardener program hosted by the University of Illinois Extension. She’s currently fulfilling the final requirement to be granted Master Gardener status – volunteering time and gardening expertise to the community.

The following is a question-and-answer session with Nancy. – Ed. 

Why did you want to undertake the Master Gardener program?  

Having grown up on a farm as a child, I was always outside riding horses, pulling weeds in the beans, exploring places in our timbers, and helping my mom and grandparents with their huge vegetable and flower gardens.  

I have always loved gardening but did not have a lot of time to devote to it until my children were older.

I was inspired by going on garden walks in Galva as well as the Quad Cities and amazed at the variety of plants available for planting.  

What surprised you about what you learned?

With so many resources at my finger tips, I now know all the mistakes I have made in the past. I have always been a trial-and-error gardener anyway but at least now I feel much more confident in making the correct choices as well as giving better advice by using the university-based horticultural information.

If given $1,000, what would you spend it on to add foliage at your residence?

Having a small yard that is now bulging with all kinds of plants has limited spending money on too much more. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have been more careful about the kind of trees and shrubs I would have planted a long time ago. They are definitely the bones of any landscaped yard and should be chosen based on what they will look like in 10 or 20 years.

Do any plants in your home garden have special meaning for you?

The plants that mean a lot to me are the first ones I planted when we moved into our house 25 years ago. I transplanted some hostas from my grandmother’s garden. My uncle had brought them up from Florida in the early 1970s and I thought the foliage was beautiful. I always thought I would like them in front of my house if I ever bought one. That I did and every spring I have divided them and moved them to another part of my yard or shared them with other gardening friends.

If you had just one minute to offer tips to homeowners who know very little about gardening, what would you say?

First of all, make sure you have healthy soil full of lots of organic matter before you plant. Then make sure you plant the right plant in the right spot. Consider the plant characteristics and needs, temperature, lighting, water and changes in their environment.

For more of this question-and-answer session, see the July 16 Galva News.