HOME & GARDEN: Southside Master Gardeners offer Landscape for Life | County Life

Are you a gardener new to Southside? Have you ever wanted to take the Master Gardener course but are still working or don’t want to commit to the volunteer obligation?

The Southside Master Gardener Association’s Landscape for Life may be just what you need. Landscape for Life is based on sustainable landscape practices. Think of it as a mini-Master Gardener training.

The six classes will start on March 4 and be held on the every Friday in March and the first and second Friday in April from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Boston – Halifax County Museum.

The Landscape for Life series starts off on March 4 with an introduction to soils by Kathy Conner Cornell. Most times people don’t give soil any thought. But, Cornell says soils are everything to the plant.

“It is through the interaction of roots and the soil that plants receive their nutrition and water. Healthy soils are the basis of a beautiful garden,” said Cornell.

Attendees are asked to bring a small baggie of soil from their garden to the class.

Water quality will be discussed on March 11. Leaders of the class feel storm water management is very important no matter where an individual lives. Attendees will learn special techniques to properly manage rainwater in their landscape.

On March 18, Cornell will review how to determine the right plant for the right place. It is important to avoid invasive alien plants that disrupt their natural habitats. Native plants can often be a good choice in the sustainable garden but not necessarily the only choice. Attendees will learn what to consider as they make the best plant selections for their garden.

Southside Master Gardeners will have a special treat on March 25. A strong design is the backbone of any landscape. An individual shouldn’t put a shovel in the ground until he or she has assessed their space and determined what functions one wants their landscape to serve such as play area, private area or entertaining area. The design development will be an ongoing project but to help with the plan Jean Blanton, Southside Master Gardener, will guide individuals through the basics of landscape design principles.

Materials, normally thought of as hardscape, will be discussed on April 1.

In the landscape, hardscapes are often used for things such as fencing, arbors, trellises or pathways. This will be a fun session chock full of ideas on how to use repurposed/recycled materials to define areas in the garden. A main way an individual can recycle and repurpose is to compost. Attendees will be guided through the steps to create black gold that is so important to soils. Cornell will lead a presentation on Integrated Pest Management. Using chemical pesticides should be the last resort for garden pest problems. The IPM method details the steps to be taken before ever reaching for a pesticide and what improper pesticide use is doing to our wildlife especially bees.

The last class on April 8 will be devoted to each member’s personal design and their specific issues. Some designs will be discussed in the class and everyone will have the opportunity for a personal consultation. Attendees will leave the program feeling confident that he or she can have the landscape of their dreams and help protect the environment for enjoyment of future generations.

There will be a $25 fee to cover the materials for the six sessions. Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions to get the maximum value out of the classes. However, if this just doesn’t work into your schedule, individual classes will have a $5 fee. The fee is for a family – husband and wife, parent and mature child or friends. This would make a great Christmas gift!

Advance registration and payment is required. Space is limited. To register, go to the Halifax Extension Office to pick up an application form or e-mail [email protected] to request an application form. Mail completed form and check made out to SSMGA to Halifax County Extension Office, PO Box 757, Halifax, VA 24558. The six classes will be held on March 4, March 11, March 18, March 25, April 1 and April 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Boston – Halifax County Museum, 1540 Wilborn Avenue, South Boston. For more information, email [email protected] or call the extension office at 434-476-2147, option 0.

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