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Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015

Extending the Bounty


Master Gardeners share knowledge, bulbs with community

Held each year, the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners’s fall bulb sale offers some of the most unique and hard-tofind heirloom bulbs for gardens all around the community.

The sale will be 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 24 at the Randle T. Moore Center, located on Fairfield and Kings Highway.

Master Gardener Michele Wiener said these are heirloom bulbs that aren’t offered at stores. Many of the bulbs come from Master Gardeners’s gardens and have been dug up from old home sites. There will be more than 5,000 heirloom bulbs and more than 50 varieties that thrive in the South for sale.

Featured this year will be Dutch Iris “Cream Beauty” and “Blue Magic.” Also available are red and pink oxbloods, Gloriosa lilies and Lady Jane clusiana tulips, and there will be plenty of daffodils, crinums and rain lilies again this year.

The work of the Northwest Louisiana Community Gardeners Association is visible in the community. The Master Gardeners have provided volunteers for too many projects to count, from the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum gardens to the American Rose Center to the Pink Ribbon Memorial Gardens at Betty Virginia Park, as well as being pioneers in the early community garden movement. “Nobody had even heard of a community garden 10 years ago,” Wiener said. “Now they are everywhere and in every neighborhood. I am proud that we have had a hand in developing so many community gardens in our region.”

The Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners Association is a division of LSU AgCenter and is a nonprofit organization that serves Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto and Red River parishes. The mission of the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener volunteer program is to support the LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service by using research-based information to help educate the public on best management practices in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship.

“Master Gardeners are drawn to this organization because it pulls together into one package a path to grow friendships,” Wiener said, “to learn from each other and to share our knowledge of gardening with others in our community.

“The outgrowth of this mission brings garden events to the community through our plant sale, garden tour, educational seminars and more,” Wiener said.

NWLA Master Gardeners produce three fundraising events each year, including Le Tour des Jardins, the Spring Plant Sale and the Fall Bulb Sale. Proceeds from these events have generated enough Community Grants money to award a total of $95,000 since 2010 to organizations such as Evergreen Life Services to construct raised community garden beds for growing vegetables, and The Philadelphia Center, where gardening skills are used as outdoor therapy. The Town of Stonewall also received a grant that will be used to create a community orchard, and University Elementary School will use its grant funds to plant and maintain oak trees as part of the Honor Society’s study of native plants.

–Susan Reeks


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