Meet A Master Gardener

Hi, my name is Julie and I'm a self-avowed plant nerd who can get excited about IPM (integrated pest management), hates red mulch with a passion, and seriously considers if three rain barrels and three composters are really enough. I've been gardening for about 20 years now and in 2007 became an Illinois Extension Master Gardener. You can call me an MG if you like. Oh, and I'm also a librarian.

Since I'm sure you know what librarians do, perhaps you're wondering about MGs. The MG program exists in all 50 states and each program is affiliated with the land-grant college and corresponding county extension office in that state. We are volunteers who undergo intensive training in order to educate urban gardeners on scientifically reliable gardening techniques. In Illinois we are
required to perform at least 30 hours of community service and accrue a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education a year in order to keep our MG status. I have volunteered at an organic greenhouse, put in a rain garden, gardened at two different Chicago public schools, and currently serve as a tour guide at the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park.

I have a wild, ever-changing perennial garden at my house in the city and also grow some vegetables and herbs. I must admit, however, that I am severely tomato challenged, but really good at growing arugula. (Frankly it self-seeded and has taken over the back of my yard). I'm one of those people who spend about half the year with dirt under her fingernails so only get a manicure when there's a wedding to attend. I’m the first to admit I’m not an expert at everything gardening, but, being a librarian, I’m really good at putting my research skills to work finding reliable information.

Here's a bit more about the MG program in Illinois

At Skokie Public Library this summer, we're opening the BLOOMbox where gardeners of all ages and skill levels can participate in classes, events, and just drop by! I'll be there during some of the drop-in times, so come and say hello.

Happy Gardening!