Master Gardener intern Elizabeth Crowe has an exuberant personality. That energy is echoed in her gardening efforts. When asked about her gardens, she says they “range from traditional, fenced garden areas to entry way settings to home landscape as well as outdoor entertaining and seating decks.”
Right now, she is growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash in her vegetable beds. Other beds “focus on flowers with herbs planted among them.” Always one to look on the bright side of things, Crowe felt the damaging February freeze gave her an “opportunity to start anew.” She is changing the twenty-year-old landscape to an “azalea-focused concept.”
Like many gardeners, Crowe enjoys harvesting the most, “whether it is cutting of the flowers to bring to a friend or gathering vegetables to enjoy at home or share with others.” She is quick to point out, however, she just enjoys being outdoors. She says, “I also find the part some fellow gardeners may not enjoy (the weeding and dead-heading) both therapeutic and cathartic. I have always enjoyed flowers as they bring me such joy. I successfully planted and am currently enjoying zinnias from previous year’s seeds. I have some herb plants doing well that add freshness to our meals. and one—just one—sunflower has bloomed.” Never one to complain, Crowe continues to garden despite obstacles. “Since we don’t have any permanent water source at the front gate to our property, I get to hand water what nature doesn’t provide.”
It may come as no surprise to learn that Crowe learned gardening from both her mother and her father’s sides of the family. She says, “My grandmother always had African violets in her windowsill and multi-colored pansies in her backyard.” Her other set of grandparents had “potted plants along the front porch railing” and “huge pecan trees in their yard.” Crowe still has a living reminder of their place. “When my grandparents moved in the 1970s, my mother dug up the amaryllis bulbs from their home and transplanted them in our back yard. My siblings and I all have some amaryllis from these original bulbs.” Those are not the only bulbs in her yard. She says, “I planted hundreds of bulbs in fall 2019 in anticipation of our daughter’s wedding.”
Crowe became interested in the Master Gardener program after moving to Athens from Dallas. She says, “I wanted to take the Master Gardener course to learn more about gardening as I now have much more space on our farm and more flexibility in my time to put into my gardening efforts.”
To become certified as a Texas Master Gardener, one needs to complete a course and volunteer a set number of hours. Although Crowe has been gardening for years, taking the Master Gardener course allowed her to learn even more. In addition to the course, she says she often experiences “the ‘ahhh, now I get it’ moments” while talking to other Master Gardeners.
Crowe’s favorite project to volunteer at is the Henderson County Master Gardener Association’s annual Plant Sale because she helped grow the plants offered for sale. She says, “I especially enjoyed the up-potting, fertilizing and tending to the flowers and then getting to see the mature plants picked up by other happy gardeners.”
If you are interested in becoming a certified Master Gardener, Henderson County is now accepting applications. The deadline for registration is August 11. Get more information by calling 903-675-6130.