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Master Gardener Claudia Durham grew up gardening. She says, “My grandmother started the trend. My mom and dad continued the tradition. We lived on a farm in Dallas that had a huge garden, horses, cows, pigs, and Daddy raised pheasants and doves.” Her family heirlooms include plantings. “Currently in our yard, there is narcissus, iris, and an autumn clematis vine that originated at my grandmother’s. Our family has planted them at every home we have lived in.”

Durham also grows “vegetables, an herb garden, various native plants, shrubs, and many trees.” In all, she has 13 flower beds. That might increase in time because Durham is still experimenting. “This year we attempted to start a cut flower garden, although we started a little late and couldn’t find the seeds we wanted.”

Gardens at the Durham house are not just for beauty or nourishment. They are also for the pollinators. “I prefer to plant perennials and add annuals that the butterflies and hummingbirds like. My favorites are native plants and flowers that attract these pollinators. Our grandchildren love to see and learn about gardening and the nature that surrounds the plants.”

The Master Gardener program had been on Durham’s mind for years before she decided to join. “I knew several people who were Master Gardeners in Dallas and they turned me on to what a wonderful organization it is. When I retired from 28 years of working at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, we moved to Cedar Creek Lake. I started attending every Master Gardener event held.”

She is glad she made the step into volunteering as a Master Gardener. “This is one way to become involved with the community, the people that are our neighbors, and to volunteer with an outstanding organization. Also, I have met many motivating people and made some friends I will cherish the rest of my life.”

Education is important to Durham. Currently serving as a Vice President of Henderson County Master Gardener Association, part of Durham’s duties has been to book speakers to provide continuing education to the Master Gardeners. “Learning about the different characteristics and habits of plants, flowers and nature is so interesting. I cannot get enough knowledge.”

For hands-on learning, she often volunteers at HCMGA’s Dream Garden located inside the East Texas Arboretum. “There you can learn more about horticulture and actually see the beauty in every season. It is fun when people come through and you are able to share information with them about the plants.”

She is proud of the many programs offered to the public by HCMGA. “The library and summer series learning presentations, the plant sale, and the Fall conference with well-known speakers, are all great educational programs.”

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, call the number below for an application or visit HCMGA website’s About Us page.

For more information, call 903-675-6130, email hendersonCMGA@gmail.com, or visit txmg.org/hendersonmg.

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