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More Help for Your Gardens

More Help for Your Gardens

A new class of graduates earned the title “Master Gardener”

(June 21, 2011)

The Master Gardener program is the primary way UC Cooperative Extension reaches out to backyard gardeners.Enlarge

The Master Gardener program is the primary way UC Cooperative Extension reaches out to backyard gardeners.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Twenty-six people graduated June 15 from the Riverside County Master Gardener Program during a ceremony at Highland Springs Resort in Cherry Valley.

In the past year they took 20 classes, passed a final exam and volunteered at least 50 hours at community events and gardens throughout the region.

Master gardeners are tasked with sharing UC research-based information at classes, workshops, demonstration gardens and information tables at fairs and plant clinics. They also accept questions about the care of plants and trees at the plant hotline: 951-683-6491

In Riverside County, there are 174 active master gardener volunteers. After graduating, master gardeners are required to volunteer 25 hours per year and take 12 hours of continuing education. From June 1, 2010 to June 1, 2011, master gardeners volunteered 17,426 hours in Riverside County.

The 2011 graduates are:
From Riverside: Alexis Bookman, Charlotte Davidson, Lou Fawley, Susan Kitchens, Dennis Ponsor, Janice Ponsor, Patti Reiter, Carol Rhoner and Lynne Seymour. Scott Lathrop, Elizabeth Marrton and Thomas Vineski, all from Corona; Marjorie Corzine and Cathy Godfrey, both of Moreno Valley; Gerald Wikert and Faye Wons, both of Murrieta; Carmen Castillo, of Yucaipa; Shelley Craig, of Winchester; Fran Ferguson, of Palm Desert; Carole Galera, of Hemet; Michelle Harding, of Palm Springs; Renne Hennessee, of Rancho Mirage; Carol McLaughlin, of Banning; Sean Nealon, of Redlands; James Slater, of Colton; and JoBeth White, of Lake Elsinore.

1n 1979, Riverside County was one of three counties in California to pilot the program. It is administered by University of California Cooperative Extension county offices, the principal outreach and public service arm of the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In the state, there are nearly 5,500 certified master gardener volunteers. To date in the 2010-11 fiscal year, they have donated 296,301 hours, 38,285 more than last year and a three-fold increase from 2005-06.

In Riverside County, the master gardener program is popular, and has a wait list. Anyone interested in being placed on the applicant list may contact Stephanie Pocock at or 951-683-6491 x230.

Visitors to the gardens enjoy the cool shadeEnlarge

Visitors to the gardens enjoy the cool shade

Visitors admire the shape of the leavesEnlarge

Visitors admire the shape of the leaves

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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