In the Garden


Have you ever wondered if you would enjoy being a master gardener? If you are interested in learning about horticulture and teaching it to others, you may want to consider applying for the program.

Applications for the next class of Master Gardeners in Henrico County are being accepted now. Training begins in January.

The class is limited to 24 participants, and the cost is $135. A personal interview is required as part of the admissions process.

“We’re looking for someone who has a true interest in learning more about horticulture and who wants to help impart that knowledge to others,” says Jim Smith, a Henrico Master Gardener who serves on the training committee.

Those selected for the program receive intensive training in horticulture and related subjects in exchange for a 50-hour volunteer commitment in the first year.

“We want people who are interested in staying for more than one year,” adds Smith who has been with the program since 1996.

Master Gardeners staff a telephone helpline, give plant clinics, provide plant diagnostic services, teach classes in schools, and take on other projects approved by the Extension Service.

“Our Master Gardeners have made such a difference,” says Lisa Sanderson, the Henrico Extension Agent who has coordinated the program in Henrico for the last five years. “Their volunteer hours add up to the equivalent of between five and six additional Extension staff members.”

“Since 2009, Henrico Master Gardeners have logged more than 10,000 educational contacts,” she adds.

Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Henrico County Human Services Building on Parham Road. Classes run from Jan. 22 until the end of March. Before the first class, participants are paired with mentors at a luncheon on Jan. 10, 2013. During the course of the program, participants are required to take open-book mid-term and final examinations.

The tuition covers the cost of the instruction, the Master Gardener training manual, and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Pest Management Guide.

Classes are taught by a variety of instructors with expertise in specific fields. Topics include basic biology, plant propagation and diagnostics for diseases and insects, pruning, lawn care, fruit and vegetable gardening, flower gardening, indoor plant care, and landscape design.

“We cover a lot of material in a relatively short period of time,” says Sanderson.

“The training is very comprehensive,” she adds. “You don’t have to be a well-seasoned gardener before you enter the program. You just have to be committed to learning and volunteering.”

Of all her job duties, Sanderson says she enjoys working with the Master Gardeners most. “The people are really wonderful,” she says.

“I can truly say being a Henrico Master Gardener has been a joy,” adds Jim Smith. “I’m an environmentalist and a conservationist, and I’m able to make a contribution.”

Smith also enjoys working with the Henrico Master Gardener Association, which helps administer the program. “I really enjoy the administrative and management part,” he says.

The application is available online, or you can call the Extension Office at 501-5160 to have one mailed to you. The application deadline is Oct. 26.
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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May 2017
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The Short Pump Symphonette, a group of string players ranging from elementary school to high school students and adults, will perform from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at Glen Allen Library. The program will include light and classical music from works by baroque, classical and romantic composers as well as popular themes from films and shows. For details, call 501-1950 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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