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UC Master Gardener Conference brings together volunteers, coordinators, advisors and industry experts for learning experience

UC Master Gardener Conference participants explored Rancho Los Cerritos and admired the popcorn cassia.

The 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference was buzzing with activity as participants learned about the latest research in home horticulture and networked with fellow gardening enthusiasts in Long Beach on Aug. 22-25.

“It turns out there is far more to the UC Master Gardener Conference than talk about gardening!” AVP Wendy Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog. “I was unable to attend as many talks as I had hoped but those I made were great – filled with timely information from UC ANR advisors.”

Anne Schellman, urban UC IPM educator, taught conference participants how to make an insect collection.
 
Over the three days, participants could choose from 58 sessions to learn about subjects such as training fruit trees, pruning grapevines or roses, managing garden pests, selecting low-water-use plants, photographing plants, making an insect collection and many more.

The attendees took field trips to tour gardens at Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach, South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and Huntington Botanical Gardens.

UC Master Gardeners who have reached milestones over 5,000 volunteer hours were honored.
 
Missy Gable learned about the very first UC Master Gardener Conference, which took place in 1994, from volunteer Elaine Byrd of Riverside County.
Keynote speaker Adam Schwerner, Disneyland Resort's director of horticulture and resort entertainment, talked about the magic and comingling of ornamental horticulture and art. Allan Armitage, University of Georgia professor emeritus and author of 14 books, riffed on the personal experience of gardening. Rosalind Creasy, a pioneer in the field of edible landscaping, spoke and signed copies of some of her most recent publications, including “Edible Flower Garden” and “Edible Herb Garden.”
 
"The 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference was an extraordinary event that connected the vast network of volunteers, coordinators, advisors and industry experts from across California!” said Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program. "We were extremely excited to be able to learn together and most importantly celebrate the incredible impacts and accomplishments of our volunteers."
 
At the conference, volunteers celebrated the winners of the 2017 UC Master Gardener Search for Excellence awards. UC Master Gardener Programs in Los Angeles, Orange and Marin counties took the top three awards of the Search for Excellence competition. First place went to Los Angeles County with its “Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative,” second place was Orange County's radio show: "In the Garden with UC Master Gardeners” and third place was Marin County's “Dig it, Grow it, Eat it."

For shoppers, the conference MarketPlace was stocked with handcrafted items from UC Master Gardener volunteers, gardening tools and UC ANR publications. Funds raised from the sales will be used to support the county programs. 

UC Master Gardener volunteers from Riverside County took a break to snap a group photo to share on social media.
Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 8:23 AM

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