- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The Mariposa County UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program got a shot in the arm Saturday when the Merced Sun-Star ran a lengthy feature about the extensive gardens of one of the program's 50 volunteers, Elna Philbert.
Philbert's one-acre "Tannenbaum Forest" got its start 22 years ago with a Colorado blue spruce she received in memory of her late husband, the article said. Each year since, she purchased a living Christmas tree and planted it in the yard.
In time, the retired teacher added a Japanese maple grotto, grasslands, a presidential rose garden and a 49er corner, decorated with rusted shovels, buckets and gold pans she found on her property. Philbert told reporter Debbie Croft the garden is her pride and joy.
The article went on to describe the active Mariposa County Master Gardener program, noting that Mariposa volunteers have contributed more than 25,000 hours since 1995 to extend gardening information to their neighbors. The group helped start Merced's Master Gardener program three years ago. Five recent graduates received their certification, bringing Merced's total to 42, with more than 3,000 hours of service completed.
"We don't solve everyone's gardening problems," the story quoted Master Gardener Betty Johnson. "We assist county farm advisers by providing research-based information to the community."