- Author: Mary Louise Flint
- Editor: Melissa G. Womack
Dear Master Gardeners,
I was hired to create Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs for agriculture, but my interest in Master Gardeners started early. I remember attending the California State Fair in the early 1980's and being somewhat horrified to find the UC Master Gardeners answering questions using the Ortho Problem Solver and the Rodale Guide to Organic Gardening. I was told that they relied on these books because UC provided very little garden pest management information. This motivated me to write Pests of the Garden and Small Farm and later to hire Steve Dreistadt to compile Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs. From there we moved on to the Pest Notes, Quick Tips, UC IPM web site, UC IPM kiosk, our YouTube channel, blog and Twitter. Master Gardeners embraced and promoted all these products and now UCIPM is as well known for its home and garden information as for agricultural IPM.
I have loved teaching Master Gardener volunteers. They are the most enthusiastic students ever. I learn something every single time I go out and teach a class—and I've taught thousands of them. UC Master Gardeners inspire so much of what we do.
For example, it was Master Gardeners who stimulated our research on convergent lady
beetle releases for aphid control. All the published literature said releases weren't useful, but Master Gardeners challenged this idea. Over a 3-year study, Steve Dreistadt and I found that they were right, and we published several journal articles documenting the results.
Last but not least, thank you to all of you Master Gardener Coordinators. Each of you does an incredible job gently guiding and informing your enthusiastic volunteers. I have watched you in action and you do something special every day.