Where would the art of gardening be in the next decade if it were not for the teaching of our younger generation?
After Victoria County Master Gardener Association’s, June Summer Kids Camp, I became aware of the number of youngsters who do not have the opportunity to get outdoors and discover the wonders of nature and the beauty of gardening.
Teaching the young
One of the most important things we can do is to make every effort to introduce our young people to the importance of gardening. Once I was a children’s tour leader at Victoria Educational Gardens and asked, “Where do potatoes come from?” expecting the answer to be underground, but what they answered was from the store.
That response certainly opened my eyes about children’s basic knowledge. Whether it be flowers, trees, grasses or vegetables, I think it is everyone’s duty to teach gardening principles to others. We cannot wait but must accept the challenge now.
Learning from the old
We all learn from our models. And dedicated Master Gardener Lupe Cook is one of the best teachers. Lupe has been a valuable member of VCMGA since 2005. She and her late husband, Roy, have been gardening all their lives, and she continues to unselfishly share and teach us about many aspects of gardening.
In my opinion, Lupe is an expert on plant propagation techniques. She has worked many hours in the VEG greenhouse, growing and caring for a variety of plants. These plants are used to beautify the gardens as well as provide unique, healthy plants for the master gardeners’ seasonal plant sales.
Through her experiences and research, Lupe has been very successful in growing her favorite succulents, as well as a variety of vegetables and flowering plants. Her passion for gardening comes through in her explanation of “how to.” Her words literally paint a picture, like when she explains how to propagate a cactus.
Lupe’s home garden is her happy place. She continues to work in her garden and is making long lasting memories for her entire family. How many times have you heard, “My Grandma used to do it that way!”
Youngsters will remember
Lupe’s grandson, Noland Weissend, is quite knowledgeable for an 8 year old when it comes to gardening. He learned by following his Granny and Grandpa around in their garden. Noland attended the 2023 VCMGA Summer Kids Camp and surprised most of the Master Gardener volunteers when it came to answering questions. It didn’t matter if the questions were about rainwater harvesting or what elements are needed to grow healthy plants, his hand went up first.
The reason w
The reason Noland knew the answers is because his Granny, our Lupe, took the time to teach him. I have seen Noland grow up. He has tagged along with his Granny to VEG ever since he was old enough to talk. And talk, he does!
While Lupe was working in the VEG greenhouse, Noland would join me in the gardens. He enjoyed telling me about everything from the cycle of the butterfly to canning tomatoes.
Take a minute
It takes only a little time to walk outdoors with a child and explain something about one plant. Their minds absorb what you tell them and in turn, when you least expect it, they share that information with someone else. And the growing cycle continues from one generation to another.
So, no matter how old or how young you are, “take time to smell the roses.” Gardening can be a learning experience and can be shared for generations to come. Happy gardening to all ages.
The Gardeners’ Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or [email protected], or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.