The azaleas are beginning to bloom and the Master Gardner volunteers of Sampson County will once again hold their annual azalea sale.
Held every year in April, the sale is an annual event to raise funds the volunteers can use to spread the program into the community. The sale is set to begin April 1 and will continue through the month of April.
According to Mary Burke-Bass, president of the Master Gardeners, the volunteers will be on hand to provide a wealth of knowledge for those in the community who may need assistance with their planting and gardening needs.
The Master Gardeners operate under the umbrella of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in touting the importance of gardening and healthy living to everyone.
“We would like to become a household name,” Burke-Bass said. “If people have a question, they can call us and get the answer they need.”
As in years past, the Master Gardeners have azaleas set up on N.C. 24, just beside Go Automotive. All azaleas, Burke-Bass shared, were grown locally in Sampson County. In addition to the azaleas, the Master Gardeners will have red geraniums for sale.
All proceeds from the sale benefit the Master Gardeners program. Funds are used to provide free seminars to the community, plants and shrubs to be planted around the county as a way to beautify Sampson and educational opportunities for the volunteers to educate themselves on topics.
“The azaleas are a way we can channel our knowledge back into the community,” Burke-Bass stressed.
The azaleas are available Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
In addition to the azalea sale, the Master Gardeners stay busy serving the residents of Sampson County. The volunteers are worked hard, Burke-Bass said, developing a garden at the Industrial Park sign, vegetable beds at local elementary schools and holding seminars that are free to the public. The group has even paid visits to local nursing homes and helped spruce up the outside appearance.
“We want the gardeners in the area to know were are here and they can come to use with help on their personal gardens,” Burke-Bass shared.
To become a Master Gardener, one must go through 16 weeks of training and then pass a test. This commitment, Burke-Bass said, allows the Master Gardener to receive the training needed to give back into the community by passing on knowledge through classes, workshops, demonstrations or other events.
According to Burke-Bass, there are 26 gardeners who hold the title of Master Gardener in Sampson County.
Master Gardeners are available to the public. For anyone needing the assistance of a Master Gardener, Burke-Bass said to call the Cooperative Extension office at 910-592-7161. For those interested in becoming a Master Gardener, contact the Cooperative Extension office as well.
“We want to pass on our knowledge to the county through our classes and demonstrations,” Burke-Bass noted.
Originated at N.C. State University, the North Carolina Extension Master Gardener program began in New Hanover County in 1979. According to the Extension, the train-the-trainer program cultivates volunteers through hands-on experience in horticulture, leadership, public speaking, community development and teaching.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.