The Master Gardener program offers a Plant Clinic at the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, one of our program locations. Pat Carroll, Coordinator for the Bartlett Arboretum location, wanted to extend their reach since we have Master Gardeners and clients who live in communities ranging from Greenwich to Fairfield and as far north as Ridgefield and Redding.
Pat met with Joanne Gabriel who is both a Master Gardener and a Darien Library employee. “Joanne shared my enthusiasm of offering Plant Clinic at the library. We decided to run a trial of eight sessions on consecutive Friday mornings in May and June,” she said.
They met with a small group of Master Gardeners to determine the necessary materials, a topic of the day for each session, and a plan for handing off cases that require further research.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm and positive outreach each Friday we were set up at Darien Library,” Joanne says. “Sometimes we had plant cases, sometimes we just talked gardening, garden design, or hot topics. Each week there was a different theme for patrons to learn something new about. Finally, it was a great way for Master Gardeners to socialize, talk and learn from each other, something I think that was lost a bit during COVID.”
During the spring 2023 plant clinics, nearly 200 people stopped in. They had a conversation with a Master Gardener, took the pamphlets being offered, asked a question, brought a sample, brought a donation of a native or rare species (happened a few times!), or listened to the mini-lecture being offered. While not all ended up being plant clinic cases, each interaction was valuable for both our volunteers and the people they interacted with.
Darien Library offered indoor space during inclement weather, and given the wet year we are having, that was appreciated by all! The library also provided tables and chairs, and assisted with weekly logistics.
The Plant Clinic provided information, pamphlets, live demonstrations, and samples. There are discussions to continue offering some programming for the community in conjunction with the Darien Library. Learn more about the program at s.uconn.edu/gardener.