On a blustery Saturday morning in March, Ron Fandetti led a training class lab for Extension Master Gardeners of Nelson County at the Quarry Gardens. The topic was woody plants and how to prune them.

The featured photo shows the group examining the branching structure of a Shrubby St. John’s wort, which can be pruned now as it blooms on the season’s new growth. Arrowwood viburnum, Silky dogwood, and Paw paw were among other specimens they found to study around the QGs parking islands.

At the end of the three-month course, these students will be interns, candidates for certification as Master Gardener volunteers—ready to share their knowledge in their communities.

The Quarry Gardens’ great variety of ecosystems and native plant communities make the site ideal for field trips and training labs, and we’ve hosted many Master Gardener and Master Naturalists units.

Ron, a former president of the Nelson unit, regularly volunteers at the QGs, which is an approved project of both the Nelson and Albemarle County Master Gardeners, as well as the Rivanana and Central Blue Ridge units of Master Naturalists. These volunteers earn hours of credit with their extension units as well as toward QGs membership.

QG volunteers meet one morning each week to work with our consulting horticulturalist from the Center for Urban Habitats. There’s plenty to do and much to learn. Those interested in joining the party should contact Bernice at bernice.thieblot@gmail.com

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