The local Master Gardeners have been coming together since October 2017 to add more beauty to the Stephenville Historical House Museum and progress can already be seen, which means their hard work is paying off.
“Being a Master Gardener is part of education. We have all kinds of expertise with the people in this group from irrigation to planting gardens and planting flowers,” said Erath Extension Agent Lonnie Jenschke, who also leads the courses. “This also provides volunteer work in assisting the community.”
There are approximately 23 Master Gardeners helping with the museum project, which has a current focus of building an irrigation system.
“We found out that the museum ladies were dragging three quarter-inch hoses trying to water the whole site, plus meeting the public as they came in so we had to figure out how to get water in,” said Master Gardener Mary Sherrard.
The garden stretches in a line from behind the museum school house to the John Tarleton house and the goal is to create an educational space for the community, as well as attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.
“We’re wanting to be a certified butterfly garden, a monarch weigh station, and that will draw people from all over,” Sherrard said.
The Master Gardeners receive many plant and supply donations from all around the area, including Ace Hardware, Green Cow Compost, Swish Irrigation and the community.
“The plants are all donations. When we did the Native and Heirloom Plant Fair, I bought maybe $20 worth of plants and when it was over several vendors came and gave us what they had left over,” said Master Gardener Pam Littleton. “We want anything that’s native, that’s been in grandmother’s garden forever, that’s what we want.”
Sherrard uses the term “passalong plants” saying it’s important to share plants that have been in the area for decades or longer.
“We are big believers in passalong plants because we’re trying to keep it period correct,” Sherrard said. “We hope that will bring the community into it. It needs to be the whole community. We want people to bring their grandchildren here and say, ‘This came from your great-grandmother’s yard,’ so that’s what we want to build on.”
Gardening is hard work, but each of them go at it with a smile on their face.
“I just want to learn and make things around Stephenville look better and serve the community,” said Master Gardener Barbara Jones. “We have really had some wonderful experiences.”
Once the garden is complete, signs will be placed around the area.
“We’re going to put up signs to identify all the plants, so when people come through here it’s an educational experience,” Jenschke said.
The Master Gardeners meet every Thursday morning at the museum. Other areas of work include the Dublin square, a bank in Bluff Dale and the site of the Huckabay Community Center, which recently burned down.
Donations for the groups can be taken to the Erath County AgriLife Extension Office and for more information contact Jenschke at 254-965-1460.