Ongoing Community Projects


Community Projects

“Back Forty” Research Garden

This is a new project that the 2016 Intern Class will oversee and cultivate various plant types under carefully controlled conditions. Raised garden beds will be paired with otherwise identical beds with one controlled variable, such as fertilizer. The results will be monitored and recorded, and a research paper will be written. This project is in cooperation with Jobe’s Company, which is furnishing the land and materials for the project.

Coordinators: James Herman, Mickey Page, Louie McDaniel

Bell’s Hill Elementary School JMG Club

Bell's Hill This is a new program started as an after school program for 4th and 5th grade students. Master Gardener Intern and teacher, Debby DeGraff, is using the Learn, Grow, Eat, Go lessons from the Junior Master Gardener Program. The students are propagating seeds and stem cutting in the greenhouse, preparing the outdoor garden for vegetables, and will receive their JMG Certificates after completion of the Journal/Workbook.

Debby DeGraff – Project Coordinator


Carleen Bright Arboretum Docent Program

The Docent program at the Carleen Bright Arboretum is a great opportunity to host group tours and share knowledge about the Arboretum. Each scheduled group is met by a Master Gardener/Docent, who has completed a docent training program there. Following a presentation about the Carleen Bright Arboretum, the Docent leads a tour of the two Master Gardener demonstration beds. The Superstar Bed showcases plants that have earned the Texas Superstar label after extensive testing by horticulturists at Texas A&M University. The Trailside Gardens feature a series of mini-gardens, each spotlighting native and adaptive plants.

Jeanette Kelly, Janet Schaffer – Project Coordinators

Cedar Ridge Elementary Green Classroom

Cedar RidgeThe Cedar Ridge Green Classroom was designed and constructed under the leadership of Sandy Back, MCMG and now retired teacher from Cedar Ridge Elementary School. The garden, started in 2005, is maintained by MCMG volunteers. A Day in the Garden is enjoyed monthly by the children, staff, and volunteers. Each Day in the Garden is structured with 3 learning stations that incorporate hands-on learning in the garden. The over 600 children have a chance to participate several times each year. After the seeds are planted in the fall and spring, the children help to harvest the plants, which are shared with the faculty, students, resident goats and school bunny.

Nelda Cooper & Sandy Katz, Project Coordinators

Extension Office Shade Garden

shade-garden-project-picEach of the other Master Gardener demonstration gardens focuses on full-sun plantings, but at last a shade garden has been established at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, where the Master Gardener office is also located. The entrance to the building, at the corner of 6th and Jefferson in Waco, is enhanced by a dramatic, mature live oak tree, which has created deep shade and bare soil beneath it. In order to beautify the entrance and help homeowners make wise choices for shade plantings, a lovely, low-maintenance shade garden has been developed by the 2012 Master Gardener Intern Class. With assistance from certified Master Gardeners, interns designed and installed shade-loving plants with a variety of colors and textures for all-season enjoyment.

Cathy Cole, Claudia McLatcher – Project Coordinators

Gardening on the Brazos

“Gardening on the Brazos” is a gardening club established by a small group of 7-10 residents at Brookdale Retirement Center in Waco. The club meets weekly on Tuesday from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. to discuss their gardening plans. Currently, they have 4 raised beds, with a variety of vegetables and flowers. There are plans to have an additional raised bed built. The McLennan County Master Gardeners provide information and encouragement, as well as assist with some of the physical aspects of planting.

Chairperson: Pat Marlin

Habitat for Humanity

MCMG volunteers work with Habitat for Humanity to select plants, design and prepare beds, and plant shrubs and annuals appropriate for the new homes they have completed. The new home owner receives plant care instructions along with a gift from MCMG consisting of a fifty (50′) foot water hose, sprinkler, and either a garden hoe or rake. These gifts are presented to the homeowner at the dedication of their new home.

Melba Waldrop & Carolyn Hughes, Project Coordinators


Lunch With the Masters

Again in 2017, McLennan County Master Gardener Association is proud to continue our popular Lunch With the Masters program in partnership with Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway. Each two hour program starts at noon the third Wednesday of each month. Bring a bag lunch. Complimentary bottles of drinking water and light snacks are provided to guests. Each month one of our certified Texas Master Gardeners or a highly qualified invited guest will present a program designed to be of interest to those who enjoy gardening-related topics. These programs are free of charge to the public. With the exception of the May 17 event, which will be held at the Arboretum’s Whitehall Center, they are held at the Pavilion, the large building on the north side of the Arboretum. Ample free parking is available. Click to see the current schedule.

Janet Schaffer, Project Coordinator


Mayborn Museum Complex Heritage Garden Project

The MCMGA will be involved in disseminating information about the gardens and plants the Mayborn Museum has in their Heritage Village. MCMG volunteers will be giving short talks, doing interpretive games and answering general gardening questions. the first Sunday of each month (free Sundays) from 1-5:00 pm.

Louie McDaniel, Mireille Quintero, Diane Walters – Project Coordinators

McGregor Demonstration Garden

As you enter the town of McGregor, Texas, there is an existing welcome sign and rather large corner lot. Jene Hering, a Master Gardener and long time resident of the city, has long had a vision that this corner could not only be an attractive asset to the city, but a place to showcase Texas hardy plants for the area. The garden now symbolizes the very spirit of our state and demonstrates species of plants that work well for most people in their landscape. The bed shape of a star catches the eye of people passing by the busy intersection.

McGregorDemoGarden_02As in most stars, the bed has 5 legs and a large center area. Lower growing plants are placed at the tip of each leg with native grasses in the middle and working into quality varieties of roses in the center. It was important to keep the top leg with low growing plants so as to not block the view of the McGregor sign. A mixture of perennials was used so they will not need to be planted each year. The outside perimeter of the star is composed of pea gravel, which will provide an area where the public can walk right up to the garden to view the plants.

Jene Hering, Project Coordinator

Speakers Bureau

The McLennan County Master Gardeners has a group of members who are capable and willing to present programs on gardening and related horticulture topics when requested by garden clubs, civic and other organizations. PowerPoint presentations, lectures and workshops on horticulture subjects are frequently requested of the members.

Download this PDF with subjects our speakers can cover.

Nelda Cooper, Project Coordinator. 254-822-1629

Texas Superstar Garden at the Carleen Bright Arboretum

superstarTexas Superstars are tough, reliable, and showy plants, which have undergone years of extensive testing by Texas A&M University’s Agriculture Program. So that local homeowners can see how these strong and stunning plants will grow in the Waco area, McLennan County Master Gardeners designed, developed, and maintain a Texas Superstar demonstration garden at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway. Developed in 2005, the garden continues to evolve, inviting visitors to stroll through, linger, and gather ideas for their own gardens.

Jeanette Kelly, Project Coordinator

Texas Water Star Project

These Demonstration gardens are located on the campus of T.S.T.C. at 3801 Campus Drive. They are a result of a partnership between Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – McLennan County, McLennan County Master Gardeners, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialist and TSTC.

The objective of these gardens is to demonstrate different landscape design styles with their respective plant material palette and landscape water use, and potential water savings from deficit irrigation.

Louie McDaniel & Dr. Shane McLellan, Coordinators

Tennyson Middle School

Tennyson Middle School offers a gardening class to sixth grade Atlas students (Advanced Placement). The course has 3 tiers: basic gardening provided through the Learn, Grow, and Go Curriculum; advanced gardening skills and cooking the produce that is harvested; and a collaborative science/business program for marketing and selling the produce (entrepreneurship). The students meet daily for an hour from noon to one p.m. McLennan County Master Gardeners provide assistance in the classroom to the science teacher who is teaching the Learn, Grow, Eat and Go Curriculum.

Chairperson: Sherry Prather

Trailside Gardens

The newest and largest garden addition to the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway is Trailside Gardens, developed by McLennan County Master Gardeners. MCMG member Anita Dawson and her husband, Jerry, made a significant financial contribution in memory of their fathers, James C. Webster and Aubrey T. Dawson, allowing development of the gardens to begin. To honor these gentlemen and the plants they loved, plantings include EarthKind roses and other water-wise and native plants.trailside-garden

Landscape architect Bernard Ott, who designed the original Arboretum Master Plan, came up with a schematic outline for the Trailside Gardens. MCMG members Jean Cunningham and Rachelle Kemp designed a planting plan. Other contributions have come from the MCMG budget and private donations. Featuring a native-stone fountain, shade, and fragrance, Trailside Gardens show Arboretum visitors how beautiful an easy-care, environmentally-friendly landscape can be.

Jeanette Kelly, Project Coordinator

Urban Gardening Coalition

Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition was organized to encourage cooperation between different groups in the area, including Master Gardeners, interested in gardening and to encourage sustainable community development through gardening. UGC supports gardening projects at schools, churches and homes and is closely involved with the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. The coalition works to strengthen the local food system, improve access to healthy food, and encourage people to grow their own.

Rianna Magee & Mary Lou Trice, Project Liaisons

Waco Downtown Farmers Market

farmers-market-project-picThe Waco Downtown Farmers Market opened in Nov. 2011. The McLennan County Master Gardeners were invited to participate and had their first Education Tent in January 2012. The Master Gardeners now host a tent each second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. There is a variety of horticulture handouts, free “seed of the month” handout, educational demonstrations, occasional children’s activity, and Ask A Master Gardener to answer your gardening concerns. Click to view the 2017 schedule.

Penny Gifford & Rianna Magee, Project Coordinators

Woodway Elementary Outdoor Classroom

woodway-elementary-project-picWhat began as a small commitment to beautify the school’s front entrance grew into a multifaceted project. Parents, Master Gardeners, and community members together created several outdoor classrooms. The focus now is in the Vegetable Classroom. The very enthusiastic children are in the garden monthly planting seeds, harvesting and eating their vegetables, composting, and learning all aspects of gardening. All grades at the school participate, and planting follows a theme, such as a Salad Garden or a Three Sisters Garden (corn, beans, and squash).

Myrt Fauver, Edith Norman, Mickey Page, Ann Sefcik – Project Coordinators


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