It's been awhile since Vernon Arnold made a Christmas craft.
"I haven't done anything like this since 1968. I made a wreath in Boy Scouts. My mother hung it on the door. She never said if she liked it. She just put it on the door," laughed Arnold.
He was one of about 20 senior citizens who participated in a class which was a partnership between the Elkton Senior Center and Cecil's Extension Master Gardeners program. To meet volunteer requirements, the gardeners were teaching the seniors how to make a Christmas floral arrangement. Using a base, floral foam, scissors, pine cones, pipe cleaners, fresh flowers and greens, the gardeners led a step by step process. Extension funded the project.
"We did it in the spring with 25 people. We (Master Gardeners) offer outreach to different groups," said Doris Behnke, who oversees the Master Gardeners.
Vicki Diamonte is a Master Gardener and a retired high school teacher. "Seniors are a little more eager to learn than high school students," said Diamonte.
"I just like helping seniors. I'd much rather work with seniors than kids," said Master Gardener Shirley Shaw.
The University of Maryland Extension - Cecil County is offering a Master Gardener Training program which begins in January and wraps up in April. The goal of the Master Gardener training is to train those qualified to become certified garden masters to serve as a volunteer horticulture educator.
As of last week, about half the number of people needed have signed up for the class. If more people don't sign up by December 23, the class will be cancelled.
The mission of the program is to educate residents about safe, effective, and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities. The cost of the Cecil County Master Gardener program is $250. Classes will run January through April. The training will cover topics such as composting, pruning, vegetables, soils, botany, and much more. The classes will be held at the Cecil County Administration Building, Chesapeake Boulevard, Elkton.
For more information about becoming a Master Gardener call 410-996-5280.