Board Member Interview with Jayne Heaton

Jayne became a certified Master Gardener in July 2016. At the AGM in April 2021 she was elected to the MMGA board as treasurer.

Newsletter (NL) – How long have you been gardening?

Jayne Heaton (JH) – I have been an avid gardener for my entire life – ever since I could dig holes in the ground and plant seeds. Gardening is in my blood. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a gifted gardener and gardened for many of the great estates around Sheffield in Yorkshire, England up until his passing in 2012 at the age of 100. It was at his knee that I developed a respect for the earth and a passion for growing things.

NL – What kind of a garden/s do you have?

JH – My garden at my previous home was all about sustainable gardening and growing for our zone so I had several large garden beds containing native prairie plants. Currently, my garden is a large bed out front of our new home that contains a variety of bee and butterfly plants but I intend to work on it in the spring and introduce some succulents and grasses. I also enjoy gardening in containers and have had grasses (the cat loves these), succulents, and coleus. In my backyard I have several raised metal garden containers in which I grew vegetables and herbs.

NL – What are the things that give you most pleasure in your garden?

JH – I am utterly delighted when the garden is visited by bees and butterflies. I had an abundance of Black Swallowtail Caterpillars on my dill and parsley this year (none for us!) and I had a blast watching them grow fat. We had well over 25 throughout the season and my husband made it his mission to try and find every single chrysalis! I have several photos from the different stages of their development right through to their first flights. Very exciting! In the garden, it’s the butterflies and bees that give me the most pleasure but it’s also the pride of having a successful growing year in the veggie planters.

NL – Why and when did you decide to become a Master Gardener?

JH – In August 2015 I had had a very bad year in my garden – it was like someone had taken a bag of weed mix and had broadcast seed everywhere. Nothing I did helped and everything looked a fright. I decided to research on the internet to figure things out and came across the Manitoba Master Gardener Association website; I found the Ask an MG portal and below that, the Become an MG portal. I had never heard of the MG’s before so I researched and decided to take the course at Assiniboine Community College. At the same time, I also joined several other gardening groups, including Riel House, and volunteered at several events. I was able to pass my exam and complete my internship hours within a ten-month period. I became a Certified Master Gardener in July 2016.

NL – What do you see as the strengths of the MMGA?

JH – One of our biggest strengths is the broad range of gardening knowledge and expertise our Members bring to the Association, along with their willingness to share that with the community and beyond.

NL – What motivates you to serve on the MMGA board?

JH – I believe in the Mission, Vision, and Values of the MMGA. I like that our association is constantly looking for ways to effectively serve our membership and present opportunities for growth and development.

NL – Do you have a particular gardening interest/ talent/ skill/ strength that you would like to develop?

JH – I continue to develop in all ways. Sometimes I hear of a particular subject – for example, Permaculture, and want to learn as much as possible about it. I enjoy learning about new or interesting methods (Square-foot Gardening), or even tried and true methods that are making a comeback (Companion Planting).

NL – Tell us about your favourite volunteer activity/ project with the MMGA

JH – I am very passionate about my volunteer role with Riel House Heritage Site, Parks Canada. This on-going project is an example of hands-on gardening that gets us (my RH Team-members and fellow MGs) up close and personal with a broad range of native plants that make up a tall grass prairie landscape. The parking lot garden at Riel House features just such a garden, that from one week to the next has something completely different to offer. Under Dawn Hicks’ leadership, our awesome team has participated in very successful project – one that we are all incredibly proud of and look forward to every spring!

“The Great Garden Experiment of 2021”: I grew potatoes in fabric garden bags for the first time and harvested 30 lbs of French fingerlings; so it was a huge success.