Interview with Board Member Lori Graham
Newsletter (NL): How long have you been gardening?
Lori Graham (LG): On my own since 1980, helping my parents since I was very young.
NL: What kind of a garden/s do you have?
LG: Not anything formal or a particular style, a mix of the following: vegetables, perennials, native plants and annuals. I am always experimenting with new plants. Every year I try a vegetable I have not grown or sometimes grow one I gave up on. In this year of the garden 2022 I am trying onions again, never seem to have much luck with them.
NL: What are the things that give you most pleasure in your garden?
LG: Watching something come into bloom, harvesting vegetables for the table, more so now helping the pollinators out. I love to watch the bees and butterflies hover around the plants. I found out this summer that monarch butterflies sure like the native plant meadow blazing star, Liatris ligulistylis. Seeing that gave me great pleasure that I choose to grow that plant.
NL: Why and when did you decide to become a Master Gardener?
LG: I had already belonged to a garden group when first hearing about the Master Gardener program that was offered through the continuing education department at the Assiniboine Community College. I thought I needed to learn more about plants and their needs. I had planted many plants to watch them fail due to my ignorance, by placing plants not in the best location; that was a great starting point in my learning experience.
NL: You initiated and organized two fundraisers during the pandemic years when the MMGA Garden Tour had to be cancelled and thus ensured that our organization’s ongoing expenses were covered and we did not have to tap into its rainy-day funds. Do you have other ideas for fundraisers?
LG: I have some ideas; most will have to wait for the next garden season. A local greenhouse takes on-line plant orders where the MMGA would get a percentage of the sales, another spring plant sale and maybe a MMGA 2024 calendar where members can submit their garden pictures, along with dates when to start certain seeds or what to plant now each month.
NL: As Membership Director you know most of our members. What does impress you most about our membership?
LG: The Manitoba Master Gardener Association (MMGA) has the nicest members. Combined as a group, the members’ knowledge is excellent and they are always eager to share with others. I can always find someone if I have a garden problem, talking with other members about their experiences is far better than searching any website.
NL: Which volunteer activity do you think no MG should miss out on?
LG: I think the garden tour is a must. It is a great experience, an opportunity to meet like-minded people, share garden information with people new to gardening, and just a pleasant event all around.
NL: Is there anything you would like our members to know that would make your life as Membership Director easier?
LG: We now have a volunteer impact program where members can enter in their annual volunteer hours. Some members think when they reach the required annual hours they can stop inputting hours. We need all members to enter in all their hours. MMGA uses this for statistical purposes; it is also nice to see what our members are giving back to the different communities. Also, a nice wish, for members to meet deadlines when submitting membership dues and annual volunteer hours.
NL: Is there anything in particular that you wish the MMGA as an organization would accomplish in the future?
LG: I would like to see the MMGA offering an annual scholarship to new interns to help out with the costs of their courses. I would also like to see a grant provided by the MMGA for master gardener projects.
NL: What advice would you give to new Interns?
LG: Have fun while learning, step out of your comfort zone and get involved with a garden project. Most of all share what you learn! We all can make a difference.
Published: September 2022