Master gardeners get to root of plant questions


September 18, 2002|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CAROL SCHROEDER had a mystery to solve and headed to the Central Library on Saturday to find answers. Armed with samples taken from her yard, Schroeder enlisted the help of master gardeners Virginia Pausch and Peter Van Egmond, who were running a plant clinic at the library, to find solutions to her horticultural questions.

From April through September, Maryland Cooperative Extension -- Howard County Master Gardeners offers plant clinics at four county libraries.

Master gardeners must complete 40 hours of training to be certified and receive 10 hours of advanced training yearly.

Schroeder bought her home in Long Reach last year. Although she had researched the plants in her yard, she was unable to identify a few of them and wanted advice on how to care for them.

After examining the leaves and asking questions about whether the plants produced blossoms, Pausch and Van Egmond identified one plant as belonging to the honeysuckle family, but the other stumped them.

"I'd say we're able to successfully identify plants about 80 percent of the time," said Van Egmond, who lives in Running Brook. "If we don't know the answer to a question, people can call the Home and Garden Information Center sponsored by the university."

Maryland Cooperative Extension is an agency of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland.

Georgia Eacker, master gardener coordinator and extension educator, said 125 master gardeners live in Howard County.

The gardeners' efforts include compost demonstration sites, the BayWise landscape management program, a conservation program for fifth-graders called Schools and Streams, and plant clinics.

"They are an incredibly diverse, knowledgeable and skilled group," Eacker said.

The master gardeners program is accepting applications for its next training session, which will begin Jan. 30 at the extension office in Ellicott City. For an application, call 410-313- 2707.

For answers to gardening and pest questions, call the Home and Garden Information Center at 800-342-2507.

Softball in Japan

Diane Schumacher, athletic director at Howard Community College, recently returned from a trip to Japan, where she served as an assistant softball coach for the ASA/USA National Softball Team, which won the 2002 Japan Cup.

Schumacher, who lives in Ellicott City, said the trip was a great experience.

"It allowed me to see where we are in the sport," she said. "There's a wonderful blend of speed and power now in the game and a wonderful blend of older players and younger players."

Schumacher has been inducted into five halls of fame, including the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame, and is former head coach for basketball and softball teams at Princeton University.

In 1999, she arrived at HCC to lead the athletic department.

Last year, she was surprised to learn that she had been inducted into her high school's Hall of Fame.

"It was amazing because I didn't play high school sports," Schumacher said. "All they had back then was gymnastics. At 6-foot-2, they didn't have a leotard to fit me."

Instead, Schumacher decided to start a softball program at her school, Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass.

This evening, Schumacher will speak at the Maryland Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Sportsmanship Dinner at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

"It's an opportunity for coaches and athletes to listen to speeches on sportsmanship and character," she said.

Roast for CA president

Columbia Association President Maggie Brown will be the guest of honor at a roast, sponsored by Family and Children's Services, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 5.

Roasters will include Howard County Executive James N. Robey, Del. Elizabeth Bobo and Howard County General Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Victor A. Broccolino.

Family and Children's Services is a nonprofit organization that provides mental health services and support for first-time parents. The organization also offers in-home services for the elderly and disabled.

Tickets for the roast are $100.

Information: 410-997-3557.

Pancake breakfast

The Atholton High School Boosters will hold a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 5 to kick off homecoming events.

The group will serve pancakes, sausage, fruit, doughnuts, bagels and beverages. Tom Beaver will sell his famous french toast for $1 a slice.

Advance tickets for the breakfast are $5 per person and $16 for families. Prices at the door will be $6 per person and $17 for families.

Information: 301-490-0221.

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