Mentor Gardeners for 2024

2023 ended with 22 community mentors offering ongoing gardening wisdom to over 50 mentees. Over the year many emails were received, expressing appreciation for all the help. A few mentors have stepped down this year due to changes in their circumstances – thank you so much, May, Jillian and Moss, for your years of help. Both your mentees and I will miss you in the program.

We have had one new mentor join us and hope others might step forward on reading this. After these years, with new members joining the Garden Club as well as Covid interrupting everything for a time, summarizing and explaining how the mentor-mentee program started is probably worthwhile.

Some years ago, at the request of Transition Salt Spring, I was asked (as the current coordinator of Master Gardeners on SSI at that time) to set up a program whereby experienced growers could be connected with beginning growers from Linda Gilkeson’s garden courses. Starting with notices in various places, the program matched experienced gardeners willing to share their knowledge with others who were just beginning to grow or who were short of practical experience with seeds, plants and soil. From the feedback each year, almost without exception, it seems that the Mentor Gardener (MG) program has proven to be very helpful in the community.

As coordinator, I try to match mentors and mentees by location so that garden visits are easy and both are in the same island ecosystem. Some mentors have special knowledge (e.g. permaculture, native plant landscaping, growing for pollinators) and an attempt is made to connect them to mentees interested in this specific area. After the connection is made I act only as a back-up for questions.

As you read this please consider joining us as either a mentor or a mentee. We also need more help on the MG table at Garden Club meetings, so if you have a general horticulture background or have been or are a Master Gardener and this appeals to you, please contact me. So many people in the Garden Club have so much experience to offer those with less. If you are interested, I look forward to hearing from you.

Marian Hargrove

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