Recently, in an attempt to insult me, my neighbors stood at our property line and proceeded to malign the Master Gardener Program. They were cutting out some scraggly honey suckle bushes that were the only thing now that separated our quiet secret garden from their span of asphalt and the contents of their garage. I had planted a variety of shrubs there 15 years ago, but sadly, the former neighbors were unaware of the true border line between us when they helped us choose a site to plant. These new neighbors want a nice landscape but are not gardeners. They don't enjoy the process and they don't learn proper techniques. So, over the years she proceeded to prune out the good shrubs in favor of the fast growing invasive ones. I love gardening. I love the process, and all of the stages of the evolving landscape. I know that it's better to have the honey suckles removed because the berries just became seedlings sprouting up everywhere but It's painful to have such a clear view of their gardening blunders.
The neighbor's comment was, "Anyone can take a class and become a Master Gardener," which implies that it is just a meaningless certificate that a person owns out of some sort of sense of superiority. On one hand the statement couldn't be further from the truth but on the other hand, yes, anyone is welcome to join this community of people who love gardening, gardens and learning. It would be wonderful if my neighbors would become Master Gardeners. The level one course is about 30 hours long with one exam, whcih counts towards the education hours required each year. In my opinion, the more important learning happens during the service hours out at approved gardens, as new members work shoulder to shoulder with seasoned veterans. Discussion and advice are exchanged as beautiful gardens are maintained or produce is grown for local food pantries. It's a wonderful thing but you really have to love gardening to stick with something like this. It is not landscaping on a whim.
Now that the bushes are gone the neighbors have decided to plant a row of junipers which are about four feet tall. They are near our Hawthornes which means they are subject to contracting Juniper Hawthorne Rust, a disease that is passed back and forth between the two hosts. It causes gelatinous galls on junipers and spotted leavves on the Hawthornes. The disease cannot live without the two hosts, something you might consider if you cared about gardening and not just filling spaces. I really can't wait as long as it will take for the gaps between the bushes to fill in and for them to grow in height. I'm looking into the regulations on fences in our community. It's obviously more than just our differing attitudes towards gardening that keep us from geting along with our neighbors. We couldn't be more different and I don't care to see their SUV's or their 7 bags of garbage each week when I go out to the garden. Neither do I care to hear their negative opinions on what I care so deeply about.