Although garden and landscape work is winding down in mid-October [although it's hard to keep that in mind when the temperature hits 76 degrees, as it did today], the Master Gardeners and RINLA professionals are still busy.
URI Master Gardeners are looking forward to their annual meeting in November, and they are still answering the URI Master Gardener Hotline for a few more weeks. Call them if you are having garden problems Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at 1-800-448-1011 (this only works in Rhode Island). They are also working on the Poinsettia Sale on Saturday, December 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at URI East Farm on Route 108, one mile south of the intersection of Route 138.
But most of all, I'd like to recommend you take the Master Gardener course yourself. Registration is open for this February-April, 16-week course that trains people to be volunteers who help Rhode Islanders learn about sustainable gardening practices. Find out more about the program on the MG About Us page, and consider taking the course ~ if not this year, then in a year or two. It took me a few years to work this into my schedule, but I succeeded this year and have completed more than the required 50 hours of volunteer work to earn the official recognition of Master Gardener. Another Rhode Island blogger, Caroline Brown, was in the class of 2006 and wrote about her experiences on Earth Friendly Gardening. Hope you join us one day!
Professional Gardeners include members of Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA) , a trade organization that takes the industry far beyond the mow, blow, and go guys to provide "education, research support, legislative representation, certification, and promotion of the value of green industry goods and services to the public."
If you hire people to tend your lawn, gardens, or landscape, be sure to read the RINLA links page. They explain how to choose a garden center, horticulturist, landscape contractor or designer, lawn service, stone mason, or arborist. RINLA runs a horticulturist certification program. If you are going to pay good money for your landscape, you owe it to yourself to know what professional landscape expertise would look like.