Master Gardeners do extreme makeover at former Girl Scout camp in Ridgeway

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 18 June 2017 at 1:19 pm

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Mike Snyder (standing second from left) and Gloria Brent (standing third from right), pose with Master Gardener volunteers who helped with an extreme makeover for their garden on Saturday.

RIDGEWAY – Master Gardener with the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County spent Saturday morning installing a garden at the Ridgeway home of Gloria Brent and Mike Snyder, the winners of the 2016 Master Gardener Garden Makeover drawing.

Gloria and Mike own the former Oak Orchard Girl Scout camp and are working to create a park-like landscape on a portion of the property near where they someday will build a new home. They chose to have the garden installed in that area of their yard, just outside a wooded area.

The couple won the makeover/installation last September in a drawing held during the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

“She jumped up and down with the phone in her hands,”  Mike says of his wife’s reaction to winning. “She really wants to get into gardening.”

The garden area is shown before planting. Topsoil was brought in and Master Gardener volunteers added composted manure and peat moss to the site.

Brent and Snyder obtained their tickets at the Master Gardener booth during the 2016 Orleans County 4-H Fair.

“I walked up to the booth looking for knowledge about gardening, which I am going to start as a hobby,” Gloria said.

A Master Gardener explained about the Makeover drawing –  in which the winner receives design advice, plant material from Sara’s Garden Center in Brockport, and installation by Master Gardeners of a new garden (or garden renovation) on their property.  The entire makeover is valued at over $1,000.

Gloria asked if it was possible for her to simply pay for help, but was told Master Gardeners cannot do that.

So she obtained five tickets in order to, “have the best chance of winning,” she said.

Both Gloria and Mike say they are thrilled with the results and will use the new garden as inspiration for additional plantings.

Tickets for the 2017 Master Gardener Makeover are currently available from Master Gardeners for a donation of $10. Tickets will also be available at the Master Gardener booth at this year’s Orleans County 4-H Fair, July 24-29.  This year’s drawing will be held Saturday, September 9, during the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale on the 4-H Fairgrounds.

Landscape fabric is placed over the topsoil.

Mike Snyder uses heavy equipment to move a large cauldron to the garden site for placement.

Master Gardener volunteers Alex Greene and Don O’Keefe help place a large rock moved from the property to become part of the garden design.

Gloria and Mike decided to tilt the cauldron for a better view of the plants which would be placed inside. The antique is a family heirloom of Mike’s. It originated on his grandfather’s farm in Albion and was used by the family for watering cows in the pasture. Gloria and Mike wanted it to be a part of the garden in memory of Mike’s mom.

The cauldron is planted with annual flowers. Mike and Gloria will be able to change the contents each year, if they choose to do so.

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