Congratulations are in order for several master gardeners at Sherman Hospital Community Garden.
Monica David and her award selection committee have bestowed a State Outstanding Master Gardener award to Nancy Cox and a State Teamwork Award to the Sherman Hospital Community Garden team.
“Nancy has been an MG in our program for 20 years,” said Sarah Fellerer, horticulture program coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension. “Nancy is a fixture in at our Help Desk and takes the initiative to stop by weekly during the winter to answer any calls that come in. Nancy’s idea of fun is helping fellow gardeners find the answer to their gardening questions.
“The North Gateway project is Nancy’s baby. She has worked with the city and a team of fellow MGs to make the garden a shining jewel in downtown St. Charles. I have a lot more nice things to say about Nancy just ask me next time you see me. Congratulations, Nancy!”
The Sherman Hospital Community Garden team has been doing some awesome things, Fellerer said.
“Under Patsy Hirsch’s strong leadership they’ve created events, newsletters, presentations and demonstration gardens. One thing they did in 2013 was to have a ‘Garden of the Week’ award. Each week a different garden was chosen for its outstanding attributes. The winning garden got to sport a lady bug garden ornament and got a mention in the newsletter.
“They also used colored flags to communicate with gardeners. If a green flag showed up in your garden you knew you were doing a something right. Yellow meant caution, red indicated that help is needed. Gardeners find this very helpful to learn about what to watch out for in their own garden.”
The award was presented to Sherman’s master gardener team by the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Advisory Council on June 13.
“The University of Illinois Master Gardeners who volunteer their time at Sherman’s Natural Prairie & Community Garden were honored for their innovative ideas and approaches to helping individuals learn how to garden and improve their life through healthy food,” says Patsy Hirsch, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener & Sherman Hospital Volunteer Garden Coordinator. “Sherman Hospital provides master gardeners with the opportunity to let their creativity flow.”
Created in 2011, Sherman’s Natural Prairie & Community Garden provides hospital associates and members of the community with the opportunity to grow their own chemical-free vegetables. The community garden has a total of 54 beds. Master Gardeners provide educational classes and materials for gardeners on site and tend to demonstration beds. Once the planting season begins, master gardeners are on site twice a week to answer questions and provide helpful information on how to plant and care for crops and control insects, weeds and plant diseases without the use of chemicals.
Examples of innovative initiatives by master gardeners include the monthly newsletter, “The Sherman Green Thumb,” a collaborative effort with Sherman’s dietitians and physical therapists. Master Gardeners also recognize a different garden bed each week through the “Garden of the Week” Award. In addition to providing a challenge to gardeners, this initiative has helped keep the community garden well-tended.
“Through Sherman’s Natural Prairie & Community Garden, our goal is to help improve the health of our community and reduce incidences of obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” says Tina Link, director of community outreach at Advocate Sherman Hospital. “Not only does gardening provide gardeners with access to healthy foods, but this activity also promotes an active lifestyle.”
For more information on Advocate Sherman Hospital’s Natural Prairie & Community Garden, please contact the BEAN Hotline at 224.783.BEAN (2326).