The Florida Master Gardener Conference is the highlight of the year for many Master Gardener volunteers. We asked a few what they love about the conference.

Patsy Ugarte, Manatee County

Patsy UgarteMG Class of 1995
Attended 13 conferences

My favorite MG conference memory is our midnight Ghost Tour at the Clearwater Biltmore! I also love the years that I received bonsai during the auction. I go to the conference because I enjoy learning and gathering with MGs from throughout the state—people with a love for gardening."

Deb Hamilton, Pasco County

Deb HamiltonMG Class of 2002
Three state conferences

"I go to the Master Gardener conference because I love to hear what other Master Gardener groups are doing, I like to see their entries in the awards competition, and I like to talk to individuals to find what projects they're participating in. It gives me inspiration and ideas to take back to our MG group."

Lesley Fleming, Manatee County

Lesley FlemingMG Class of 2000
Four state conferences

"I go to the Master Gardener conference because it inspires me to excel at my work in the Master Gardener program—tasks such as answering horticulture questions, interacting with special needs students, contributing to a UF/IFAS publication on horticultural therapy, or presenting four times at the conference, including an upcoming 2015 session, 'Jr. Master Gardener Program: Thinking Outside the Box.'"

Don Ingram, Highlands County

Don Bananaman IngramMG Class of 2005
Nine state conferences

"I go to the conference to gather new information and meet new friends."

"Don is fondly known as the Banana Man. He grows 17 varieties of bananas on his Lake Placid property and is a plethora of knowledge on fruit trees, turfgrass, and bamboo varieties." – David Austin, Highlands County MG Agent

Linda Krausnick, Marion County

Linda KrausnickMG Class of 2008
Seven conferences

"My favorite MG conference memory is when 2009 conference speaker Walter Reeves presented 'From the Outhouse to the Brick House: A Few Possums Short of a Load'!"

Susan Matthews, Monroe County

Susan MatthewsMG Class of 2009
Six conferences

"I go to the conference because it enhances my horticultural knowledge of Florida by providing interesting and informative speakers, session topics, and field trips. The conference also provides a place for me to interact with MGs from various locations throughout the state and learn from their experiences. And as a bonus I get to spend three to four days away from my husband (he told me to say that)!"

Doris Mauricio, Alachua County

Doris MauricioMG Class of 1995
Attended 17 conferences

"I go to the conference because Master Gardener volunteers are wonderful people wherever you are. The most important thing has been all the people I've met. How else could I have come in contact with so many teachers and masters of horticulture? Master Gardener volunteers love being surrounded by other Master Gardener volunteers and lovers of nature." (Doris is also a former MG in both Citrus and Marion Counties.)