Master Gardeners choose various activities within this community volunteer program. The record holder for attending every plant diagnostic clinic for 12 years straight is held by Homer McNeill.
We are deeply indebted to Homer for his dedication, expertise and enthusiasm in the plant clinic as well as his many other endeavors. He passed away Jan. 5 at age 88, following a brief illness.
Homer’s background — a WSU horticulture degree plus minors in chemistry and botany, a 42-year career in agriculture and 61 years living in the Wenatchee area — made him a perfect Master Gardener. And equally important, he was a likeable and helpful guy. Our Master Gardener program is deeply indebted to Homer, who joined the program in 1999.
He helped build our plant diagnostic clinic into the excellent, free community resource it is today. In plant clinics, WSU Master Gardeners help homeowners with questions about ailing plants — whether perennials, annuals, vegetables, trees or shrubs. Volunteers are in the office at 400 Washington St. in Wenatchee from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays year around and expand to Monday and Wednesday afternoons April through October. Beginning in June, volunteers are also at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market Saturday mornings and both Chelan and Leavenworth markets Thursday afternoons.
Do you have a plant with browning leaves or a tree not doing so well? Did your tomatoes have trouble last summer? Does your lawn have problems? Are leaf holes showing up on a shrub?
If you responded yes to any of these questions, give Master Gardeners a try. But first, help us serve you better by gathering information such as:
• What is the variety of the plant?
• How old is it?
• What do you use for fertilizer?
• When was the last time you used a pesticide or herbicide? What was it?
• If you use a pre-emergent weed killer, what type?
• How do you water and how often?
• Bring in a sample of the ailing plant. If some leaves are bad and others normal, bring in samples of both.
• Email or bring photos with you. Take photos from afar and up close.
Diagnosticians have access to a vast resource library to help you with your plant problems. If volunteers do not have an answer, we can forward your question to WSU Extension specialists who will have an answer.
To get in touch with a WSU Master Gardener, visit the Extension office at 400 Washington St. in Wenatchee, call us at 667-6540 or email chelanmastergar firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will certainly miss Homer when the clinic gets busy this April. He has been a constant that the clinic has counted on since 1999.
Luckily for us, as well as the community, he shared his vast knowledge, expertise and smile every week. We all continue to benefit from Homer’s commitment as his legacy lives on.
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in the At Home section. Mary Fran McClure is one of three columnists featured.