This class began last Wednesday and was extremely interesting. There was an excellent presentation on the structures and functions of plants by Dr. Jones (a UAB professor of Botany), several mini-presentations by various volunteer-based organizations, a session on annuals and perrenials, and a final session on soil sampling (punctuated by the offer of a free soil sample to all in attendance).
Honeybees and their inter-relationships with flowering plants was a consistent motif of almost every presentation. Most of the people taking the course were interested in, but only vaguely knowledgeable about, bees and beekeeping.
For those interested in the Master Beekeeper's program, you might want to remember that one of the components of completion is acquiring a Master Gardener's certificate.
Second class was held today (on the topic of soil science). There is a significant interest in beekeeping among the class members - one has already attended the Jefferson County Association's last meeting, and two others are actively planning to begin beekeeping next Spring. Heck, I even sold 3 pound jars of honey during the afternoon break! The Shelby County Expo is scheduled for September 17-20 and their representative said that it would be great if the Shelby County Beekeeper's Association would place a demonstration/exhibition booth up for the event. Might be a good opportunity.
This week's class was held in Jemison, at "Petals From the Past", and was on the subjects of plant diseases and the skill of grafting. I learned about a new cocver-crop being introduced in this area: Sunn-hemp. It is not only an excellent nitrogen fixer, but its abundant flowers attract bees. On the topic of bees, I was asked to consult with the folks at Aldridge Gardens about setting up a couple of hives for them in the coming Spring (managing the hives will count toward my volunteer hours necessary for maintaining my Master Gardener certificate). A good day.