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Become a Master Gardener to Boost Business and Knowledge

Turning a hobby into a job often means you are passionate about going to work every day. For Johnsons Home & Garden nursery associate Joan Easton, her hobby led her to find a part-time job opportunity.

“I’m an avid gardener personally, and I was looking for a seasonal job,” Easton says. “Johnsons Home & Garden was struggling to find seasonal help in the nursery, so I thought it would be a good fit.”

Easton has worked at Johnsons for four years, and she comes with an additional level of expertise: She is a certified master gardener.

“I’ve been a master gardener for 10 years,” she says. “I use my knowledge frequently in my role here.”

Easton trained for her master gardener certification through the program at Washington State University (WSU). In order to retain her certification, Easton needs to commit to a certain number of continuing education programs and clinics each year. When she’s not on the salesfloor at Johnsons, she also volunteers her time teaching gardening best practices at the WSU demonstration garden.

Here’s an overview of the components of the WSU master gardener program, which started over 45 years ago and is administered by county in Washington.

Upon complete of the WSU Master Gardener program, “volunteers teach local community members to:

  • Manage their landscapes in a science-based, sustainable manner using integrated pest management (IPM) methods.
  • Address environmental and social issues such as proper recycling, water conservation and water quality protection.
  • Work to reduce the negative impact of invasive species.
  • Increase public awareness of healthy living through gardening and the proper application of IPM techniques.”

According to the American Horticultural Society, there are master gardener certification programs in all 50 states and throughout Canada, so the program that best suits the lawn and garden staff at your operation is probably close by.

For Easton, not only does she use the knowledge she gained through earning the certification, but she is able to impart that knowledge to Johnsons’ customers who rely on the business as a source of expert knowledge.

“I don’t always have the answers, but the difference is that I know how to find the answers.”

About Melanie Moul

Melanie Moul
Melanie is the features editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, has a degree in professional writing. She worked in central Pennsylvania for several years after college as a barista and an editor and returned to the Hoosier State in late 2016 to join the NRHA team. In her spare time, she enjoys testing new recipes and watching online makeup tutorials. She and her husband are raising their son and two fur children in Indianapolis.

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