Meet the Master Gardener: C.R. Phillips

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By Marci Moore, Coweta County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer

As a mechanical engineer, C.R. Phillips was on the road quite a bit during his career and was always looking at plants and weeds in ditches along roadways. He decided that he wanted to learn how to identify every one of them!  While attending Backyard Association meetings hosted by the Coweta MGEVs, he met several volunteers who encouraged him to take the MGEV course.

The MGEV program seemed like a great fit for C.R. since he is a strong believer in giving back to his community. He has been a long-time, active member of the Newnan Kiwanis Club for more than 21 years and currently serves as Lieutenant Governor. So, after speaking to Ruth, his lovely wife and soulmate of 47 years, she agreed that he should pursue this interest. When C.R. retired, he did just that and has never looked back.

C.R. jumped in with both feet after graduating from the MGEV course. He participates in the MGEV help desk, “Ask the Master Gardener” booths, Backyard Association meetings, pruning workshops, plant sales and more. He also participated as a citizen scientist in the 2020 University of Georgia Pollinator Census (ggapc.org) to help researchers and educators learn more about our state’s butterflies and bees. C.R. also teaches workshops on proper pruning techniques where he entertains attendees with his great sense of humor and unique teaching style.

When COVID-19 turned our whole world upside down this year, it brought a screeching halt to face-to-face programming for master gardeners. Like many others in our community, C.R. found himself spending much more time around the house, so he turned his attention to his own lawn and garden and put his MGEV skills to work.

Each year C.R. and Ruth try to add something new to their landscape. This year they focused on adding raised beds and tackled the huge job of managing stormwater. Stormwater management has always been a challenge in their landscape, but this year’s abundance of heavy rainfall magnified the problem. Not to be deterred, C.R. and Ruth rebuilt a swale to slow down a “river” of water and added stone beds to force water away from flower beds and prevent mulch from washing away. Always one to look on the bright side, C.R. used his extra time this summer to accomplish quite a bit in his own yard and championed over the mammoth flooding issue.

Please introduce yourself to C.R. Philips at the next Backyard Association meeting.  Hopefully COVID-19 will slow down, and once again we will be able to safely meet in person to learn new ways to have fun in the garden and play in the dirt. Until then, keep an eye out for upcoming virtual Coweta County Extension programs.

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