Meet The Master Gardener: Kim Magyar
By Kim Magyer and Marci Moore, Coweta County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers
It’s in her heredity! That’s the best way to describe her story leading to this month’s featured Master Gardener – Kim Magyer.
My parents were raised on working farms in Minnesota, so I have been around plants and crops for most of my life. One of my earliest memories is picking weeds in my grandparents’ gardens. I was raised in smaller towns in Virginia and Wisconsin, and although my parents always had a large summer garden, I do not remember helping them very much.
My sister and I spent the summers with our grandparents and were able to “help” bale hay (I do not know how much help we actually were), corral pigs that had broken the fence and gather eggs. We hunted Minnesota’s official state gemstone, the Lake Superior Agate, in the rock quarry of our grandfather’s “Back 40”.
When I moved to Georgia in 1990, I was amazed at the length of the summer season, and at the shortness of winter. I also noticed the soil was not black and fertile, and the texture was not what I was accustomed to. However, I was able to again appreciate the plants I learned about as a child in Virginia – the flowering dogwood (the state tree of Virginia), naturalized daffodils at Easter and hollies lush with beautiful red berries.
As newlyweds in Coweta County, my husband Scott and I learned just how much we did not know about gardening in the South. We planted a garden and some years we would have bumper crops of watermelons, cantaloupes, and tomatoes; some years were a bust. The year of the “melon overload”, we loaded up a truck with melons and deposited them along his cousins’ closed garage door while they were at work. Cousin Reege had to move them all after work in order to enter his garage—and he had plenty to share with his Alpharetta neighbors.
In 2016, I completed the Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) program and have been involved in the spring and fall plant sales and various committees, but my favorite activity is helping check-in exhibits for the county fair. It is so rewarding to see the talent and craftsmanship of our local citizens—it really is astounding to see all the exhibit entries and hear some of the stories behind them.
The MGEV program also opened my eyes to the largest issue with our soil – it needs amending not just fertilizing. As we have amended, we have had a bumper crop of carrots and are enjoying both warm and cool season crops.
I enjoy any old-fashioned plants that my mother and grandmothers grew –peonies, cosmos, hollyhocks, sweet William and bachelor buttons. My current favorite non-food plants are any plant that has been passed along to me! I love looking at my salvias, euonymus, flying dragon, flowering almond and climbing fig vine, just to name a few. The pass-along plants remind me of my kind and generous Coweta County Master Gardener family.