Meet the Master Gardeners: Retired couple serves as Team

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By Marci Moore, Coweta University of Georgia (UGA) Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV)

Looking for something to do together as a couple after retiring? Become Master Gardener Extension Volunteers! Together you can continue learning, serve the community and have fun.

Meet one of our UGA MGEV couples, Ed and Melanie Atkinson.

Melanie grew up in College Park, Georgia and Ed in Vandalia, Missouri. Ed and Melanie met at Fort McPherson where he worked as a draftsman in facilities engineering. Following college graduation in 1975, they tied the knot and made their home in Hutcheson, Kansas where Ed worked as an architect for Dillon Stores. Melanie stayed at home with their daughter, Tara, and son, Shawn until both were in school, and then Melanie returned to work.

In 2002, Tara was hired for a teaching position in Newnan and so began Melanie and Ed’s journey back to Georgia. When Ed retired from Dillon Stores in 2004, they purchased a home in Newnan and Ed began working in Buckhead. In 2006, Shawn graduated from Kansas University and followed his family to Georgia. He and Tara still teach math together in the same classroom in Newnan.

After retirement, Ed and Melanie completed the University of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer training in 2018. It seemed like a perfect fit for two. Ed’s love for growing plants began at a young age when he helped in his family’s garden and participated in 4-H. Melanie learned to love plants while helping her grandmother care for African violets, orchids and dahlias.

This active couple loves spending time together working on projects they both enjoy. They volunteer for the Master Gardeners’ Spring and Fall Plant Sales and the McGuffey Nature Center and Trails project. They also make time for growing flowers, fruits and vegetables at home; and often incorporate new and unusual plants into their landscape.

Ed grows plants from seed in their basement each year to get ready for spring. He also propagates cuttings and has added many native plants to their landscape and to the McGuffey Nature Trail at the Coweta County Fairgrounds. In fact, they recently joined the Georgia Native Plant Society to learn more about using native plants in their landscape.

In addition to their love of gardening, Ed and Melanie share a love for music. They are members of the Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music and enjoy attending small venues and listening rooms to hear talented musicians. They also open their home to musicians and friends who share their love of music.

The generosity and warmth of this couple are amazing! We are so grateful to have Ed and Melanie as part of the Coweta Master Gardener Extension Volunteers’ family.

For more information on how to become a MGEV or attend a free homeowner program, contact UGA Extension Coweta County at 770-254-2620 or [email protected]a.edu. You can also stay in touch by visiting the MGEV Facebook page at facebook.com/CowetaCountyMasterGardenerExtensionVolunteers/ or the Coweta Extension website at ugaextension.org/coweta. We welcome you to enjoy these wonderful opportunities.

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