Lehman, Smith win global gardening awards

International award winners recently received plaques at the Knox County Master Gardeners July meeting.

For the first time in its history, KCMG received a first-place award from the International Master Gardener Conference.

The KCMG project, “Prune Like a Pro video series,” placed first in the Workshops/Presentations category for the International 2023 Search for Excellence awards.

The project, which airs on YouTube, is filmed, edited and produced by master gardener Marsha Lehman of Farragut. At last year’s Tennessee Extension Master Gardener state conference, the project also received a state SFE first-place award.

The series has more than 40 original videos and handouts available for the public and had more than 27,000 views during 2021-22, stated a KCMG press release.

Additionally, the KCMG project “Gardening Tips Live!” tied for third place in the Community Service category for the International 2023 SFE awards. The program, which airs on Facebook, is hosted by KCMG volunteers

Amy Haun, Tobi Johnson, Brian Townsend, Rosanne Smith of Farragut and Margeaux Emery.

It answers live questions and provides weekly gardening information for more than 18,000 gardeners participating in the Knoxville Area Gardening Tips Facebook group. Each show averages 400 views and is available on Facebook. It also received a state first-place SFE award at last year’s state conference.

“KCMG is happy to receive this international recognition of our dedicated master gardeners by their world-wide peers,” said Smith, who also is president of KCMG. “We’re so proud of each of the recipients, who represent more than 200 passionate Knox County master gardeners.”

“I am so excited for our hard-working Knox County Master Gardeners to receive recognition at the international level,” said Rylan Thompson, master gardener coordinator with Tennessee State University Extension. “These volunteers, along with many others, work tirelessly to offer practical and useful research-based horticulture information in the community.

“Their innovations have allowed us to reach an ever-growing audience, and I can’t wait to see what comes next,” he added.

The awards were announced at the International Master Gardener Conference June 18-22 in Overland Park, Kansas, which attracted more than 1,100 master gardeners from throughout the world. The international Search for Excellence Awards are named in honor of David Gibby, founder of the first extension master gardener program.

KCMG, a Tennessee non-profit 501 (c) (3), is a UT Extension program with more than 200 active members who perform volunteer activities.