2021 Master Gardener Intern Highlights


Bethany O'Rear asked them to share a little bit about themselves so by the time we’re at the November graduation banquet, no one will be strangers.We'll feature several interns a month in Roots & Shoots until then. We've asked them to share their history with gardening, what brought them to the Master Gardener program, and favorite gardening activities.


Allison Calvin photo for Roots   Shoots

Allison Calvin is another Master Gardener intern who learned to love gardening at an early age. Her mother always grew a wide range of flowers, ornamentals, as wellas a productive vegetable garden. But it was the summers spent with grandparents in St. Clair County that made Allison love all things about growing (even the tasks that some gardeners dislike). She remembers fondly “my long summer days were spent planting, weeding, harvesting, shelling, picking, and shucking!”

Allison grows organic vegetables and herbs in raised beds and containers. While she also tends to ornamentals, she acknowledges that edibles are her passion. And teaching others how to grow nutritious produce in the space available to them is a mission which she has beenable to serve even more effectively with the education of the Master Gardener program.

nancey legg photo for roots   shoots

Like many Master Gardener interns, Nancey Legg learned gardening as a child. Her father produced bountiful crops of vegetables while her maternal grandmother had theproverbial green thumb that made any plant she touched thrive. Nancey enjoys organic gardening of herbs, ornamentals and houseplants, and the Master Gardener class has improved her knowledge of landscape design. It also offers a new way for her to give back to the community.

Leigh Lewis photo for Roots   Shoots

Leigh Lewis has always appreciated an attractive garden. Her parents planted annuals and edibles every year. Her interest in gardening, however, was piquedwhen an older cousin enrolled in the horticulture program at Auburn University. Leigh thought about enrolling in the Master Gardener program for many years, but it wasn’t until 2021 that the timing worked out. She has built on her love of perennials and is honing her vegetable gardening and propagation skills, all of which she plans to put to good use. She notes that the Master Gardener program “is a great way to share plant knowledge with kids, neighbors, and friends.”

Polly McClure

Polly McClure is a lifelong gardener with a special interest in herbs and perennials, especially native plants. Polly grew up in Kentucky where the family nurtured alarge family garden. Both her grandmothers were blessed with green thumbs and seem to have passed their genes along. Polly moved to Birmingham to attend the Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Her work as a pharmacist dovetailed over the years with an interest in the medicinal properties of plants. The Master Gardener program seemed a logical next step, “to learn from mistakes and learn how to assist others.” As beekeepers, Polly and her husband are always interested in learning more about pollinator plants. In addition, Polly is also currently attending monthly herb workshops in Mentone hosted by Darry Patton, “The Southern Herbalist”.

JCMGA 2021