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Dewey Short Center at Table Rock Lake

Helping others learn to grow

By Cheri Dragos-Pritchard
Pacesetter Staff

Table Rock Lake, with its close proximity to Branson, Mo., is Little Rock District’s most visited lake, and the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks regularly volunteer their time to help keep it beautiful by landscaping the grounds at the Dewey Short Visitors Center. They also share their talent with the visitors.

For the past five years Carol Gerhart has lead the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks as the committee chairperson. The group consists of 75 people who have completed 30 hours of classroom training at the University of Missouri Master Gardener Extension Program. Their mission is, “helping others learn to grow,” Table Rock Park Ranger Malcolm Fortson said.Master Gardeners at Dewey Short Visitor's Center

Once the students have completed the training, they are required to accomplish 30 hours of volunteer service within their community through approved activities. Keeping Table Rock’s gardens cultivated is an approved activity.

In addition to maintaining all the many flower beds and gardens around the center, Gerhart and her volunteers have completely reworked the garden around the flag pole, removing old vegetation and bushes, and replanting the area. This transformation gave the garden “an inviting and pleasant look,” Fortson said.

“She is a dedicated, hard worker,” Fortson added. “She is always in a good mood and always takes time to talk or answer questions many of the visitors to the Dewey Short Visitors Center ask of her. Perhaps we should all work with plants and flowers, if this activity has such a positive affect on a person.”
Fortson also talked about the many hours the gardeners spent working at Table Rock and reminded us that, “these are volunteers; their hard work and dedication have saved the taxpayers and the government time and money.

“In 2008, the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks volunteered 4,651 hours valued at $80,000 in volunteer time,” Fortson said. “Of this, a little over 570 hours, valued at over $11,000, were given to improve and maintain the gardens and flower beds at the Dewey Short Visitors Center.”

Fortson went on to explain how the volunteers did more than just gardening at Table Rock.

“In addition to the gardens at the visitor’s center,” Fortson added. “The Master Gardeners were also involved in activities such as one-on-one teaching, the speaker’s bureau, community beautification projects, a children’s garden and they hosted conferences such as the Spring Gardening Conference and Fall Gardening Workshop.”
Dieter and Marsha Beam graduated from the training course in December 2008, and started volunteering at Dewey Short with Gerhart while still in the course.

“Now that we’re retired, we were looking for something to do in a public service way,” Mr. Beam said. “We wanted to do something that showed the beauty that is so amazing here in the Ozarks, and this seemed to fit perfectly.”

When asked if the couple had a favorite project, they said they couldn’t pick just one.

“For Marsha and I, the biggest thrill is to watch visitors taking pictures of themselves and the gardens and visiting with us,” Mr. Beam stated. “Many times we have been given a ‘thank you’ by guests for the work that is being done.”

The Beams said their relationship with the Corps of Engineers has been a “really good relationship, that we hope lasts for years to come.

“The Corp of Engineers staff at the Dewey Short Center are wonderful to work with,” Mr. Beam explained. “We are able to visit with them about our gardening needs and areas of concern, whether it’s water concerns or a load of mulch; Malcolm, our contact, has been there to answer questions and give us input. I would urge other Master Gardener groups as well as the Corp of Engineers to work on other sites as a team. If they work half as well as this marriage works, it will be a success.”

Candy Knows Flowers

Painting of flower on asphaltIt all started with a question:  
What kind of paint works on asphalt?

That was the question posed to Candy Clark a local artist in Kimberling City.  From that question came the beginning of flowers being painted on the asphalt trail from the front of the Kimberling Area Library.. to the gardens in the back.

"I like the creative process ... imagine, design and paint" says Candy.  "The paintings are of common garden flowers, rose, pansy, bee balm, and some are wildflowers, columbine, wild pink and spiderwort.  I picked them for a variety of color, shape and easily recognizable."  Candy is a member of the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks and knows flowers.  So the next time you are at the Kimberling Area Library take a moment and stroll on the path to the garden and see what a local artist has done.

Garden in the Harbor

A Garden in the Harbor

The temps were icy and thoughts of gardening were a toasty spot in my frozen brain.  Our January guest speaker was promoting community gardens.  It sounded worth while.  By the time February rolled around, some of us had heard a radio spot about a grass roots movement asking everyone to "Plant a row of for the needy".  No money involved, just you - your garden - and some folks in the Ozarks who need fresh food.  Something so simple, so easy and potentially so productive.  We set out to locate our local food banks and verify the needs of Stone and Taney County residents.  During a conversation with the administrator for the food bank at Christian Associates of Table Rock Lake, she said "Its odd you called right now.  We've been talking about starting a garden here.  Did someone call you?"   I replied no one had called me, I was calling to see what they needed.  We talked and events took a totally different turn.

Harbor House Container GardenChristian Associates does many things for the needy in our community.  Harbor House is a shelter for battered women.  Clients range in age from the very young with small children to seniors.  A meeting was had with the ladies and it was decided we would make a garden.

The terrain is a challenge. Asphalt within a 10 foot high fence.  The women are very security conscious, so we had to stay in the confines of that fence.  We decided to try Square Foot Gardening because of its compact, above ground containers which can produce much food in a small area.   Dieter, my husband, and I set out to facilitate the gardeners.  Untreated wood was culled from construction sites.  An electrician we know offered to donate and bend metal pipes to attach to the boxes for vertical growth.  A good source for the growing medium was found.   We went to the community for donations of money and seeds.  The boxes were built, buckets were found ,the soil was ready and it was time to meet at Harbor House to put in the garden.

I almost cried when the boxes were in place and the lids came off the containers of soil.  One of the women plunged her hands into the bucket, letting the particles trickle through her fingers as she smelled the aroma wafting in the air.  "Oh, my God.  I didn't know if I would ever smell this again!"  She was laughing and so were two more.  The new gardeners didn't get it.  But you and I do.  Talk of gardens past and favorite flowers and the difference between the flavor of a home grown and store bought vegetable went on through the afternoon.  We planted too early in May and lost some things, but as you can see, by June 15th , we were on track!   Actually, there were radishes consumed the first week of June.

The Harbor House Garden has 14 2x4 boxes and various containers.  The women of Harbor House maintain the garden and I continue to make sure they have what they need.  Our hope is to not only supply Harbor House with produce, but to perhaps donate to the food bank as well.  

I believe we all know gardening is cathartic for most of us.  The project has created a symbiotic relationship.  We all learn from each other.  New ways and old ways mesh for better growth in the garden.  For some, their thoughts are more positive and redirected. The thrill of anticipation has sprouted and now grows bright in a gloomy world.  As for me.....sometimes I drive by and know just where to look to see my girls.  They are sitting out on the side walk in front of the door nearest the gardens.  It reminds me of sitting on the porch with my granny watching the garden grow.  I am no fool.  I am getting so much more from doing this than I can ever give back.   

If this sounds corny.....IT IS!!   Happy Gardening and remember to plant a row for the needy.

Kimberling Area Library Children's Garden

It's summertime and it's hot! No need to tell you that.  What do you do with the kids?  The Kimberling Area Library in Kimberling City is a great place to take the kids.   Master Gardeners of the Ozarks have been working hard on a Community Enhancement Project  with the Kimberling Area Library Association.     The  concept is an interactive garden with a playground.   Playground equippement was donated and installed by the Rotary Club and the American Legion post both of Kimberling City.

Master Gardener Julie Jacob submitted and got approved a variety of gardens.   A large butterfly in the middle of the garden is made of whimsical flowers.   The gardens are made possible through private funds.   Carol Buzenius is a member of Thrivent and a library volunteer.   Here she greets kids from behind the sign which reads "KALA  Wild, Wacky and Wonderful Garden."   The sign goes on to share with the kids various garden favorites.

These gardens are dependent on volunteers such as sign painter Yvette Ayres - a member of the Board of Directors for the Library.


Master Gardeners Julie Jacob and Kathryn Kufahl say volunteers are greeted with ooohs and aaahs from kids learning in the ABC garden.

KAL Board Member Yvette Ayres

Library hours are Mon-Wed-Friday  10am to 4pm
Tuesday-Thursday  10am to 7pm
Saturday   9am to 12 noon
For more information or for possible interviews, please contact:
Julie Jacob - 417-338-0746 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kathryn Kufahl - 417-272-0996 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stone County Health Departmentt

Master Gardeners help Stone County Health DepartmentStone County Health Department on Highway 13 gets some help from the Master Gardeners of the Ozarks

A call went out from Stone County Health Dept workers regarding the shrubs and flowers around the building on Highway 13.  Master Gardeners J. Case (not pictured),  Kathryn Kufahl, David Smith, Irv Kufahl, and Anne Wigg (kneeling) trimmed the shrubs away from the building and planted flowers.   Angela Ford - Administrator of Stone County Health Dept (not pictured) placed mulch around the new flowers.  Lauri Sutor (left) WIC Clerk and Wanda Cantrell (purple smock), Nutritionist are pleased with the changes.

Master Gardeners do a minimum of 30 hours of public service per person in a year.  Master Gardeners have completed 30 hours of training through the University of Missouri Extension Service.

Spring Gardening Workshop

spring workshop logo


Master Gardeners of the Ozarks Presents:

The Annual Spring Workshop

March 7, 2020
Faith Lutheran Church
Branson, MO

Details and Registration


Gardening Programs at KAL

kal garden program web

Master Gardeners of the Ozarks Presents:

Garden Programs at the Kimberling Area Library

March - September
Select Wednesdays
10 AM in the Community Room

New program schedule for 2020 now available!


Annual Garden Tour

Garden Tour at Bonniebrook

Master Gardeners of the Ozarks Presents:

Garden Tour at Bonniebrook

"Bohemian Garden Rhapsody Tour" will be held at the Rose O’Neill’s historic homestead on Saturday, June 13th from 10 AM to 3 PM.  Learn from the Master Gardeners at a variety of gardens and horticultural Education Stations highlighting Bonniebrook’s beautiful gardens.   Enjoy refreshments, music and a variety of artisans, then tour the Rose O'Neill historic home and fine art gallery located at 485 Rose O'Neill Road, Walnut Shade, MO 65771.

Garden Tour tickets:   $20 Advanced Registration;  $25 day of event.

Find Out More

Register Now

Springtime in the Garden

Springtime in the Garden

Master Gardeners of the Ozarks Presents:

Springtime in the Garden

Taney County Extension Office
122 Felkins Ave
Forsyth, MO

Saturday, April 25th, 2020
Plant Sale, Arbor Day & Educational Activities