This year, not only will the Master Gardener Class be using a new Master Gardener Handbook reference and the Bradley County Master Gardeners held their inaugural “Spring Forward Fest” event.  For a more colorful view of our history, select an image to view photos of past officers, projects, events and activities.

History of the Bradley County Master Gardeners Organization

Junior Master Gardeners
It's All About the Green

Past Officers

  • “Wildflower Hikes in the Smoky Mountains”, presentation by Johnnie Arnett, Master Gardener to the Cherokee Garden Club.
  • Cleveland State Community College Landscaping
  • Cleveland State Community College Environmental Awareness Fair
  • Foothills County Fair: “Gardening Trends” demonstrations, produce judging, and sale of homemade whimsical Clay Pot People.  The Master Gardeners also pruned roses, added mulch and planted Stella d’Oro daylilies, black-eyed Susans and Autumn Joy Sedum around the Louis Alford Agricultural Exposition building.

Cleveland Apple Festival
Assorted Photos
Master Gardeners Class
Past Officers

     Since that time, the Bradley County Master Gardener organization has continued to grow, attracting new members who gain valuable gardening knowledge not only through the Master Gardener course, but also though sharing’s between Master Gardeners, invited guest speakers, field trips, workshops, video conference training and participation at UT Agriculture / Master Gardener events.  Graduating Interns and Master Gardeners continue to actively contribute to the local community sharing their knowledge and passion while gaining new friends and memorable experiences.  Highlights from recent years include:

Junior Master Gardeners

Annual Christmas Party

Cleveland Apple Festival

Charleston Cow Pea Festival

Annual Christmas Party

      In January 2011, six individuals, with a passion for gardening, partnered with Bradley County University of Tennessee Extension Agent Kim Frady, to form a pilot committee with the goal of launching a Master Gardeners organization in Bradley County, Tennessee.  On February 2nd of 2012, Mr. Mike Payne, Chairman State Advocacy Board, spoke at an organizational meeting, sharing his ideas on starting a program.  Shortly thereafter, the committee, now eleven members, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Tennessee, an agreement which officially created the Bradley County Master Gardeners (BCMG) organization.   
     Ricky Tallent and Julie Halsey were appointed President and Secretary, respectively and organization bi-laws were adopted.  A Continuing Education Committee (Mike Arnold, Steve Humberd and Jim Minor) was formed to assist in the Bradley County Master Gardener course and two community projects were chosen to support.  The first was the creation of a community garden in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and the second, building raised bed gardens at the Cleveland Public Housing Authority Nutrition Center.  The latter enabled the elderly to raise their own vegetables. Other highlights from 2012 included:

Charleston Cow Pea Festival
Ace Hardware Ask A Master Gardener Day
  • Bradley County Juvenile Court: Junior Master Gardeners Program, 2013 – Present.
  • Bachman Academy Campus landscaping, 2014
  • Silver Jubilee: 25 Years of the Hamilton County Fair Flower Show: Flower judging, 2014
  • “Junior Master Gardener Program”, presentation by Ricky Tallent, Steve Rogers, and Dave Hopper to the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club, 2014
  • Planting shrubs at Cleveland State College (2014)
  • “It’s All About the Green”, Cleveland State Community College, 2014 – Present
  • “Ask a Master Gardener”, Elder’s Ace Hardware, 2014 – Present
  • Charleston Cow Pea Festival, 2014 – Present
  • Cleveland Apple Festival, 2014 – Present
  • Recipient of the Tennessee Master Gardeners Golden Shovel Award for the Junior Master Gardener program - 2015
  • Extension Awareness at Bradley Square Mall, 2015
  • Greenway Table, 2015
  • “Junior Master Gardener Program”, presentation by Deb Flower, Leslie Humberd and Ricky Tallent to the Hamilton County Master Gardeners, 2015
  • “Come Grow With Us”, WOOP 99.9 Radio, 2015
  • Medical Center Pharmacy Health Fair, Cleveland, 2015
  • “Straw Bale Gardening”, presentation by Johnnie Arnett, FCE Extension Group, 2015.
  • “Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds”, presentation by Faith Sharp, Aldersgate Garden Club, 2015
  • Gardening Short Courses at the Cleveland Public Library, 2015-2016
  • Bradley Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center; working with residents to plant and maintain flower and vegetable gardens, 2017
  • TN River Valley Seed Library, E.G. Fisher Public Library, Athens, TN; soliciting donations from seed companies and restocking the library, 2017
  • Community Festival Museum Center at 5Points, “Celebrating the importance of our Waterways”, 2017
  • “All four seasons: It’s all about the pollinators!” presentation by Linda Merritt and Stacie Campbell-Eckhoff, Cleveland State Community College, 2017
  • Holiday Open House & Art Festival at the Museum Center at 5Points, 2017
  • ​250K Tree Giveaway, 2018