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Have You Met...Jackie Grote?

This week we start a new feature on Cumming Patch, called "Have You Met" and today we introduce you to a master gardener who shares some of her botanical secrets.

This week we start a new feature on Cumming Patch, called "Have You Met."

With this feature, we hope to introduce local residents to more of the people who live, work and play in our community.

This week we are meeting Jackie Grote.

The woods behind Jackie Grote's house in Vickery look like something out of a storybook. Known as Buck's Park to residents, the area is comprised of tall pines and hardwoods, 14th century European-inspired wattle fences, and winding paths leading the way through an enchanted forest featuring just about every plant species known to Georgia.  

Jackie became a certified master gardener in 2008 through the University of Georgia and the County Extension Service. She's been sharing her knowledge with the community ever since.

"I spend part of almost every day working and playing in my own garden. A day without any gardening is a bad day," says Grote who also volunteers regularly to maintain demonstration gardens at all of the Forsyth County Libraries, public schools and the UGA extension office.

If you're walking through Buck's park, chances are, you'll run into Jackie, hard at work, tidying a path or maintaining a fence, and she's well known for sharing plant clippings and advice with the community.

"My favorite plant is the Crocosmia, " says Jackie. It features red or orange flowers hanging below an arching stem. Mine were given to me by a friend in the neighborhood, Lisa Penz, and I have passed the Crocosmia along to many more people. The rapidly multiplying plant hails from South Africa and was hybridized at Norwich Castle in England."

Jackie's love of gardening is rooted in her childhood experiences.

"I came to gardening as a small child. My love of plants began in my grandmother’s jungle-like garden full of exotic plants. I still remember looking up from my own three feet to the tall dinner plate dahlias with blooms that really were the size of dinner plates!"

The goal of Jackie's ongoing project in Buck's Park is to preserve the natural beauty of the park while making a retreat for kids and adults and providing habitat for wildlife. 

Over the years, her efforts have brought a true sense of camaraderie to the neighborhood--one plant at a time.

Michael Becker June 15, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Another Cumming person (a local businessman) who is making a difference in the community is Mike Becker, owner of "Fred's Beds and Furniture" on Bannister Road in Cumming. His business occupies the Old Matt Schoolhouse (an interesting story in itself). His business has been operating around 7-8 years and has weathered the recession. He sells first line Bedding and Furniture as well as Consignment Furniture. His prices are the best in the area and he employs several local people, helping the economy. Visit freds-beds.com for more info.
Kristen Berry June 16, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Thanks for the information! We will be contacting Mr. Becker.
Janet October 21, 2011 at 04:12 PM
I've known Jackie for quite awhile. You could not have a better person (family) in your neighborhood. She has more energy than a 'jack rabbit', great personality, and just a fun person to be around. She contributes where ever she is or is needed. A friend in TN & we miss them. Janet Campbell

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