master gardner greenhouse

Dick Pritchett during the official opening of the Sherron Pritchett Greenhouse at Cane Creek Community Gardens at McClellan. (Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)

A new greenhouse was christened Monday morning at McClellan’s Cane Creek Community Gardens, thanks to fundraising efforts and a state grant.

The Sherron Pritchett Greenhouse is named after a Calhoun County Master Gardener who died in 2016 at age 73. Her husband, Dick Pritchett, is the president of the county’s Master Gardeners.

“This place has come a long way in a short number of years,” he said Monday at the dedication. “I asked what it would cost to get this greenhouse going, and $35,000 later it’s here.”

The greenhouse sits at the Cane Creek Community Gardens on Justice Avenue in Anniston, beside more than 20 raised flower beds on a 17-acre plot of land.   

More than $35,000 was raised to fund the project — $20,000 raised by the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council. Officials from the council attribute the $15,000 grant to state representatives K.L. Brown, R-Jacksonville and Del Marsh, R-Anniston. Brown delivered a giant check for $15,000 to the Master Gardeners on Monday morning.

“We’re gonna do all we can do in our power to make sure these projects stay funded,” Brown said of his office. “I’m very pleased that this could be done in the memory of Sherron. She was a beautiful person and left this life way too soon.”

Brown said he couldn’t think of anything more fitting to honor Sherron Pritchett than a greenhouse, and he can’t wait to see how it evolves since he comes from a family of gardeners.

“My mother and grandmother had very green thumbs,” he said. “My grandmother could take a leaf and grow a tree.”

This greenhouse will be wonderful for the county Master Gardeners, according to Heidi Richards, executive director of the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council. She said the council receives state money every year, but this grant helped allow them to complete this special project.

This greenhouse will help build the skills of Calhoun County Master Gardeners, according to David West, County Extension Office coordinator and representative on the Coosa Valley Conservation and Development Council.

Master Gardener is a designation given by the American Horticultural Society to those who have completed extensive training and research in gardening. Master Gardeners then go out in their communities and educate others and work on various planting projects.

“We go through our Master Gardener training out here,” West said, “which requires 40 hours of training and they have to give back 50 hours of service in their first year.”

He said the new digs will allow the gardeners to grow plants regardless of season and help landscapers keep the entire community garden fresh and green.

“It’s a much nicer greenhouse than I planned on having here,” he said. “We have a good cooling system and watering system here.”

Many of the greenhouse plants have been contracted by a grower, according to West, which means the questions of what to grow and whether it will sell have been answered already. He said the greenhouse will sell Japanese maples in a fundraiser to help with the cost of running the facility.  

“When I walk in I get excited just looking at the plants and things we’re growing,” Pritchett said. “Hopefully we’ll turn a profit real soon.”

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