The Garden’s Horticultural Answer Service is over 50 years old. It was started by George Pring after he retired as superintendent of the Garden’s grounds in 1963. It was originally staffed by Garden staff members. In 1970, the Regional Council of Men’s Garden Clubs was asked to help staff it, hence the name “Answer Man”. In 1977 Alma Reitz became the first woman member of the “Answermen” and served faithfully for several decades before retiring. When the Master Gardener program began in 1983, the “Answermen” received the initial training to become Master Gardeners.
Currently, the Answer Service has 18 dedicated members. There are five crews who answer questions from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m, Monday through Friday, from the beginning of March to the end of October. During the winter months there are a few volunteers who come in each day.
Volunteers for the Answer Service are required to be certified Master Gardeners as well as to have completed an on-the-job internship.