Teacher Ashley Seiss is One of the Master Gardners in the St. Louis Area


Credit to Kylie Taliaferro

Ashley Seiss has been gardening since 2020. Her garden is located on her apartment porch. Her favorite part about gardening is being able to produce something that’s nourishing.

Master Gardeners are volunteers who provide research based horticulture education, guidance and research to their communities. 

Holly Records is an Educational Programming and Volunteer Coordinator who became a St. Louis Master Gardener in 2008. She loves being outside and when her children were younger, it was a way for them to spend an afternoon. Records is passionate about the way plant owners care for their plants. 

“It’s very frustrating when people spray chemicals that are not necessary,” Records said. “Learn to love holes in the leaves of your plants. Remember the bees and always read the label.”

People like Records can help people become a Master Gardener which is a nationwide program so no matter where someone is they, can go through the lessons to become a Master Gardener. People are encouraged to read, ask questions and take classes to grow the knowledge of gardening. If someone is weary of COVID-19, they offer virtual classes as well. 

While there are Master Gardeners throughout the metro area, FHN has one within its halls. English teacher Ashley Seiss has become a Master Gardener. She started gardening in 2020 and she usually shares what she grows in her garden with her fiancé. Gardening is a way for her to connect to her grandmothers and she also enjoys working and learning with her hands. Both of her grandmothers were gardeners before they passed. 

“I think that there’s something really satisfying and beautiful about tending to a plant that is budding,” Seiss said. “It’s kind of like this weird puzzle where you have all the pieces and hope everything fits together and a spider might eat one of your puzzle pieces. I like the challenge and the reward.”

When someone first starts out, they might fail. Plants may die and it might not be their fault. If a plant happens to die, then try to figure out why and then try again with more information. There are also many sources someone can go to like the Botanical Garden or the Master Gardener website that will give people more information. 

“My wish would be that more people realized that they can do so much within their own footprint,” Seiss said. “Small porch but no backyard is still an opportunity. There’s fewer barriers to entry than people think.”