We identified a need to take Delaware Livable Landscape education to the source, to the homeowners’ properties and landscapes.
The University of Delaware New Castle County Cooperative Extension responded to this issue by creating the “Expert Eye” program. This program, described below, has been successfully visiting homeowners’ landscapes for more than six years.
“Need a Horticultural Expert Eye? Overwhelmed by lawn, garden or landscape problems? Need helpful tips? Want to improve your curb appeal? New Castle County Master Gardeners offer an at-home lawn and gardening education service. Learn how to improve your landscape, identify and manage pests and diseases, prune, be a better gardener right in your own yard! A team of Master Gardeners will come to your home to help you find solutions to problems. The team will spend up to two hours on site. Recommendations will be made in accordance with the policies of Delaware Cooperative Extension. You have the option to request a summary of your visit.”
Program Impact (April 1 2012 to March 31, 2013)
In this time period, Master Gardeners visited more than 30 properties and home landscapes throughout New Castle County from Wilmington to Middletown.
In 2012, following their Expert Eye visit, homeowners received an evaluation and reported the following:
- They gave me concrete suggestions.
- I have a large front yard and ideas of what I wanted but had no idea how realistic and doable it was nor how to go about it. Just having an expert really listen to me, offer suggestions and advise was so helpful, fun and educational. The fact that they weren’t selling me product or service and therefore had no dog in the race was great.
- Good advice was given regarding drainage issue in back yard and referral was made to an organization that could help.
- They helped me to understand what I had and develop a maintenance plan going forward.
- I appreciated the time and care spent on reviewing each of (11) beds. They provided very precise, helpful suggestions on what to plant, what to delete.
- All of my questions were answered and they were patient with my lack of knowledge. The time spent was also great!
- They validated my ideas of replacing a lot of lawn with plants, and to give me confidence in my general plan