Past Winners

2020 Winner 

Catherine Coulson - Livingston County

Catherine's design was chosen based upon it's aesthetics, unique and suitable plant material combinations, and ease of maintenance. Cathy received her Extension Master Gardener certification in 2018, but has many years of gardening experience. Cathy is a member of the Livingston County Master Gardener Association (LCMGA) and has served as the board secretary and currently is the president and secretary of the LCMGA Board of Directors. She currently works at a garden center, is an independent softscape design architect and diagnostician and helps her family members and friends with their gardening needs. She’s designed, created and planted beds in Eaton Rapids, Howell and Ann Arbor. She is also the Coordinator for the Demonstration Garden at the MSU Extension office in Livingston County. Cathy’s Rainbow Peace Garden design for the Master Gardener Idea Bed features bluegrasses, perennials and succulents as requested by the donors combined with hardy, sun-loving perennials and bulbs in color-coordinated sections. Contained within the garden are natives, pollinators, butterfly attractors and many drought-tolerant and long-blooming species. Early, middle and late-blooming perennials provide interest all season. Daylilies with 6” or larger blooms abound in every section of the garden and bloom from the early to mid-late season and includes various rebloomers. The 3’wide pathways are designed to be the Peace Sign in aerial view and provide ease of viewing and maintenance.

CatherineCoulsonMG2020_Bed CatherineCoulsonMG2020

2015 Winner

Sandra J. Lombard - Van Buren County

We were very excited to receive nine entries from all over the state for the re-design of the Master Gardener Idea Bed. Each had elements of good garden design making it so much harder to choose just one. After careful consideration, the design of Van Buren County Master Gardener Sandra J. Lombard was selected. 

Sandra received her MG certification in 2010 but like many of us, was greatly influenced as a child by her parents love of gardening. Her father had a vegetable garden and Sandra helped with weeding and learned organic methods. Sandra has since retired and with her husband has been working hard on landscaping their retirement home in Michigan. With almost an acre, they have installed most of the 45 new trees and more than 50 shrubs, roses and 16 flower beds. In 2014, they bought a home in Winter Haven, Florida where they spend their winters.  The existing planting beds at their new home consisted of weeds and dying roses.  Sandra has enjoyed enlarging and redesigning those beds while learning tropical gardening for Zone 9.  Sandra is a member of the Carnegie Garden Club, District III, where she served two years as president and vice-president respectively, as well as worked on several committees.   She enjoys designing gardens and has designed planting beds for a Habitat for Humanity home in Kalamazoo and a garden for the Lion’s Club in Paw Paw, Michigan and is always willing to help whenever individuals ask about anything gardening related.  Sandra has also volunteered for the “Ask a Master Gardener” program at local garden centers, worked plant sales and hosted for garden tours and information centers at various events.  In 2012, she organized and led a gardening class for Van Buren County Seniors. 

Sandra put a lot of thought into her design for the Master Gardener Idea Bed. She chose low maintenance perennials, shrubs and ornamental grasses that would bring in a wide variety of pollinators as well as provide food for birds, bees and butterflies. A wide walk invites visitors into the center of the bed where they can sit on a bench and enjoy the nature around them. As per the request of the donor, an extensive list of 'blue' perennials were chosen to allow for alternatives if a particular plant was unavailable. Plants were chosen for their low maintenance, seasonal interest and continuous color throughout the season. Most are pest and disease resistant as well.

We are excited to install this design Spring 2016 where it will remain in place until 2020.

photothumb228w-2016MGIdeaBedDesignWinnerThe winner of the Master Gardener Idea Bed Contest