The man with the ‘light green’ thumb

Montevallo resident Bill Legg will teach a vegetable gardening class in the Shelby County Master Gardener program that begins in August. (Photo by Jon Goering.)

Bill Legg prepares for August’s Master Gardener class

BY KATIE COLE/Lifestyles Editor

Montevallo resident Bill Legg inherited his love of gardening from his mother.

“Ironically, her maiden name was Weed,” he said.

An active gardener all his life – he professes to having a ‘light green’ thumb growing up – Legg enrolled in the Shelby County Extension System’s Master Gardener class in 1999. There he learned that he should have paid more attention to his mother’s gardening advice.

“(The class) showed me a lot of things that I had the wrong idea about,” he said. “Ironically, a lot of things she taught me were right.”

Twelve years after he completed the course, Legg has logged more than 3,000 hours as a Master Gardener.

He’s set to teach the vegetable gardening class in the new Master Gardener course that begins next week.

Legg said the course is beneficial for both novice and experienced gardeners.

“The classes are really good because most of them are taught by professors from Auburn University,” he said.

The Shelby County course is coordinated by Nelson Wynn, a regional extension agent. Students meet once a week for 10 weeks to learn about plant physiology, home lawns, wildflowers, landscape design, entomology, invasive plants and other gardening topics.

Legg said there are currently more than 80 active Master Gardeners in Shelby County.

“You will know you’re a Master Gardener when you tell your family that what you want for Christmas is a load of manure,” Legg said.

Once a student completes the course, he or she is expected to complete a certain number of volunteer hours each year.

“In exchange for the training I want students to return an equal amount of volunteer service time helping others, and on projects that benefit their communities,” Wynn said in a press release. “I want my students to feel motivated, accessible, service oriented, trained, excited, and like research ambassadors.”

To complete the course, each student must compete 40 hours of class work with an average of 70 percent and 50 hours of volunteer work and missing only one class.

The classes last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and begin Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the Shelby County Extension Office in Columbiana.

For more information contact Wynn by email at or telephone at (205) 669-6763.