Arkansas Master Gardeners keep courthouse gardens beautiful

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 11, 2023)–Walking to the Pulaski County Courthouse, visitors often marvel at the flowers and greenery near the building, especially in the Pulaski County Rose Garden on 2nd Street.

Pulaski County Master Gardeners oversee the garden, a project under the  Pulaski County Office, Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service which is a part of the statewide network and the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture.

Dana Boyster is one of the project’s leaders, which was established approximately eight years ago. 

“We’re out here visiting with people who say the garden looks so nice,” Boyster says.

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Boyster said the group plants what will give people a big show of color when they are driving by. They are planting Petunias this time of year because they are colorful and are annual plants. 

“Give them a glimpse of something’s cheerful!” Boyster said. 

The Pulaski County Rose Garden is also a Monarch Waystation, meaning it’s a habitat dedicated to monarch butterfly conservation. Boyster and her team always have something blooming in the garden for the butterflies.

The gardeners’ plant perennials, which are flowers that live for more than two years. 

“You want an early bloomer, mid, and then a late summer when everything is hot and dry, [so]something [is always] blooming for the butterflies,” Boyster said. 

Among the garden’s many plants, Boyster said that a “Julia Child” Floribunda rose bush was donated to the courthouse in 2020  to commemorate the 100 years of women’s right to vote. 


The garden is admired by citizens who walk and or bike near the garden. 

“We saw a wedding under the Crepe Myrtle tree, near the fountain, just last year,” Melody Parsley, one of the County master gardener leaders said.

The Pulaski County Master Gardeners tend to the County courthouse garden every second and fourth Tuesday. Visit the group’s Facebook page for more information.

About Master Gardener

Arkansas Master Gardener President Carol Mendel said there are 30 garden projects across the County. She also mentioned that there are 550 members of the master garden in Pulaski County. 

“People interested in becoming a master gardener fill out applications and enroll in a Zoom class every fall,” Mendel said. 

Mendel also said after training, gardeners must commit to 40 hours of community service, 20 learning hours during their first year. According to the master gardeners’ website, gardens provide 20 working hours and 20 learning hours after the first year.