A new horticultural education agent has joined the Warren County Cooperative Extension Service office in Bowling Green.
Krista Hildabrand, a native of Adair County who was the first horticulture extension agent for Barren County, said Tuesday that she got her love of flowers from her mother, Inette Brockman Goodin.
“I was a flower child,” said the Russellville resident.
Her husband, Grant, works for USDA Farm Service Agency in Todd County as the county executive director.
They own a diversified farming operation with beef cattle, corn and soybeans in Logan County.
The love of flowers spurred her to take several horticulture classes in greenhouse and landscaping at Adair County High School, and involve herself in the FFA.
She graduated from Adair County High School in 2005.
Hildabrand then attended Western Kentucky University, where she served as president of the WKU Horticulture Club her senior year. She graduated magna cum laude in 2008 from WKU with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture with a concentration in horticulture and a minor in biology.
Since 2011, Hildabrand has written the central regional report for Kentucky Gardener magazine. In December 2013, she received a master of science degree in agriculture from WKU. She worked in Barren County as extension agent for horticulture education for seven years before coming to the Warren County office.
Her love of flowers also took her several times in recent years to Pasadena, Calif., to work as a volunteer on the Rose Bowl Parade floats.
“It is an eye-opening experience,” she said. “As soon as one Rose Bowl Parade ends, the next one begins.”
The volunteers have to work quickly with the perishable flowers used to cover the parade floats.
“It takes a lot of hard work to make a float,” she said.
Hildabrand said horticulture is a combination of art and science. The study of plants includes fruit, vegetables, flowers and landscaping. Educational programming includes helping master gardeners enhance their green thumbs.
To become a master gardener involves more than 60 hours of training, with more training required to become a certified master gardener.
Hildabrand said people might have the misconception that just because they see the picture of the pretty, colorful flower in the seed catalogue, just putting that seed in their garden with a bit of water doesn’t yield that result.
“You have to prepare the soil. You have to start with a good base,” she said.
While potting soil mixed with the dirt at the growing site can be part of that eventual equation along with some lime, the acidity of the soil is also important. For example, while blueberries require a PH of 4.5 to 5.2, which is an acidic soil, vegetables require PH of 6.2 to 6.8, a soil which is less acidic.
“We recommend soil testing here,” Hildabrand said.
Those with questions about gardening or horticulture may contact Hildabrand at the Warren County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-842-1681.