Master gardeners plan to ramp up their education efforts in 2013.

Shirley Smith, president of Somervell County Master Gardeners Association (SCMGA), made a plea to commissioners Monday, asking for the court's permission to use property located behind the county extension office to develop a demonstration garden for public education. 

Smith said SCMGA would also establish a rainwater collection system utilizing gutters that are already in place along the extension office, demonstrating the benefits of collecting and storing rain water for gardening. She also said the group would like to establish a rain garden in the far west corner of the property, showing community members how to best utilize low-lying areas that are subject to standing water.

Shawn Davis, county agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said he supported the request, which would also benefit 4-H members and the horticulture club. 

Smith said the SCMGA was only asking for permission to use the property, not funding for the project. She said the association had funds raised when the county hosted a state master gardeners conference last year, and also plans to solicit donations. 

Since the land isn't currently being utilized, commissioners unanimously supported the request, and County Attorney Ron Hankins was instructed to draft an agreement that states if need for the property arises in the future, it would be at the county's discretion to cancel the agreement.