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Couple honored with gardening award
Garden WEB 1
Herb Metz gives a tour of plants around his home. Metz and his wife, Barbara, recently received a combined Master Gardener of the Year Award. - photo by Autumn Vetter

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To learn more about the Forsyth County Master Gardener program, call the Forsyth County Extension Office at (770) 887-2418 or visit the program’s Web site at

A north Forsyth couple’s love of gardening was rewarded recently when they received a new honor from the Forsyth County Master Gardeners organization.

Herb and Barbara Metz were presented the first Master Gardener of the Year award in December.

The award was originally meant to be given to just one Master Gardener, but the couple couldn’t be separated, said Kathy Weintraub, one of the organization’s board members.

“We had to bend the rules because we just couldn’t award anything to one or the other of them,” Weintraub said. “They are such an amazing team.”

Since they moved to Forsyth County in 1998, the pair has worked together to embrace the local Master Gardeners’ mission of educating others and using environmentally-friendly practices.

Prior to that, they served as Master Gardeners in their home state of Indiana for two years.

In a nomination letter, some of the Metzs’ contributions to the organization were noted.

They include holding plant swap picnics, helping with plant sale fundraisers and opening their home on Doctor Bramblett Road to the public several times for garden tours.

Barbara Metz said the tour, which is held every other year, is a big draw.

“We had 300 [visitors] last year and we had 250 two years before that,” she said.

Weintraub said the couple was the perfect fit for the new award, which will be given annually to someone who goes above and beyond for the organization.

“We [on the board] got to talking about how hard some people work and how much some people do and with a smile on their face,” she said. “You ask for volunteers and [they] are the first ones to do anything.

“So this year we decided let’s do something … we wanted it to be nice and significant and every year reward somebody.”

As the first award recipients, the couple received a large, inscribed crystal vase.

It will be a perfect fit for their home as Barbara Metz grows numerous colorful flowers in the summer months and then uses them to create beautiful arrangements.

Their 5-acre property also features a range of vegetables, including corn, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. They sell the produce at the Cumming Farmers’ Market, which runs in the summer and early fall at the Cumming Fairgrounds.

They also have many flowering bushes and trees, as well as unique plants such as apple gourds, which look like giant green apples, and a lemon tree inside their home.

The couple, who soon will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, have been gardening since they first got married, Barbara Metz said.

“We’ve always enjoyed it,” she said.

Her husband said it’s a great hobby because it always keeps his mind busy.

“In gardening, you’re always learning something,” he said. “Even about the time you think, ‘Hey, I’m getting pretty good,’ something new will hit you and you’ll really get bit.”

His main advice for people interested in gardening is to take advantage of the local Extension Office, which runs the Master Gardener program.

“We’re really fortunate in this county to have a full staff of people who are all very knowledgeable,” he said.

He noted that the staff can help with just about any plant issue.

“You can stop in there, or in this modern-day world you can just take a picture and put it on your computer and send it to them,” he said. “More people should use that resource.”