Ralph Morini of Earlysville has been named Master Gardener of the Year for 2022 by the Piedmont Master Gardeners.
An Extension Master Gardener since 2017, Morini served as PMG’s President in 2021. He had a prominent role in a new collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville to assist with landscaping new homes and educating Partner Families in the benefits of using native plants and shrubs and how to care for them. He has also played an integral part in increasing PMG’s involvement with the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots program and its refugee growers, with Cultivate Charlottesville’s community gardens at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center, and with the community gardens at the Yancey Community Center in Esmont.
Soon after joining PMG, Morini began sharing his gardening knowledge with children through the Clark Elementary after-school garden club and applying his hands-on horticultural expertise to enhance the Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital demonstration garden.
Morini has become an authoritative voice for best horticultural practices in The Garden Shed, PMG’s monthly online newsletter. Typical of his in-depth articles, his piece on the risks and benefits of glyphosate (Roundup) drew wide attention and was published by the Virginia Cooperative Extension (SPES-63NP) (www.pubs.ext.vt.edu). He is one of PMG’s experts on composting, soil building and integrated pest management.
Morini, who holds an MBA degree from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business, returned to the Charlottesville area and pursued Extension Master Gardener training after retiring from EAM-Mosca Corporation, where he served as CEO.