By Ralph Morini
Bill Sublette of Crozet has been named Master Gardener of the Year for 2023 by the Piedmont Master Gardeners.
An Extension Master Gardener since 2018, he served as Communications Committee chair in 2020 and 2021 and president-elect and president in 2021 and 2022. He has participated in many of PMG’s projects and has been a positive teacher, motivator and supporter of PMG’s mission to provide research-based horticulture best practices to the Charlottesville/Albemarle County area.
Sublette was a contributing member of the Strategic Planning Committee and, as president, oversaw the early execution of plans to increase PMG’s focus on environmental sustainability, community involvement and diversity in both the association’s membership and client base. As a member of the Communications Committee, he has also been instrumental in increasing media coverage and public participation in PMG’s events.
Sublette’s dependability illustrates his dedication to PMG’s work. When volunteers are needed, he can be counted on to jump into whatever roles need filling. If it is planting, he grabs a shovel. If it is publicity, he shows up with a camera and writes an article. If it is business or administration, he contributes positively to the issues in question. He has participated in School Garden Projects, both pre-Covid in city schools and more recently in county elementary schools. He has been an active participant in numerous Habitat landscaping events (and often is joined by his wife Kathy, a Habitat volunteer). He helped to establish the pollinator garden at The Center at Belvedere and assisted in the installation and landscaping of PMG’s shed at The Center, where equipment and supplies are stored for PMG’s annual May Plant Sale fundraiser.
With his excellent writing skills and background experience at the Daily Progress, UVA and Southern Environmental Law Center, he has helped improve the quality and quantity of articles produced for PMG’s website (piedmontmastergardeners.org) and is a regular contributor to horticultural articles published in the Crozet Gazette.
His open and thoughtful approach makes him a valued member of many PMG efforts, including the Member Education Committee and ongoing PMG website maintenance and expansion.
He is an active member of the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards and uses his knowledge of selecting and caring for trees to improve the outcomes of PMG projects. As a model volunteer educator, he is always ready to answer questions about trees at PMG events, help increase the use of native trees, advise on the best trees for the available location and provide guidance to less informed volunteers.
Other notable contributions include helping organize the PMG Grants Committee and arranging for an interview with and PMG co-sponsorship of the poet/writer Ross Gay’s talk at the 2023 Virginia Festival of the Book.
Sublette’s leadership, dependability, enthusiasm, cooperative and supportive nature and his commitment to furthering PMG’s contribution to our community make him PMG’s Master Gardener of the Year for 2023.