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The Extension office provides assistance and programs for the community without discrimination in five main areas: 4-H Youth Programs, Agriculture, Community Health, Horticulture, and Small Acreage Management.

In Memoriam: Barbara Hyde Boardman   arrow

Barbara at her home garden.

Born as Barbara Jean Tilton on February 26, 1924 in Palisade, Colorado, Barbara Hyde Boardman sadly passed on January 14, 2023. Barbara attended the University of Colorado until she married William H. (Bill) Hyde on January 30, 1943. The couple eventually settled in Grand Junction, Colorado and raised two children, Bill and Jane. During her time in Grand Junction, Barbara was one of the seven architects of Operation Foresight, Grand Junction’s pedestrian mall Main street, which resulted in an All-America City Award in 1962. She was responsible for the landscape plan, which endures even today. Upon her children reaching adulthood, Barbara moved to the front range and was the first woman to enroll in Colorado State University’s horticulture program where she earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from CSU. She ultimately went on to become the nation’s second ever female Extension horticulturalist. Barbara served as the Horticulture Agent at Boulder County Extension for 17 years until her retirement. As the Horticulture Agent, she was funny, caring, and kind. A trailblazer in the horticulture community, Barbara leaves a legacy at Boulder County extension for which she received numerous awards for her work, including the CSU Alumni Association Distinguished Extension Award in 2009. She was active in the PEO Sisterhood, Littleton Garden Club, Boulder Garden Club, American Rock Garden Society, Denver Botanic Garden, and Colorado Field Ornithologists.

Boulder County Extension Master Gardener Program

Barbara accepting her distinguished extension award in 2009.

In her role at Boulder County Extension, Barbara was the driving force behind the creation of the Master Gardener program in Colorado, which was eventually launched in 1975. The goal of the new Master Gardener program was to build a volunteer network of community horticulturalists who could share resources and support aspiring gardeners. She trained over 500 volunteers for the program in Boulder County alone. Through her efforts, countless community members were able to pursue their dreams of becoming successful gardeners and create thriving natural environments that would go on to grace backyards, blossom into community gardens and adorn patios across Colorado. In 2022, Colorado’s Master Gardener program had 1,446 Master Gardeners who volunteered more than 45,000 hours and served more than 178,000 Coloradoans. “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Master Gardener program in the US this year, we remember Barbara as a leader and champion for the program in Colorado,” said Katie Dunker, CSU Extension programs director and current chair of the Extension Master Gardener National Committee.

Boulder County Extension Community Garden

Barbara at her home garden.  

Along with all her other duties, Barbara was an overachiever who couldn’t help but find ways to increase the public’s exposure to gardening. In the early 80’s and with space available at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, Barbara created and managed the Boulder County Extension Community Garden. Today, the garden consists of 28 plots available to community gardeners and 12 communal plots. The communal plots are used for research trials, to provide crops for our community gardeners, and for donations to local food banks. The communal plots currently are growing strawberries, hops, grapes, rhubarb, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, blueberries, and goji berries. The Community Garden strives to create an atmosphere of positive collaboration for our gardeners by sharing ideas, strategies, newsletters, and CSU Extension information. Our gardeners enjoy the camaraderie of a diverse group with a wide range of gardening knowledge and skills. We encourage edible and ornamental gardens, and we endorse the use of non-chemical means for weed and pest control.

A Prolific Author, Teacher, and Speaker

Barbara at her desk writing.
Barbara speaking at the 100-year anniversary for Boulder County Extension in 2014.

For more than 30 years, Barbara authored newspaper gardening columns entitled “Now is the Time” for the Rocky Mountain News, Boulder Daily Camera, Longmont Times Call, Greeley Tribune, Palisade Tribune, and the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. In 1993 she published her first book, “Gardening in the Mountain West.” She went on to publish a second volume of her first book along with a book titled “Now is the Time,” and a fourth book, “Gardening for Children and their Grandparents.” As part of her training in the Master Gardener program, Barbara was directly involved in public teaching and regularly sat for meetings and interviews regarding gardening and horticulture. The Carnegie Library for Local History, Boulder recorded an oral history interview with Barbara in 1994 where she discussed the CSU Horticulture Department, pesticide regulation, the city of Longmont, discrimination against women in horticulture, the master gardener program, and her book “Gardening in the Mountain West.” The opening paragraph of Gardening in the Mountain West highlights one of the reasons she felt so compelled to help people understand the value of the natural world and the impact they could have through the simple act of gardening. “[When considering how to renovate your home landscape] a feeling of hopelessness may ensue, but optimism usually returns when you begin to picture tall trees, lawn, shrubs and flowers, and perhaps, a vegetable garden or a swimming pool. Why do we risk a deflated bank account, blisters and sprains to achieve this picture? Psychiatrists have a name for it. They call it “the primal association.” It means that even if you have been born and reared surrounded by asphalt, concrete, glass and steel, there is a pre-history, primitive part of you that associates with a green scene. You need plants around you to be totally comfortable.”

A Special Thanks

Boulder County Extension would like to thank Barbara’s children, Bill Hyde and Jane Sinton, and her daughter in-law, Marlene Hyde for providing photographs and some history regarding Barbara’s life.