I have always had an interest in becoming a Master Gardener since I was a child. Getting an opportunity to expand on my gardening knowledge is always very exciting. Most of the things I have learned about gardening have come from either trail and error, by talking to other gardeners, or from reading books and magazines.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, here is what Brenda Cole from Norfolk Gardening Examiner has to say:

This article was written for becoming a Master Gardener in the Commonwealth of Virgina. Although the basics are probably the same for every state, please check with your local cooperative extension office for details pertaining to your particular state.

What is a Master Gardener?

Existing as a volunteer program each in local community the Master Gardener program is an educational partnership between Virginia Cooperative Extension and the citizens of the Commonwealth which provides research-based information from both Virginia Tech and Virginia State Universities.These citizens assist their local cooperative extension offices in educating the public in general gardening practices, as well as, the proper use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Each city manages its own program which is usually restricted to residents of that city, in some cases city employees can become a Master Gardener in the city which they are employed. Master Gardener programs teach citizens how to beautify their communities, volunteers learn the art and science of horticulture, how to protect air and water quality, and maintain our environment for future generations. The education programs focus on concepts related to sustainable landscape management, the implementation of landscape practices that promote the responsible use of natural resources in a manner that is environmentally, economically, socially and psychologically sustainable.

People join Master Gardeners for many reasons:

  • To enrich your own horticultural knowledge.
  • Help other gardeners solve their gardening problems.
  • Answer questions from novices and experienced gardeners.
  • Participate in projects that educate and beautify our community.

Is a Master Gardeners program is right for you? It is if you answer yes to the following:
  • Are you interested in attending ongoing horticultural classes, workshops and lectures?
  • Want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
  • Do you look forward to sharing horticultural knowledge with my community?
  • Will my schedule allow time to attend training and to complete the volunteer service?
  • Can you promote environmental landscaping by helping homeowners reduce chemical use and protect our water sheds and wetlands?
  • Would you like to teach youth about good gardening practices thru schools and community centers?

To become a Master Gardener you must sign up for a program in your city, complete 50 hours of horticulture instruction and complete up to 50-hours of internship within 1 year of completion of your training. To remain an active Master Gardener, continue teaching in the community, each city has a set number of hours, and attend at least 8 hours of approved training yearly.

Participating in a Master Gardeners Program is a wonderful opportunity to learn about gardening in Virginia, and to share that knowledge with others.
Although this is for the state of Virginia, most Master Gardener programs are very similar. Check with your local cooperative extension office about the Master Gardeners Program in your area.

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