The Virginia Master Gardener Program

What is an Extension Master Gardener?

The Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a national program of trained volunteers, working in partnership with county Cooperative Extension offices, to provide education to the community in a wide range of home gardening, horticultural and sustainable landscape management topics. The first Master Gardener program was started in Washington State in 1972 and is now active in all 50 states.

Master Gardeners are required to perform a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of continuing education annually. 

Volunteer Programs

Master Gardener volunteer activities include:

  • providing horticultural information to citizens who call or visit Extension offices
  • conducting in-school gardening projects
  • educating the public in community gardens
  • holding plant clinics and Extension information booths
  • presenting seminars and workshops on a variety of gardening interests

Master Gardener educational programs for the public are created in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension to meet the needs of the community.

Becoming a Master Gardener

Anyone with an interest in horticulture can apply for the Master Gardener program. To become a Master Gardener, a commitment to attend 60 hours of class time and complete 50 hours of volunteer time in the first year is required. 

The Master Gardener Training Course provides the opportunity to improve horticultural knowledge and skills to share with the public through organized volunteer activities. Training classes are held at the Hahn Pavilion at the Peggy Lee Hahn Horticulture Gardens at Virginia Tech and hands-on sessions are held at various other locations around the New River Valley.

Training classes meet two days a week and include the following topics:

Botany Home Lawn Safety
Soils Pesticide Safety & Use
Plant Propagation Proper Pruning
Home Vegetables Annuals & Perennials
Plant Problem Diagnosis Home Fruits
Landscaping & Ornamentals Trees & Shrubs
Integrated Pest Management Soil & Water Conservation
Abiotic Plant Stress Indoor Foliage