Master Gardeners

Master Gardener Logo with Yellow flower

The Maryland Master Gardener Program

Mission: Educate Maryland residents about safe, effective, and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities.

A Master Gardner plants in a raised garden bed with the help of two students

History: The Maryland Master Gardener Program was started in 1978 as a means of extending the horticultural and pest management expertise of University of Maryland Extension to the general public. The Master Gardener Program both nationwide and in Maryland, trains volunteer educators to go out into their own communitites to extend the services, programs, and expertise of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR). Master Gardeners are volunteer representatives of the University of Maryland.  Today, this popular program can be found in 18 Maryland counties, Baltimore City, and two Maryland prisons. 

Judges bend down to examine a fine community garden

Getting Involved:  Interested parties apply to their local Master Gardener Program prior to the beginning of classes (in Baltimore City classes begin in January of each year, applications open in June/July of the year before).  If accepted into the training program, participants receive 40-50 hours of basic training from University of Maryland professional. Upon completions of training, the Master Gardeners Interns will have the resources and knowledge to go out into their communities and teach others how to cultivate garden spaces and manage landscapes sustainably by using research-based information.  This environmental horticulture approach reduces fertilizer and pesticide us resulting in imporved soil and water quality.

Master Gardeners typically work in group-directed teams and committees with trainees mentored by senior Master Gardeners.  Typical activities include:

•  Environmental gardening demonstrations and classes

•  Plant clinics/ Ask a Master Gardener which focuses on diagnosing plant pests and problems with a focus on sustainable nontoxic soluntions

•  Individual phone and site consultations

•  Composting classes and demonstration sites

•  Speakers' bureaus that make public presentations

•  Youth gardening

•  Community gardening and beautification

•  Information booths at fairs and festivals

•  Advanced training/continuing education

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Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2017.