University of Maryland Extension

Master Gardener Program

Maryland Master Gardener Program

Our Vision: The Maryland Master Gardener vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship.

Our Mission: to support the University of Maryland Extension mission by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities.

Gardens and gardeners are more important than ever. Each and every one of our actions in the garden affects the greater ecosystem and the health of its inhabitants. In an ear of global warming, diminishing plant and animal diversity, threatened ecosystems and increased nutrient and pesticide pollution, we realize that everything we do in the garden counts.

Maryland has unique features that offer gardeners challenges and opportunities. In 2006, our total land base was 58% forest, wetland and water, 22% agricultural, and 20% developed. ( As the state becomes increasingly suburbanized, thousands of new landscapes are being carved out of farmland and forests. Most of these landscapes drain into the Chesapeake Bay, one of the countries most productive, yet threatened estuaries. We now know that our erodible soils, misapplied fertilizers, and overused pesticides may easily enter nearby tributary and ultimately affect the health of the Bay.

Master Gardener programs are active in all 50 states. They extend the expertise and knowledge of the Land-Grant University System to the general public. The Maryland Master Gardener Program was started in 1978 to provide outreach education to the public on subjects related to environmental horticulture and integrated pest management (IPM). The program trains and guides a large corps of dedicated volunteers – a driving force for helping the University of Maryland Extension achieve its mission and goals. UME is the outreach education arm of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Typical activities include:

  • Environmental gardening demonstrations;

  • Plant clinics (i.e,”Ask a Master Gardener”);

  • Compost demonstration sites;

  • Certification of Bay-Wise Landscapes;

  • Classes and workshops for the public;

  • Youth gardening projects;

  • Technical assistance for community gardening and beautification projects;

  • Information booths at fairs and festivals;

  • Therapeutic horticulture programs; and

  • Advanced Training.

Source “University of Maryland Master Gardener Handbook” January 2012

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