Baltimore County Master Gardeners

The Maryland Master Gardener vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship.  We support this vision by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities.

Baltimore County Master Gardeners are county residents who receive extensive horticulture training and commit to be volunteer partners by helping the university educate residents to be better gardeners and improve their environmental stewardship.

We assist county residents with home gardening and landscaping through several approaches.

For more information contact the University of Maryland Extension office at 410-887-8090. 

PROGRAMS

DEMONSTRATION GARDEN

Demo Garden

 

The Baltimore County Master Gardeners maintain a large demonstration garden at the Baltimore County Agriculture Center.  The garden is set up for self-guided tours and is open any time from sunrise to sunset. The garden is broken up into different areas, each with a different educational theme:

  • Deer Resistant Garden 
  • Bay-wise Garden
  • Grow It Eat It (GIEI) Garden
  • Herb Garden
  • Turf Demonstration Area
  • Compost Demonstration Area
  • Children's Garden
  • Pollinator Garden 

 Be sure to grab a copy of a map of the garden on your way in and to stop at the mailboxes placed throughout the garden which are filled with educational materials to help you getter enjoy your visit.

MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEERS

Master Gardener Logo

 

 

 

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

Our mission is 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.

Master Gardeners are county residents who receive extensive horticulture training and commit to be volunteer partners by helping the university educate residents to be better gardeners and improve their environmental stewardship.

 We assist county residents with home gardening and landscaping through several approaches:

  • Environmental gardening demonstrations, workshops, and lectures
  • 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
  • Sharing horticulture news and tips on our Facebook Page.
  • Technical assistance for community gardening and beautification projects
  • Information booths at fairs and festivals
  • Therapeutic horticulture programs.

 

GET GARDENING ANSWERS

Are you wondering why your garden won’t thrive? Or are you just looking for new, creative ideas to incorporate into your garden? If so, we have many opportunities for you to speak with faculty and trained volunteers to learn how you can increase your vegetable garden yield, improve small fruit production, or ask questions on how to make your flower garden blossom.  Some of the topics we can help with include:

Help with Garden Soil Sampling Insect and Pest Identification
Plant Disease Identification Resources for Planning Your Garden
Weed Identification Best Practices for Lawn Care
                                            And so much more!

Baltimore County Master Gardeners can help you find one-on-one help for your landscape through numerous ways:

Submit your questions electronically to our Master Gardeners who are on hand to answer your questions and assist with any gardening need.  Ask An Expert

View our helpful video tutorials at our Extension YouTube Site.  Videos are added throughout the year so please subscribe to our site so you can be the first to know when we add new content.  

Speak with trained Master Gardener Volunteers at one of our many Ask a Master Gardener Plant Clinics throughout the county. Volunteers will be available at these Plant Clinics to answer your questions and provide you the support you need for your garden.

Contact the University of Maryland Extension office in Baltimore County at 410-887-8090.  

BAY-WISE LANDSCAPING

The Maryland Bay-Wise Program focuses on water quality. Our Goal is to help Maryland residents improve the quality and quantity of water here in Maryland. 

The Bay-Wise Program hopes to teach residents to:

  • Fertilize Wisely
  • Water Efficiently 
  • Mow Properly
  • Control Stormwater Runoff
  • Mulch Appropriately
  • Recycle Yard Waste
  • Manage Yard Pests with Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Plant Wisely
  • Encourage Wildlife
  • Protect the Waterfront

Baltimore County Bay-Wise Master Gardeners

The Baltimore County Master Gardeners are available to provide Bay-Wise Landscaping information in the following formats.

  • One-on-one site visits to help county residents qualify to have their landscapes certified as Bay-Wise using the MD Yardstick, see below.
  • Classes and lectures to community groups and businesses.
  • Teaching youth in schools/community projects.
  • Staffing information booths at community fairs.

If you would like to have Baltimore County Master Gardeners visit your property for certification, please complete the Bay-Wise Application and Yardstick and mail them using the contact information on the forms.  You may always contact us directly at bcmgbaywise@gmail.com.

 

 

Watch this video for an overview of the Bay-Wise program.

CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

SPECIAL EVENTS

GARDEN FEST - SATURDAY, AUGUST 7TH  10 A.M. TO 3 P.M.

Garden Fest is back!

Held in the Baltimore County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden on August 7th, this annual event in conjunction with the Hereford Junior Farm Fair offers a terrific time to visit. Baltimore County Master Gardeners will be out in full force, on hand to guide you through any or all of our garden areas and to answer those pressing gardening questions. The Demonstration Garden includes a Children’s Garden, Bay-Wise Gardens, a Pollinator Garden and Monarch Waystation, Grow-It-Eat-It plots, an Orchard, an Herb Garden, Deer Resistant Gardens, and a Composting area. Expertise, information, and activities will be available throughout the gardens.

If you haven’t been to the event, it is a great day of animal shows, demonstrations, and exhibits, along with vendors and food trucks. And this year is extra special because it will be the farm fair’s 75th year. For more on this check out the Hereford Junior Farm Fair website, https://herefordjrfarmfair.org/.

 

MAILING LIST

Join our mailing list to find out more about the specific educational programs we offer to the public in Baltimore County or to find out more about our Master Gardener Volunteer training program.  

SPEAKER'S BUREAU

Master Gardeners are available to speak on many topics for your garden club, church, business, community and neighborhood organizations.  An honorarium of $100 is suggested.

The current list of Speakers' Bureau topics appear below.

Please email Sara Yosua (BCMGSpeakers@gmail.com) for more information.

Bay Wise

Bay Wise Landscaping
Did you know that everyone in Maryland lives within half a mile of a stream, rivers, or storm drain that ultimately leads to the Chesapeake Bay?  The practices we use in maintaining our lawns and landscapes can affect the health of our local waterways and our environment.  Learn about the Maryland Bay-Wise Program along with gardening and landscaping practices anyone can implement in order to have a positive impact on the Chesapeake Bay. 

Who Polluted the Chesapeake?
In this activity, children of all ages participate in a 20-30 minute interactive story to learn how rivers become polluted over time as human populations have increased and land uses have changed. This example demonstrates that just as we each contribute to the problem, we can also each be part of the solution.

Grow It Eat It

Vegetable Gardening Basics
This presentation covers a range of topics related to growing vegetables, including starting your first garden through advanced techniques and tips to extend the season, preventing and managing pests and diseases, growing food in containers, and get the most from your garden.  Speakers can easily tailor this presentation to thoroughly cover your group’s particular needs/interests.  

Vegetable Gardening - Beyond the Basics
Learn about advanced techniques in vegetable gardening such as succession planting, crop rotation, and soil testing.  Speakers can easily tailor this presentation to thoroughly cover your group’s particular needs and interests.

Vegetable Container Gardening 
All you need to know about containers:  types of containers, fertilizers, compost, type of soil-less mixes, watering, how to plant, what to plant, and how to maximize your harvest.

Raised Bed Gardening
Why should gardeners install raised beds? This presentation shows the advantages of using raised beds for both the garden and the gardener.  Raised beds extend the growing season, bring order to the garden, and keep problems away from the vegetables. Explore the different types of materials to use to create raised beds, and get great ideas for your garden. Directions for building your own raised bed are also included.  

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) in the Vegetable Garden
Learn the best organic gardening practices to improve production and combat pests in the garden. The presentation has four components: cultural, physical, biological and chemical strategies.

Waking up Your Garden
This session is designed for presentation in late winter and early spring (February to early May). The speaker will share the best practices that will give plants and gardens the best start for a strong growing season.  

Winterizing Your Garden
This session is designed for presentation in late summer and early autumn (September to November). The focus is on applying best practices to ensure soil and plant health through the winter for minimal work and fewer pest and virus issues in the spring.

Introduction to Home Composting
Learn about the environmental benefits of composting and how you can easily reduce waste at home. Let Master Gardener educators instruct you on different types of composters and composting. Learn how to make a worm-composting bin and how to compost with green waste (grass clippings, young weeds, etc.) and brown waste (twigs, paper, dead plants, leaves, straw, etc.).

Herbs

Growing Herbs Indoors
This nuts and bolts seminar discusses how to successfully grow herbs indoors by seed, tip propagation, or transplant. Topics include proper containers, appropriate growing mediums, necessary environmental controls (temperature, humidity, air circulation), lighting options, and a healthy water/fertilizing regimen.  

Mother Nature’s Pharmacopeia
This presentation explores the history of pharmacology and the use of herbs as medicine both in the past and in the present. Truth be told, science has done much to validate what the ancients practiced all along. The everyday herbs we cook with are as healthful as they are tasty.

Herbs Native to North America
Herbs native to North America were (naturally!) used by Native Americans. Interestingly, while Europeans developed a strong culinary herb tradition, Native Americans primarily used herbs as medicine. This seminar explores the herbal legacy of North America, a landmass as rich as it is wide in useful plants. Full of lore and legacy, this chat is as entertaining as it is informative. And that ain’t no sassafrass!

Miscellaneous

Lawn Alternatives, A Mid-Atlantic Experience [NEW TOPIC]
It is important for American homeowners to understand the true cost of turf grass lawns and the many benefits of reducing those areas in our properties. This talk will explain why turf grass is a poor groundcover in Maryland's climate and will discuss alternatives to replace unused areas of turf grass. Recommendations for low maintenance plants, from low-mow fescue grasses to native plants as groundcovers, along with fun hardscaping ideas will be explored. Real life examples are given on many of the successful strategies to replace lawn areas.

Creating a Deer Resistant Garden [NEW TOPIC]
Are deer using your yard as their personal cafeteria?  In this presentation you will learn about Maryland’s white-tail deer and how to co-exist with them in your garden. Included are a list of deer resistant plants for sun and shade, ways to manage landscape damage, and how to recognize and avoid Lyme disease.  

Ask a Master Gardener - Special Victims Unit
Slide presentation and discussion on any particular topic a group might request.  

Interesting Plants for Shade Gardening
Are you interested in lighting up a shady corner of your garden? Learn about many different plants that can bring structure and light to areas that otherwise go unnoticed.  Many new perennials and shrubs are covered in addition to the high performers that no shade garden should be without.  

Simple Plant Propagation
Learn the basics of seed starting, layering, cultivating self-sown seedlings, division, and soft woodcuttings to create more plants for your garden or to share with friends. Division is also necessary for most plants over time, so this presentation will help you keep your garden healthy, expand your beds, and give you more plants to share.

Gardening for Kids
This is a hands-on program for kids age 5 to 11 that presents the parts of a plant, what a plant needs to grow, how plants grow from seeds, and which parts are edible.  Kids get to decorate a pot, fill it with soil, and plant a seed, seedling, or small plant to take home and watch grow.   

Native Plants

Native Plants in the Landscape
What are native plants, and why should we include them in our landscapes? This presentation will define and describe native plants and explain why they are beneficial to wildlife and local ecosystems. Gain a basic understanding of gardening with natives, including information about selecting and purchasing Maryland native plants and incorporating them into your own garden and landscape.

Invasive Plants - What Can We Do?
Some species of non-native plants have established themselves in our area and become invasive problems, threatening the biodiversity of our natural ecosystems. Learn about common invasive plants in Maryland and how to identify them. We’ll discuss the history of how they arrived on the scene, the characteristics that give them a competitive advantage, and the negative impacts on our local ecosystems.

Landscaping with Native Ferns (Versions range from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours)
Do you want to fill your landscapting with lush masses of beautiful native ferns?  Would you like to discover which speces thrive in the shade or part sun, in moist or dry soil?  Are you looking for showy ferns for your summer garden, maybe even some that will also provde winter interest?  How can you choose the right species for your landscaping?  This talk covers reasons to plant native ferns and details on more than a dozen species, including growing requirements, aesthetics and landscape uses.

Landscaping with Native Graminoids:  Grasses, Sedges and Rushes (Versions range from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours) [NEW TOPIC]
Would you like to learn about gardening with attractive native grasses, sedges and rushes?  Would you like to know how these beautiful workhorses can improve the look and functioning of your landscaping?  What about avoiding bad actors?  This talk covers reasons to plant native graminoids, and describes several species, including growing requirements, aesthetics and landscape uses. 

Plant Identification

Trees in the ‘Hood
In this presentation, you will become acquainted with thirty-five trees commonly found in Greenspring Valley, Baltimore County, learn identification techniques, and be introduced to Latin naming conventions.  Other topics to be addressed include ornamental features, suitability for use in a landscape, potential diseases and insect problems, commercial uses, and how to distinguish natives from look-alike non-natives.

Weeds in the ‘Hood
This presentation identifies about 20 common lawn weeds and discusses various approaches to lawn care including the use of herbicides.

Pollinator & Beneficial Insects

The Monarch Butterfly
This talk will answer the following questions: What makes Monarchs so unique? Why are Monarchs at risk? What are the life stages and the different generations of Monarchs each season? How do you rear Monarchs? What can we do to help the Monarchs?  This talk may include a Monarch tag and release, depending on the season (extra fee involved).

Gardening for Pollinators [NEW TOPIC]
This presentation focuses on how plants attract pollinators, what pollinators need from plants and look for in plants, best gardening practices for attracting pollinators to the garden.  During the presentation the speaker will suggest some specific plants for spring, summer and fall bloom to encourage different types of insect pollinators.  

Native Bees in Maryland [NEW TOPIC]
Learn about the different native bees in our area, where they live, and what they need to survive in our world.  This talk touches briefly on the threats to bee survival and provides guidance on gardening practices to promote healthy bee habitat. 


Mason Bees [NEW TOPIC]
This presentation will introduce the blue orchard or mason bee.  This solitary, gentle native bee is a highly efficient, early-season pollinator.  The life cycle of the mason bee, how to construct bee house habitat, and steps to increase its population will be discussed.