Baltimore County Master Gardeners

Our Mission

Baltimore County Master Gardeners support the University of Maryland Extension by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities.

Join Our Mailing List

Master Gardeners educate residents with home gardening and landscaping through:

  • Environmental gardening demonstrations, workshops, and lectures
  • Plant clinics 
  • 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

Demonstration Gardens

The demonstration gardens are on the grounds of the Baltimore County Agriculture Center located at 1114 Shawan Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030. Parking is free. 

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 

Newsletters and Handouts

Master Gardener Newsletter

 Our newsletter is published monthly.
A great source of local gardening information!

Current & Past Newsletters

Would you like receive our monthly
Master Gardener newsletter via email? 

Join Our Mailing List


"Here to Help You Grow"

"Here to Help You Grow" is our handout
given out at events. Check it out!

"Here to Help You Grow"

Would you like receive our monthly
Master Gardener newsletter via email? 

Join Our Mailing List

Speakers Bureau

Baltimore County Master Gardeners


Baltimore County Master Gardeners are available to speak on a variety of topics to your garden club, church, business, or or community organization. 

An honorarium of $100 is suggested. Please see the table below for our most requested topics. For more information, please email Patty Mochel -

Popular Speaker Topics:

Starting a Vegetable Garden Mother Nature's Pharmacopeia

Gardening in Raised Beds & Containers

Native Plants in the Landscape
Lawn Alternatives Gardening in the Golden Years

Full List of Speaker Topics

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.)


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 sassafras!

Special Interest

Gardening for the Golden Years [NEW TOPIC]
While gardening is fun and can keep you "young", the bending, lifting and digging can become more difficult as years go by.  This presentation will help reinforce the many benefits of gardening and will discuss:

*Keeping active and more safe as you garden
*Adapting gardens & tools
*Simplifying garden work through plant selection
*Planting & maintenance methods to streamline difficult tasks.

Lawn Alternatives: A Mid-Atlantic Experience 
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
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 landscaping with lush masses of beautiful native ferns?  Would you like to discover which species 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 provide 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.

Pollinators & 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).

Pollinators in the Garden
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
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 
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.

Bay-Wise Gardening

Baywise Certified Landscape

Bay-Wise Video

The Bay-Wise Program teaches residents to:

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

Bay-Wise Certification

Baywise landscape certification sign

    Steps for getting Bay-Wise Certified:

    PAPER FREE Application:

    (1) Fill out online a Bay-Wise Application below based on your property type. 

    (2) Implement the gardening practices and suggestions listed in the application.

    (3) Email your completed application to:

    Bay-Wise Maryland for Landscapes

    Bay-Wise Maryland for Food Gardens

    Bay-Wise Maryland for Small Space Gardens


    PAPER Application:

    (1) Download & print out a Bay-Wise Application below based on your property type. 

    (2) Implement the gardening practices and suggestions listed in the application.

    (3) Email your completed application to:

    Bay-Wise Maryland for Landscapes

    Bay-Wise Maryland for Food Gardens

    Bay-Wise Maryland for Small Space Gardens


    After we receive your application, a Bay Wise Master Gardener will call to set up a certification appointment on your property.

    Gardening Resources

    • gardening scoop filled with dirt among pots filled with dirt on a table


    • ask_extension thumbnail

      Ask a Garden Question