Horticulture and Master Gardener

The Urban Horticulture program provides programs and resources to the residents of Talbot County in the areas of turf, woody plants, entomology, soil testing, native plants, invasive plants, pest management and identification. Trained Master Gardener volunteers and Extension faculty assist homeowners with landscape and gardening questions.

UME Home and Garden Information Center

Master Gardener

Our Vision

We envision a healthier world through environmental stewardship.

Our Mission

We support the University of Maryland Extension (UME) mission by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities.

Our History

The UME Master Gardener Program began in 1978 as a means to extend science-based knowledge to the general public by providing horticultural and pest management expertise to help protect and improve Maryland’s natural resources. Talbot County established a Master Gardener program in 2005.

UME Master Gardeners are volunteers who combine their love of plants, people, and the environment to help residents in their communities solve problems and make environmentally-sound decisions. Their work includes rain garden demonstration sites, Ask a Master Gardener services, and Bay-Wise best management practices for the community.

Become a Master Gardener

How Do I Become a Master Gardener?

You become a Master Gardener by successfully completing the Master Gardener 40-hour training program and then volunteering your time.

What Does a Master Gardener Do?

Master Gardeners help the University of Maryland Extension solve gardening problems and teach environmentally sound practices by:

  • Working in information booths at community events and fairs
  • Maintaining demonstration gardens
  • Answering garden questions at plant clinics
  • Teaching horticulture to beginning gardeners and youth
  • Using special talents, such as writing and photography, to benefit the program

How Are Master Gardeners Trained?

Master Gardener training classes are conducted annually by University of Maryland Extension. Through the training program, participants are taught many different horticultural subjects by specialists, educators, and other horticulture professionals. This classroom period covers 40+ hours of education.

What Are The Master Gardener Training Topics?

Master Gardeners are trained in the following topics:

  • Botany
  • Composting
  • Diagnosing plant problems
  • Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Flower gardening
  • Lawn care
  • Organic gardening
  • Pesticide use and safety
  • Soils and fertilizers
  • Tree and shrub care
  • Vegetable gardening

Other subjects of interest may be included.

What Does Master Gardener Training Cost?

Training costs are $200 for the basic training courses, and includes the Master Gardener Handbook. Cost covers materials and handbook for intern.

Who Do I Contact?

Please contact your local Master Gardener Coordinator according to the county of your residence:

Talbot and Caroline County- Mikaela Boley mboley@umd.edu

Kent and Queen Anne's County- Rachel Rhodes rjrhodes@umd.edu

Dorchester County- Emily Zobel ezobel@umd.edu

Bay-Wise Program


"Better water quality through smarter gardening"

Most Maryland residents live within a half-mile of a storm drain, stream or river. Most of those waterways eventually drain into the Chesapeake Bay. What we do to maintain our own landscapes can affect the health of our local waterways (drainage ditches, streams and rivers), the Chesapeake Bay and our environment. We all need to do our part to take care of our waterways and environment. By changing a few simple landscape practices, you and your family can help keep Maryland communities healthy.

The Maryland Bay-Wise Program is a homeowner education program conducted by Maryland Master Gardeners in several counties.

Bay-Wise Challenge

Take the Bay-Wise Challenge

How does your yard "measure up"? Contact the Bay-Wise Program at mboley@umd.edu to have Master Gardener volunteers give your residence a free consultation on better environmental practices. Taking the advice of our educated volunteers, you can even get your landscape Bay-Wise certified! This certification signifies bay-friendly environmental practices that you can be proud of, as well as earning official Bay-Wise signage:

Blue Bay Wise signage signaling a demonstration landscape

Become More Bay-Wise

Publications on how to improve your home, environment, and the Chesapeake Bay.