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The Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program is a training program for volunteer educators who are interested in spreading the good word about the best horticultural practices to others in the community. As a VCE-MG, you’ll meet and work with people who share your interests, have the opportunity to advance your horticultural knowledge by participating in seminars and special events, and to share your knowledge with interested members of our communities.


You’re a good candidate for the VCE-Master Gardener program if you:

  • Have an interest in horticulture; and
  • Enjoy sharing horticultural knowledge and teaching environmentally-responsible landscape and gardening practices to the general public.

Once you receive your certification, you will be asked to:

  • Act on behalf of VCE as a volunteer educator in the community
  • Take advantage of specialized, ongoing training through the VCE in environmental horticulture


To become a Master Gardener, you must attend at least 60 hours of classroom instruction and contribute 50 hours of volunteer services conducting VCE horticulture-based education programs.

The combined initial 110 hours must be completed in one year, and upon completion, you will earn the title of VCE-Master Gardener. VCE-Master Gardeners who wish to remain active after the initial year are required to contribute at least 20 hours of volunteer service each year in approved activities, and to participate in at least 8 hours of re-certification training annually.

Learning the Basics

Basic Master Gardener training includes at least 50 hours of classroom training in the following topics:

  • Basic botany
  • Soils and fertilization
  • Basic entomology
  • Plant pathology
  • Diagnosing plant damage
  • Pesticide use and safety
  • Plant propagation
  • Pruning
  • Indoor plants
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Fruits in the home garden
  • Lawns
  • Woody plants - care, selection & use
  • Herbaceous plants
  • Landscape design
  • Water quality and conservation

To find out more about  upcoming Master Gardener training classes, contact Jason Cooper at the Rockingham County Extension Office (540-564-3080) or send an email to