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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 best horticultural practices  to others in the community. As a VCE-MG, you'll  meet and work with people who share your interests, and you'll have the opportunity to advance your horticultural knowledge by participating in seminars and special events.

Is the VCE-Master Gardener Program For You?

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 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

How to Become a Master Gardener

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

The combined initial 100 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, 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