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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
  • Have a desire to help with community projects like those on the What We Do page, working behind-the-scenes or meeting the 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, such as those listed on the What We Do page.

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

  • 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