Master Gardeners

Virginia Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who work within their communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices though sustainable landscape management education and training. Learn more on the Virginia Master Gardener Facebook.

As an educational program of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), Virginia Master Gardener's bring the resource of Virginia's land grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University to the people of the commonwealth. Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners work specifically toward enhancing the environment through sustainable landscape practices, producing food in public and private gardens to improve human nutrition and food security, and using horticulture and landscaping to positively impact youth and improve the overall quality of life for Virginia citizens.

Become a Master Gardener

A Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener (VCE-MG) is a volunteer educator who acts on behalf of VCE to share knowledge and empower their community after receiving specialized training in environmental horticulture through cooperative programming with VCE. This is a program designed to deliver the scientific research and resources of Virginia’s land grant universities to assist the people of the commonwealth. Services include staffing the Master Gardener help desk, maintaining the demonstration gardens and presenting educational material through the speakers bureau, newsletters and social media, as well as outreach at clinics, markets and events.

Training consists of 50 hours of classroom instruction, followed by a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer time in approved programs during the first year. At the completion of both requirements, successful candidates will graduate as VCE-MGs. To maintain standing as an MG, each volunteer must complete 20 hours of service in approved programs and eight hours of continuing education every year following their graduation.

The Master Gardener program is open to all Chesterfield County residents and to Virginia residents outside of the county who choose to give their volunteer hours within Chesterfield. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status or any other basis protected by law.

Additional Horticultural Education

If you are looking for additional horticultural education, but are not interested in volunteering with VCE, please consider the Virginia Certified Horticulturist program offered through the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association (VNLA) or the horticulture technology program at Reynolds Community College.

  1. Application and Training
  2. Speakers Bureau

Applications and Training

2023 Master Gardener Class - Waitlist

Due to an enthusiastic response, all application slots have been filled for our 2023 class. For notifications and waitlist, add your name to the Master Gardner Class Waitlist. Thank you for your interest in the training and we look forward to seeing you in a future class.

2023 Training Dates (Jan. 19 – March 23, 2023)

The 2023 Master Gardener class will be held virtually on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and in-person on Thursdays from 4-7 p.m. (conditions permitting). Training will begin on Thursday, Jan. 19 and end on Thursday, March 23.

  • Mondays: 9 a.m. – Noon, Virtual (synchronous or asynchronous)
  • Tuesdays: 9 a.m. – Noon, Virtual (synchronous or asynchronous)
  • Thursdays: 4-7 p.m., In-person (Central Library, Classroom F)

The hybrid nature of our training allows us to blend the flexibility of virtual learning with the effectiveness of hands-on learning.

Monday’s and Tuesday’s virtual classes will be conducted on Zoom and can be joined live from 9 a.m. to noon. If your schedule prevents you from participating at that time, the classes will be available to view asynchronously later that day. All progress measurements (quizzes/tests) for this portion will be taken online.

Thursday’s in-person sessions will generally take place at the Central Library, Classroom F, directly across from the Cooperative Extension Office, from 4-7 p.m. Assessments for this portion may be conducted on site or online. Master Gardener trainees are responsible for all content presented. A maximum of two sessions can be missed and made up by attending another MG chapter’s equivalent session.

Fees and Materials

The fee for the course is $225, which includes the 500+ page VCE-MG Handbook and additional course materials. 

The training schedule includes classes in basic plant growth and development; fruits, tree and shrub identification; vegetables; weeds; diseases; insects; and related horticulture subjects. The class fee includes a kit of materials that will allow trainees to participate in hands-on activities guided by instructors in the virtual classes.

Questions? Call the Cooperative Extension Office at 804-751-4401 or email Kristi McCullough, volunteer coordinator, for more information.