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.
Applications and Training
2023 Master Gardener Class - Full for 2023
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.
The Chesterfield Cooperative Extension Office offers presentations to interested garden clubs, civic organizations, homeowner’s associations and other community organizations in Chesterfield County. These presentations are given by Chesterfield Master Gardeners and/or by Cooperative Extension staff and are approximately 30 to 45 minutes in length.
Presentations can cover a range of topics including, but not limited to, the suggested available topics. These topics are listed by the suggested presentation season but are all available year-round upon request.
Suggested Year-round Topics:
- Community Gardens
- Container Gardening
- Cooking with Herbs
- Invasive Species
- Planting Natives
- Seed Saving
- Soil Care for Gardens
- Sunflower Class
- Sustainable Gardening
- Youth Gardening
Suggested Spring Topics:
- Bees and Pollinators
- Garden Pests
- Summer Container Gardening
Suggested Summer Topics:
- Fall Lawn Care
- Fall Vegetables
- Heirloom Plants
- Summer Flowers
Suggested Fall Topics:
- Planting Bulbs
- Preparing for Winter
- Winter Container Gardens
Suggested Winter Topics:
- Raised Beds
- Planning Your Garden
- Starting with Seeds
- Vegetable Gardening
Scheduling a Presentation
To schedule a presentation, please complete the speakers bureau form by:
- Selecting Chesterfield Cooperative Extension - Master Gardeners in the Topic Requested field.
- The Cooperative Extension Topic Requested field will then appear.
- Select desired topic in the Cooperative Extension Topic Requested field.