Promoting Environmentally Sound Horticulture Practices
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.
Master Gardener Requirements
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.
Master Gardener Application and Training
The Master Gardener class is a rewarding service-learning opportunity. Thank you for your interest in the training and we look forward to seeing you in the garden!
2024 Master Gardener Class - Applications Closed
2024 Training Dates (Jan. 4 – March 28, 2024)
The 2024 Master Gardener class will be held virtually on 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. 4 and end on Thursday, March 28. A maximum of one session can be missed and made up by attending another master gardener chapter’s equivalent session.
- Tuesdays: 9 a.m. – Noon, Virtual (synchronous or asynchronous)
- Thursdays: 4-7 p.m., In-person (Central Library, Classroom F, or field trip location)
The service internship year begins upon passage of the final exam and concludes in December.
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 and vegetables, tree and shrub care, weeds, diseases, insects, and related horticulture subjects.
Master Gardener Speakers Bureau
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. Requests will be filled based on volunteer Master Gardener availability.
Suggested Year-round Topics:
- Community Gardens
- Container Gardening
- Importance of Native Plants
- Soil Care for Gardens
- Sustainable Gardening
Suggested Spring Topics:
- Attracting Pollinators
- Gardening to Attract Birds and Butterflies
- Importance of Bees
- Monarch Butterflies
- Vegetable Gardens
Suggested Summer Topics:
- Fall Lawn Care
- Fall Vegetable Gardening
- Heirloom Plants
- Summer Flowers
Suggested Fall Topics:
- Planting Spring-blooming Bulbs
- Planting Trees and Shrubs
- Preparing the Garden for Winter
- Tool Care
Suggested Winter Topics:
- House Plants
- Planning Your Spring Garden
- Seed Starting
- Wreath Making
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.
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.