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

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

Due to a wonderfully enthusiastic response, all application slots have been filled and applications for the 2024 Master Gardener volunteer service class are now closed. To receive class notifications, join the Master Gardener class notification list. Thank you for your interest in the training and we look forward to seeing you in the Demonstration Gardens!

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.

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