Serving Carroll, Lee and Whiteside Counties

Interested in Becoming a Master Gardener

If you enjoy gardening and like to learn to share your gardening knowledge, the Master Gardener program may be for you. All you need is an interest in gardening, an open mind, and a willingness to share your knowledge with others. The task to the Master Gardeners is to share unbiased, reliable, research-based information with home landscapers and gardeners. Another important function is to encourage young people to enjoy the pleasures of flower and vegetable growing.

Who We Are

Master Gardeners share unbiased, research-based horticultural information with home landscapers and gardeners. Another important function of the organization is to encourage young people to enjoy the pleasures of flower and vegetable growing through the Junior Master Gardener program. More information is also available on the State of Illinois Master Gardener website.

How To Become A Master Gardener

Contact your county Extension office. When a training is available applicants go through a screening and interview process. Attendance at all Master Gardener training classes is required to complete the training. Master Gardeners participate in more than 60 hours of classroom instruction on basic botany, vegetables, IPM, Entomology, Turf/Lawn, Annual & Perennials, Woodies & Vines, Soils, Plant Pathology, Fruits and Ornamental grasses. There is a fee for the Master Gardener training class to cover the manual and program costs.

Following the training sessions, Master Gardener interns are required to complete a 60-hour internship through approved volunteer services.

Certified Active Master Gardener

To maintain certified University of Illinois Master Gardener status requires a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of education annually and is valid for one year.

Annual Master Gardener Agreement Form

Master Gardener Training 2020

The University of Illinois Extension is pleased to announce that Master Gardener Training will be held with a flipped classroom style starting in September.  Interested people can apply now for the training.  Applications can be obtained by emailing or on the web at

To allow participants more flexibility during this training, we will be using a flipped classroom style training instead of the traditional classroom style of Master Gardener training. Each week, trainees will be given a reading assignment and a quiz like the classroom style training. What is unique is that instead of being in a class for 7 hours in one day, trainees will be given 2-4 videos to watch at their own pace before meeting online via zoom with the section instructor on Thursdays from 9-10:30 AM for discussion, review and follow-up. Training consists of 12 sessions (2 of which are optional) conducted on Thursdays, starting on September 3 and continuing through November 19. 

Coursework covers botany, soils and fertility, woody ornamentals/pruning, organic gardening, vegetables, annuals & perennials, fruits, insect identification and control, turf management, disease diagnosis and control, U of I resources, and more!

Once training is complete, participants join the existing Master Gardener volunteers in their county and serve the community, fulfilling the Master Gardner mission “Helping others learn to grow.” As volunteers, Master Gardeners make a difference in the community.

Pre-registration is required to attend Master Gardener Training. An orientation interview will be conducted with participants in advance of the class. Registration for the training is $175 to cover the cost of the manual. For more information about Master Gardener Training, contact Bruce Black at (217) 244-1923 or


Problems with your yard or garden? Are pests or weeds concerning you?  You have questions, we have answers!  Master Gardeners can help you with those gardening questions. They can assist in identifying problems and finding solutions.  Email your local extension office with your concerns and a Master Gardener will do the research and respond back.

Carroll County –

Lee County –

Whiteside County –