Master Gardeners

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.


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.

How To Become A Master Gardener

 Apply online for the next training. When the training becomes available a staff member will contact you. Applicants will then go through a screening and interview process.  

Hybrid Master Gardener Training with live sessions is offered annually. Participants will study online each week and then attend a weekly live webinar session online or at their local Extension office on Tuesday mornings from 9-Noon for 12 weeks. (2023 training | September 12-November 28)

“Our hybrid training is a great opportunity for folks who need more flexibility to participate,” said State Master Gardener Specialist Candice Hart. “The online portion of this hybrid model gives more flexibility for trainees to learn at their own pace each week and also participate in weekly live interactive webinars with their fellow trainees.”

The training includes videos, a Master Gardener manual, reading materials, and quizzes. Participants will join online or in person on Tuesdays depending on local regulations. A strong internet connection is highly recommended. 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 20 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of education annually and is valid for one year.

Online Option Available
Illinois Master Gardener Online Training is a self-paced online course for those interested in learning all about gardening in Illinois. Upon training completion, those interested get the opportunity to apply for your local Extension Master Gardener program when their application period opens. Next training begins June 12, 2023.
Learn more

Master Help Desk


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:   E-mail | Phone 815-244-9444

Lee County:   E-mail | Phone 815-857-3525

Whiteside County:  E-mail | Phone 815-632-3611   
Master Gardener available Mondays, or leave a message.