Serving DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties

gardeners, leaf, rose, MG logo

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Program is a volunteer program open to anyone with the desire to learn and to share information with others about research-based landscape and gardening practices.

Master Gardeners reach into the communities with a variety of projects in partnership with local organizations, and they also staff the Master Gardener Help Desk by assisting residents with garden and landscape questions.

Volunteers participate in extensive training sessions conducted by University of Illinois Extension specialists and educators in horticulture, insects, diseases, grasses, woody and herbaceous ornamentals, and fruits and vegetables. The Master Gardener program provides 60 hours of horticultural training in return for 60 hours of volunteer time. Much of the first 60 volunteer hours must be completed at the Master Gardener Help Desk, which is open to the public during the growing season (see details below).

Need to contact the Help Desk?

Contact a Master Gardener volunteer during operating hours via phone or email. When they aren't on duty, you may email the Help Desk, or call and leave a detailed message with your question, name and phone number, and a volunteer will get back to you.  

April through October -- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

If you are a DuPage County resident and would like to receive information about the next Master Gardener training, please complete this Master Gardener Training Interest Form. You will be placed on our email list to receive information about the next informational meeting and the application process.

To become a Master Gardener, you must attend the orientation meeting where you will learn about our program and how to apply. The horticulture staff reviews all applications and an interview is required.

University of Illinois Extension is pleased to present these horticultural programs to your DuPage County group. To request a program please fill out the Request Form.

The “Annual” Report                         
Why limit yourself to marigolds when there are so many annuals for your garden?  This session will cover old favorites as well as some of the newer introductions.                          

Bloomin’ Bulbs
Flowering bulbs add color to our gardens from early spring to late fall, blooming in many colors, shapes, sizes and heights. Tips on common and not so common bulbs and their allies including colors, planting, watering issues, and pointers on their use as cut flowers will be discussed.

BodySmart Gardening
The effects of gardening on our bodies can make it more of a chore than a pleasure. This lesson will help one garden "smartly" with emphasis on approved methods to reduce stress and strain on the body.  Learn some clever tips and tricks to help you safely, comfortably and efficiently complete your garden tasks. (non—PowerPoint)

Care of Holiday Gift Plants—NEW
How do you take care of those holiday gift plants after the holidays?  Learn about the varieties and care of these colorful plants. (non—PowerPoint)

Color in Your Garden  
Basic landscape design on how to assimilate plants, color, texture and design in your garden using the color wheel.

Composting: Building Your Garden from the Ground Up
This program touts the benefits of composting.  Improve the health and vitality of your garden by using the organic matter generated in your home and yard.  

Don’t Use the Worst First:  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the Home Gardener         
Learn environmentally friendly pest management techniques and receive advice on the safe use of pesticides in the garden.

Enjoying Birds and Butterflies in Your Yard - NEW
Welcome birds and butterflies into your yard using bird feeders and/or "the natural way" with easy to grow plants and shrubs.

Fairy Gardens
Unlock the mystery into the magical world of Fairy Gardening!  This program is designed to inspire you to create your own miniature garden (inside or out) where gnomes, fairies, elves and other wee folk can frolic.  It covers the basic folklore of this age old form of gardening, as well as ideas in design, construction, use of creative containers, plant material choices and of course, accessories.  It's a whimsical look into the world of fantasy!

Garden Calendar by Season
Offered as Garden Calendar for Spring, Fall, or by months, this program discusses necessary tasks in the garden depending on the season.   

Garden Design                                      
The garden is conceptualized by how an individual wishes to experience it.  Design trends and  basic color design are explored to determine what we think we want to achieve.  Learn basic concept tools to accomplish your goals.

Good Guys in the Garden: Attracting Beneficial Insects
What is ailing your plants?  How can you tell the good bugs from the bad bugs?  Get tips on attracting beneficial insects to the garden and other pest management options.            

The Herb Patch
Whether you’re a new or advanced herb gardener, this program offers information useful in selection, care and uses of a variety of herbs.  (non—PowerPoint)

Lawn and Garden Weeds
Learn the key characteristics of 22 common lawn and garden weed species found in Illinois.  Proper weed ID is essential in order to achieve effective weed management.

Monarch Magic
Discover the magic of the monarch butterfly: its lifecycle and unbelievable migration to Mexico.  Learn what makes this butterfly so special, what obstacles it faces and how everyone can be part of the solution!  

Native Plants for All Seasons
Discover the advantages of using prairie plants in the home landscape.  Plants are categorized for the garden by the month when they reach their peak. 

Right Plant, Right Place: Healthy Plants with Less Maintenance - NEW
Get some helpful tips on how to select and care for your plants with less work.  making good choices from the start will help you enjoy your garden more.

Seed Starting:  Giving Your Garden a Head Start     
Jump-start the spring growing season.  Learn about the equipment and methods used for starting seeds indoors.  This program offered in winter and early spring only.

Tea Gardens—NEW
Learn the history and tradition of tea gardens.  Discover the different types of tea gardens and plants to grow for your very own special space.

Vegetable Gardening
Learn the basics of vegetable gardening: preparation of the soil, choosing the right location and selecting plant varieties to help you successfully grow your own vegetables.

Viva les Vines!
Maximize your garden space by growing up.  Learn all about vines, the support structures they need and some of the best perennial and annual vines for our growing area.

Winter Sowing
Learn this easy method of seed starting. Seeds are planted in "mini greenhouses" during the cold winter months, germinate outside, and are ready to transplant once the ground thaws.

Local Events, News & Resources

'Tis the Season to Start Composting

his fall, trade in your piles of yard bags for a process that pays you back in great soil for your yard and garden – composting.

Community Garden Webinar Series

Proper planning is needed to create a successful community garden. Check out this Illinois Extension webinar series.

Podcast: Green Side Up

Tune in to learn about what's happening outside. Host Richard Hentschel tackles seasonal topics and tips in this bi-monthly podcast.

Blog: Over the Garden Fence

Horticulture Educator Richard Hentschel provides professional insight weekly to help you grow.