Kane County Master Gardeners

Take Your Love of Gardening to the Next Level


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.

Become a Master Gardener

Interested in volunteering? You do not need to be an experienced gardener to qualify. If you are looking for a way to give back and to grow your knowledge of horticulture, this may be the opportunity for you. 

If you are a Kane County resident and would like to receive information about the next Master Gardener training (tentatively scheduled for fall 2023), 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. 

The Master Gardener training includes 40 hours of horticultural training in a wide variety of topics. In return, trainees are required to volunteer 40 hours to the program, and staffing the Master Gardener Help Desk is required for the first 24 of those volunteer hours.

Learn more about Illinois Master Gardeners

Ask a Master Gardener

Help Desk Schedule
March to October | Monday-Wednesday-Friday | 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Other local resources

Master Gardener logo

Request a Master Gardener for a meeting or event

University of Illinois Extension is pleased to present these horticultural programs to educate and entertain your Kane County group. We offer a wide range of topics to reflect various seasons, gardening styles, and plants. 

View available topics and program summaries below. Contact Program Coordinator Danielle Stojan at (630) 584-6166 to schedule a class or series of classes, or fill out the Speaker's Bureau Program Request Form

Topic choices for presentations

University of Illinois Extension is pleased to present these horticultural programs to educate and entertain your Kane County group. Contact Program Coordinator Danielle Stojan at (630) 584-6166 to schedule a class or series of classes or fill out the Speaker's Bureau Program Interest form

General Garden Topics

Attracting Butterflies to the Garden

Brightly colored butterflies are not only an attractive addition to your garden, they are useful pollinators. Learn about Illinois butterflies and how to design your garden to attract them.

Be Happy and Healthy with Houseplants

Indoor plants can clean the air in the home and bring color and warmth to the décor. Discover which plants are the healthiest for you and how to select and care for the right plant for your space.

Body Smart Gardening

Gardening can be of the most rewarding activities with fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and expanses of lawns dotted with trees. However, gardening can take a toll on the body, whether you are young or old. This program will give your group steps to make gardening more enjoyable. Topics will include the gardener’s health, clothing, tools, and methods.


Discover the many benefits of home composting. A Master Gardener will discuss how to turn landscape waste into high-quality compost that you can use to enrich your soil.

Edible Ornamentals

Carrots in the front yard? Enhance the bounty of your landscape by growing and eating ornamental flowers, herbs, vegetables and vines that look and taste terrific.

Growing and Using Herbs

Herbs are a healthy way to introduce new flavors into your diet, new fragrances into your home and add texture to your garden. This class will discuss growing, collecting and preserving techniques for all kinds of herbs and offer suggestions for using herbs in cooking. This is one of our most popular, highly attended programs.

Insect Hotels

Did you know there are many insects that help control pests? In fact, they outnumber damaging insects, especially in the right habitat. We can greatly increase the number of beneficial insects in our gardens by providing a place for them to live and thrive. Insect hotels promote populations of the “good guys,” including pollinators. Lead by U of I Extension Master Gardeners.

Landscaping for Dogs

You can have a dog and a beautiful yard at the same time. A U of I  Master Gardener will present ideas on how to share your outdoor living space with your four-legged friends. The presentation will include tips for choosing plants, strategic plant placement, and dog-tolerant plants to create a place for both two and four-legged members of the family to play and relax.

Native Pollinators

Insects make up the vast majority of animals that pollinate plants. Find out how you can support our native pollinators in your own backyard.

Planning and Planting a Vegetable Garden

Feed your whole family the fruits and vegetables they enjoy from your own garden. From site preparation (size, location and soil) through harvest, a Master Gardener will give your audience the tips and tricks for successful vegetable gardening.

Planting Trees Properly

Research has revealed that incorrect planting is the leading cause of premature death in trees. Let a Master Gardener explain the latest methods of planting and provide information about tree selection and after-planting care.

Prairiescapes—Grow Native!

Discover the advantages of using prairie plants in the home landscape. Learn how to incorporate prairie plants into an existing garden, the fundamentals of starting a new prairie bed, why prairie plants have survived for 8,500 years, and how to be a part of preserving Illinois’ heritage.

Preparing Your Garden for Spring

Learn the seasonal chores that should be done in spring to get your garden off to a good start. Topics covered include planting seeds indoors and out, planting cool-season flowers, seasonal lawn care as well as watering, fertilizing, dividing and pruning.

Preparing Your Garden for Winter

End of season tasks prepare your garden for winter and make next season’s garden more successful. Topics include fertilization, watering and weed control, care of perennials, planting spring bulbs and more.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

Above ground growing systems provide for safe and fruitful production of backyard vegetables. A Master Gardener will discuss how to maximize your space, select soil, fertilizing tips and construction material options.

Seed Saving

Saving your own seeds is easy and free. A University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener will discuss how to save seeds from your own garden. Find out which seeds are worth the effort and which are not along with methods of cleaning and storing your seeds.

Seed Starting

Starting your own seedlings for the garden is a great way to save money and grow varieties of flowers, vegetables and other plants not usually found in stores or garden centers. A University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener will present tips on starting your own plants from seed, including soil preparation, container selection, lighting options and troubleshooting.

Selecting Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs are the backbones of a well-landscaped garden. Their shapes, colors, flowers, and fruits change with the seasons providing beauty throughout the year. Learn how to select the proper trees and shrubs for specific sites. This class is very popular with new homeowners.

Shade Gardening

Discover the joys of shade gardening. This program will discuss the different types of shade and the special care needed when gardening in the shade. Plus, how to select annuals, perennial bulbs, ground covers, and woody plants that will shine in the shade garden.

Summer Flowering Bulbs

Blooms from bulbs don’t have to end with fading tulips. Explore the many bulbs that contribute dazzling flowers and foliage in the summer garden. Learn how to care for these bulb beauties and their perennial companions.

Sustainable Gardening

Resilient gardeners deal with unpredictable issues to produce food that can sustain during challenging times. Health, diet, weather and financial situations are taken into account as Master Gardeners discuss sustainable gardening techniques. Learn concepts such as watering, soil fertility, seed selection, seed saving and harvesting and storage.

The Tomato Clinic: Diagnosing Tomato Troubles

Tomatoes are a garden favorite and easy to grow, but they can succumb to a variety of ailments. Prevent disappointing yields by learning how to identify common disease symptoms, nutritional disorders and insect pests. Growers will be armed with a prescription for tomato success.


Start making the richest soil around. Let worms recycle your kitchen waste and newspapers into something you can use. Vermicomposting is a great learning experience for kids and adults. Learn how to keep happy and productive worms that will create rich castings to use as fertilizer in your houseplants and garden.

Wildlife Habitats in Home Landscapes

No matter what size your yard is, you can create an environment that attracts and sustains beautiful and interesting wildlife. The sounds, activities and antics of wildlife are wonderful additions to the home landscape. Learn how to provide the proper food, water, cover and brooding sites to attract and maintain birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

Young Audience Topics

Butterfly Gardens

This program is aimed at 1-4 grades. With a PowerPoint presentation, we watch the life cycle of a butterfly and explore flowers that are nectar and host plants. We read a book about butterflies and plant seeds to start a butterfly garden at home.


The tree that stays green all year is the focus of this lesson for grades K-2. We compare and contrast leaves with evergreens, play a matching game of different evergreen samples, read a story about recycling a Christmas tree and make bird feeders out of pinecones.

From Seed to Pumpkin

This program, for grades K-2, and introduces the students to the life cycle of pumpkins. Using a felt board story, kids will sharpen observation and sequencing skills. We end with fun pumpkin facts.

Herman the Worm

Herman the Worm is a one-hour activity led by Master Gardeners and is designed to introduce K-5 students to worm anatomy, physiology, behavior, and basic composting. Students receive hands-on experience with living organisms by investigating a live worm with a magnifying glass, learn about worm anatomy with the help of an anatomical puppet, and discuss the role of worms in the environment.

Parts of the Plant We Eat

Did you know we eat tree bark? This lesson explores the different parts of plants and discovers where our food comes from. Includes reading a humorous story and a categorizing game. For kids K-2.

The Illinois Prairie

This lesson for K-2 is aimed at understanding native plants that once grew in abundance in Illinois. We discuss about the different types of prairies, their locations, and how rain affects the types. Kids will explore some individual plants that make up the prairie and learn how Native Americans used them. Each child receives a prairie plant seed to take home and grow.


Scheduling a Master Gardener Speaker
University of Illinois Extension is pleased to present these horticultural programs to educate your group. To request a program for your Kane County organization, please contact Program Coordinator Danielle Stojan at 630-584-6166 or stojand@illinois.edu.

Requests should be made four weeks in advance in order to coordinate our volunteers’ schedules. Please note: Speaker Bureau requests received on or after March 1 will be charged with the 2023 fee of $150 per Master Gardener presentation. Thank you. 

Meet our team

Resources for current Master Gardener volunteers