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. Half 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?
We're still here to help you grow! The Kendall County Master Gardener Help Desk is available via email at this time.
Please send a detailed message with your question, and a volunteer will get back to you. Please see the tips below to guide your submission. We look forward to helping you!
General Help Desk Submission Tips:
- Email: email@example.com
- In addition to your question, please include as much additional information as possible:
- This could include planting date, age of plant, chemicals used, number of plants affected, where found, patterns, when symptoms were first noticed, etc.
- Please check your photos before submitting them. Are they clear and in-focus?
- When possible, please include a size reference in your photos (such as a pen, ruler, or a coin).
- For plant identifications, please include photos of the whole plant AND close-ups of plant parts.
- Parts may include leaves, flowers, roots, fruit, seeds, etc.
- Send a maximum of 10 images per sample/question.
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.
Master Gardener Training Classes
The fall 2019 training session is full. The next training classes are scheduled for fall of 2021 at the Extension office in Yorkville. Training is open to residents of Kane and Kendall Counties.
Instruction: The Master Gardener curriculum is taught by University of Illinois Extension educators. Attendance at all Master Gardener training classes is required. The topics covered in the classes include: botany, soils, woody ornamentals, basic entomology, tree fruits and small fruits, herbaceous ornamentals, and insect and diseases of plants. Quizzes are given after each class and a final exam (all open book) at the end of the training.
Training Dates: The fall 2019 class is full. The next training is tentatively scheduled for fall 2021. Classes are held one day a week, for 10 weeks, from 8:45 am - 3:30 pm.
Training Location: 2019 - U of I Extension, 535 S Randall Road, St Charles
2021 - U of I Extension, 7775 Route 47, Yorkville
Cost: A fee of $350 is charged to cover the class, the award winning Master Gardener Manual, and supplemental handouts. Class participants are required to volunteer 60 hours of time on approved projects.
Volunteering: In exchange for this excellent opportunity, Master Gardener program of Kendall County requires that you donate 60 volunteer hours in support of the program during the growing season. Thirty of these hours are spent answering gardening questions from homeowners at the help desk. An additional 15 hours are required at our Plant Sale. The remaining volunteer hours are spent on approved projects that interest the volunteer.
Registering: If you are interested in becoming a Kendall County Master Gardener click on the link above. An informational meeting will be held in June, watch your email in May for an invitation. All volunteers must fill out an application and be interviewed prior to being accepted into the program. Background screenings are required to participate in the program.
University of Illinois Extension is pleased to present these horticultural programs to your Kendall County group. To request a program please fill out a request form.
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.
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 clothing, tools, and methods.
Busting Garden Myths
There are so many recommendations and suggestions for gardening and plant care out there, but which are fact and which are fiction? A Master Gardener will walk you through some of the most common garden and plant myths give recommendations for better plant care.
Just what is beekeeping all about? What does it take to become a beekeeper? Led by Master Gardener, Hillard Bryant, this workshop will explore the biology of bees, beekeeping benefits and how humans can help honeybee populations. Find out what you need to get started in this exciting hobby.
Garden History in England and Wales
View scenes of historic gardens in northern England and Wales in a PowerPoint presentation of an educational tour in 2016. Learn about the designs of landscape planners such as Capability Brown and Joseph Paxton. This is a rich man's sport; don't expect to see cottage gardens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
University of Illinois Extension is pleased to present these horticultural programs to your Kendall County group. To request a program please complete this form.
Requests should be made four weeks in advance in order to coordinate our volunteers’ schedules.
Groups of 25 or larger: $75
Groups of less than 25: $50
Local News, Events & Resources
Blog: Over the Garden Fence
Gardener's Corner - Fall 2020
Winter Series Open for Registration