Master Gardeners

Two people discussing a raised bed.

Master Gardeners are volunteers who have received over 60 hours of training from Extension Educators and State Specialists from the University of Illinois.  They receive training in order 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.

The Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer program sanctioned by the land grant institution in each state and functions as an extension of the college or university. In Illinois, the program is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension.

Serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties

In DeWitt, Macon and Piatt counties, Master Gardeners help people improve their lives by helping them find research-based management practices for home and urban natural resources, by promoting well-being through people-plant interactions and horticulture therapy and by contributing to a safe, abundant food supply through home fruit and vegetable production.

DeWitt County

The Master Gardener program in DeWitt grew by 93 percent from 2016 to 2018 and is still growing. Volunteers work with Extension staff to identify areas they wish to apply their knowledge in their communities from pocket gardens to youth programs.

Macon County

The Macon County Master Gardeners maintain a variety of gardens in the community including at the Decatur Public Library, Rock Springs Nature Center, and St. Mary's Hospital adult day services. They also volunteer with community partners such as Crossing Healthcare to help strengthen our community, Fairview Park for invasive species removal, and Rock Springs for Monarch Madness. They host events such as Gardening Insights and a the bi-annual Garden Walk. Every May shop a variety of plants at their Plant Sale.

Piatt County

Piatt County Master Gardeners volunteer to maintain gardens in downtown Monticello, the Monticello area community garden with Children's Sensory Garden, Allerton Park, Kirby Medical Center pollinator pocket, and at the historic Bryant Cottage. In the summer, you can find them at the Monticello Farmer's Market from 3 to 6 p.m. answering horticulture questions.They host a bi-annual Garden Walk and Gardeners' Day. 

Services Offered

Help Desk

Have a gardening question? Submit it to the Master Gardener Help Desk.

Speakers Bureau

Every year, Macon County Master Gardener volunteers speak to garden clubs, schools, businesses, churches, neighborhoods and civic organizations on a variety of topics from container gardening to invasive species. The Speakers Bureau is a wonderful resource that provides quality horticultural information to Central Illinois at no or low cost. Our Master Gardeners are happy to present these topics to community groups in the area. We can also tailor a presentation and topic specifically for your organization.

To book a presentation, please fill out a Speakers Bureau Request Form. Email the completed form to uie-dmp@illinois.edu or mail to Macon County Extension Office at 3351 N. President Howard Brown Blvd., Decatur, IL 62521. For more information or to have a paper form mailed to you, call 217.877.6042.

Annual Events

Gardening Insights

Since 2007, the Macon County Master Gardeners have hosted Gardening Insights, a fun day of horticulture classes for Central Illinois gardeners. Gardening Insights offers inspiring programs and speakers that send you to the garden with new ideas and the tools you need for spring planting. Participants can choose from from multiple class options that both beginning and expert gardeners will enjoy. Network with area gardeners, learn from industry experts, attend 3 sessions of your choice and a keynote speaker, enjoy a variety of topics covering current trends, shop a wide range of local vendors, and visit the Ask a Master Gardener help desk.

New for 2023, there will be a youth area! Adult attendees are welcome to bring youth for craft, STEM, cooking, and gardening activities. Plus a DIY pizza party! Lead by 4-H in a separate area. Please include children on the registration form of their guardian. Limited number of spots available!

February 25, 2023 | St. Paul's Lutheran Church | Decatur

Register

Plant Sale

Macon County Master Gardeners host a plant sale the first weekend of May at the Macon County Fairgrounds. Shop a variety of annuals, perennials, house plants, natives, succulents, hanging baskets, vegetables, tomato plants, herbs, and more! Shop for new-to-you supplies and tools at the Bargain Garden Shed.

Garden Walk

Enjoy a day in the garden! The Garden Walks of Macon and Piatt counties are self-guided tours of selected home and community gardens. Each garden space includes educational materials and showcases inspiring ideas and a variety of themes including native species, horticulture therapy, elaborate water features, sustainable practices, and more!

Garden Walks are a fantastic way to spend a leisurely day exploring new design ideas and growing tips. Macon County Garden Walk tickets are $10 in advance and available online or at the Macon Extension office starting May 2022. 

July 8, 2023

Piatt County Garden Walk | Monticello

Coming in 2024

Macon County Garden Walk | Decatur