Serving Franklin, Jackson, Perry, Randolph and Williamson Counties

If you enjoy learning about gardening and like 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 role of 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.

Become a Master Gardener

The Illinois Master Gardener program is coordinated by University of Illinois Extension, with consultation from local program partners.

When is the next training?

Summer (Online) Option- Extension is offering an online summer option that begins on June 1. Registration deadline for the summer program is April 6. The 2020 Master Gardener Online Training includes 13 modules - an introduction and 12 subject-areas. Module topics include: Botany; Soils and Fertilizers; Plant Diseases; Entomology; Integrated Pest Management; Annuals and Perennials; Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines; Lawns; Small and Tree Fruits; Vegetables; Composting/Organic Gardening; and Living with Wildlife. Each module consists of several videos and an online quiz, so a strong internet connection is highly recommended.  Learn more about the Master Gardener Online Program.

Fall (In-Person) Option- The fall program will be held on Tuesdays from Aug. 18 through Nov. 3. Each program will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Mees Center at John A. Logan College, 700 Logan College Drive, Carterville, IL.

Why become a Master Gardener?

The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is "Helping Others Learn to Grow." Master Gardeners involve people in improving the quality of life by helping them find sound management practices for home and urban natural resources, by creating aesthetically pleasing environments, by promoting well-being through people-plant interactions and horticultural therapy, and by contributing to a safe, abundant food supply through home fruit and vegetable production.

What qualifications must I meet?

Anyone can become a Master Gardener - it does not require a degree or years of experience.  You do, however, need to:  

  • have some knowledge or experience in gardening or landscape management (you need not be an expert)
  • be willing to learn about horticulture and share this knowledge with others
  • be willing to volunteer time conducting horticulture education programming coordinated through your local Extension unit

What is the program fee?

The Illinois Master Gardener course fee is $300 for the summer online training option or $200 for the fall in-person option.

This fee covers:

  • 12-week training, including over 60 hours of classroom instruction and field learning.
  • Master Gardener Manual
  • Assistance in finding a volunteer position that fits your personal interests, abilities, and time restraints for as long as you remain a Certified Master Gardener.
  • Continuing-education events and opportunities.

After an application is received and accepted, you will be notified of your payment options.

To become a Master Gardener:

1. Complete an application and submit it to your local U of I Extension office.

2. Attend an informal interview.

3. Pay $300 program fee, covering 12 weeks of online instruction and Master Gardener manual.

4. Complete the 12 weeks of training.

5. Complete the 60-hour volunteer internship.

6. Continue to volunteer 30 hours each year and attend 10 hours of continuing education programs.


There are many places you can find information about gardening tips, trends, and techniques. These resources are a few topics of interest to our local gardeners.