Serving Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties

Carle Cancer Institute of Illinois (former Community Cancer Center)

407 E Vernon Ave, Normal, IL

The Healing Garden was created in June of 2015 to create an oasis of peace for cancer patients, their families, staff and the community as a whole. Master Gardeners are involved in assisting with planning, planting, educational lessons, and maintenance of the garden which includes a labyrinth (meditative walkway) and a butterfly garden to be viewed by patients receiving care.

children explore garden space at Community Cancer Center, Normal.

Extension Pollinator Garden

1615 Commerce Pkwy, Bloomington, IL

This project initially focused on container display gardens at the Extension office. It has evolved to provide examples of plants that support pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds. There are 2 display garden beds, one focuses on native plants while the other has more typical bedding plants (annuals and perennials) that attract various pollinators. There are also containers that are planted with various plants to attract pollinators. The containers are out seasonally. These gardens give visitors examples of what they might consider planting around their home gardens. Inside the lobby is a map and list of plants to help identify what is growing in the gardens. The gardens are designated a Pollinator Pocket and Monarch Waystation.

monarch caterpillar climbing down a stalk of milkweed

Friendship Garden

404 N Prairie St, Bloomington, IL

The Friendship Garden project is a partnership between the MarcFirst program Friends First and Master Gardeners. The program provides activities and support to people with various challenges. Several are in wheelchairs, some are non-verbal, and some have cognitive and physical challenges. They all enjoy being in the garden. 

In addition to the garden work, we also provide garden and nature based programs.  We have had programs on ladybugs, bees, butterflies, trees, garden salsa, garden pesto, and birds.

garden space at Friends First program site in Downtown Bloomington

Herb Garden at ISU Horticulture Center

Raab Road, Normal, IL

Since 2014, in cooperation with the ISU Horticulture Center, the existing herb garden was expanded and revamped by the Master Gardeners in cooperation with Horticulture Center staff. Master Gardeners continue to maintain the garden each year, as well as providing scheduled educational programs.

herb garden at Illinois State University horticulture center

Mecherle Healing Garden at Carle BroMenn

1304 Franklin Ave, Normal, IL

This is a multi-phase garden project. The meditative area will be used by patients, their families, hospital employees, volunteers and the neighboring community. The design focuses on a variety of smaller gardens including pollinator, sensory, shade and butterfly gardens with educational signage. Master Gardeners assist with design, planting, and educational programming.

fountain on rocks in garden space

Sarah's Garden at David Davis Mansion

1000 Monroe Dr, Bloomington, IL

This project blends preservation of the restored 1872 garden with educational horticulture programs. Master Gardeners care for the garden and learn about the unique plants with help from community volunteers and the Home Spun 4-H Club. Among educational efforts offered are a Plant Propagation Workshop, and both spring and fall garden activities for 3rd grade classrooms participating in the Mansion’s Better Home & Garden program. Garden tours are provided during Mansion events and educational activities are offered to visiting youth groups, garden clubs and bus tours. The Sarah’s Garden Committee meets monthly March through October to coordinate programs, garden care, seed collection, and the off-site reserve.

two master gardener volunteers water and weed a bed in the background of yellow heliopsis flowers

McLean County Junior Master Gardener Projects

Bloomington Junior High Garden Club

Master Gardeners assist students in planning, planting and maintaining various horticultural projects throughout the academic year.

junior high students carrying water to garden plots

Children's Discovery Museum

101 E Beaufort St, Normal, IL

Master Gardeners provide ways for children and families to explore pollination, butterflies, ladybugs, seeds and more.

Holton Homes Junior Master Gardeners and
Nature Workers 4-H SPIN Club

Master Gardeners use raised beds and self-irrigating planters to raise vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers for Holton Homes and John Kane residents. Holton Homes and John Kane Senior Homes are both part of the Bloomington Housing Authority's group of public housing located in southwest Bloomington. Master Gardeners work with area youth and seniors to raise, harvest, and distribute produce to the community's residents. In Spring and Autumn, we provide education to youth at after-school programs held at the Holton Homes computer lab. The seniors at John Kane Homes provide input to Master Gardeners and work with us during weekly garden maintenance and harvesting and are the primary recipients of our fresh produce.  Master Gardeners also team up with U of I Extension Nutrition experts and BHA to offer an annual breakfast for the seniors where fresh produce is  showcased.

children walking among sweet corn and tomato cages

LeRoy School Garden

805 N Barnett St, Le Roy, IL

Master Gardeners lead a weekly after school gardening program for students.

pale purple coneflower on display in front of elementary school sign

Unity Community Center

632 Orlando Ave, Normal, IL

Weekly lessons and activities are held for kindergarten through grader 5, during Spring and Fall. The Children’s Garden, initially planted primarily with vegetables, was recently transitioned to an ABC garden of perennials, annuals, and herbs. Children help with planning, planting, and maintenance of the garden. In turn, the garden provides a living observatory where children see what’s blooming, helps them to identify types of butterflies and their preferred flowers, recognize good and bad bugs, and differentiate weeds from flowers. All while surrounded by other winged and four-legged garden visitors.

In addition to garden activities, MG volunteers provide a weekly lesson on topics related to insects, birds, pollinators, plant anatomy, seeds, bulbs, propagation, soil, trees, and more. Each lesson is followed by a fun activity for children to do, including creating artwork that is displayed in the garden.

unity community center garden