Extension Pollinator Garden


1615 Commerce Pkwy, Bloomington, IL

A project on container displays and pollinator gardens.

  • Container plantings are rotated seasonally to showcase planting demonstrations for each season.
  • The plantings in the pollinator gardens are divided into a bed of native plantings and a bed of traditional ornamental annuals and perennials that attract pollinators. 

Visitors can view a map of all plantings in the office lobby.

The gardens are designated a Pollinator Pocket and a Monarch Waystation.

Photo Credit: J. Dixon, McLean County Master Gardener

Grape Arbor at The Refuge Food Forest


701 E. Lincoln St., Normal, IL

The Grape Arbor at The Refuge Food Forest is the newest project of the McLean County Master Gardeners.

With so many methods available to grow healthy grapes, the McLean County Master Gardeners seek to demonstrate select techniques that are best for grape growing in the Midwest. Educational programs will provide information on site selection, vine training, grape variety selection, and management throughout the growing season.

A collaboration between University of Illinois Extension serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and Town of Normal, The Refuge Food Forest is a permanent food producing system: food grows on permanent plants such as fruiting trees and shrubs.

The food forest is a public space and all community members are welcome to weed and harvest independently or guided programs.
Visit The Refuge Food Forest to learn about upcoming programs.

Herb Garden at ISU Horticulture Center


Master Gardeners maintain the Herb Garden, one of many gardens at Illinois State University Horticulture Center.

The garden was redeveloped in 2014 and is divided into 4 quadrants: sensory, fragrance, themed, and culinary.

An annual theme determines education and design for the themed quadrant.

Visitors can learn how herbs can be used in each quadrant and are encouraged to visit during scheduled events for opportunities to complete 'make and take' activities related to the garden.

Photo Credit: J. Devore, McLean County Master Gardener

Illinois Art Station


101 E Vernon Ave, Normal, IL 61761

University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners and Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists work with Illinois Art to...

  • build a space for all people to experience and build respect for the natural environment;
  • provide an educational learning nature site for youth and their families—from all neighborhoods and backgrounds.

The garden space, designed and maintained by Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, promotes wildlife habitat. Master Naturalists remove invasive species to improve habitat for all native species, both plant and animal.

Trees on site serve as a roosting site for Monarch butterflies during annual migration and the site is registered as a Monarch Waystation


Sarah's Garden at David Davis Mansion


1000 Monroe Dr, Bloomington, IL

A garden with a blend of historical preservation and horticulture education, Master Gardeners and community gardeners work together year-round to...

  • Preserve historic garden elements including maintenance of a historic seed and plant collection
  • Restore garden to the conditions of 1872 through historical research.
  • Educate visitors:
    • This historical landmark is an educational stopping point for the community and touring groups, like garden clubs
    • Outdoor classroom for local 3rd graders who participate in hands-on garden education.

The opportunity to attain historical plants from Sarah's Garden during the annual plant propagation workshop in late spring draws in community members and city visitors.

Photo Credit: E. Culver, McLean County Master Gardener

Junior Master Gardener Projects

Children's Discovery Museum

101 E. Beaufort St, Normal, IL

Master Gardeners provide weekly activity stations during the summer for children and families to explore gardening, pollination, butterflies, ladybugs, seeds, and more.

Holton Homes Junior Master Gardeners

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.

LeRoy School Garden

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