McLean County Master Gardener Projects

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. 
  • The gardens are designated a Pollinator Pocket and a Monarch Waystation.
  • Visitors can view a map of all plantings in the office lobby.

Herb Garden at ISU Horticulture Center

Raab Road, Normal, IL

  • 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.
herb garden at Illinois State University horticulture center

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 that is designed and maintained by Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists promotes wildlife habitat, including pollinator habitat, and it is registered as a Monarch Waystation.  
  • The woodland area has been a roosting site for Monarch butterflies during their annual migration and Master Naturalists are removing invasive species to further improve habitat for all native species, both plant and animal.

Refuge Food Forest

701 E. Lincoln St., Normal, IL

The Grape Arbor at The Refuge Food Forest in Normal, IL is the newest project of the McLean County Master Gardeners. With many forms of trellising available, growing healthy grapes on gorgeous vines is both an art and a science. As the growing season begins, the McLean County Master Gardeners look forward to educating the public on growing grapes in Central Illinois with classes on site selection, vine training methods, grape variety selection, and management through 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 meaning food grows on plants that are not replanted every year such as fruiting trees and shrubs. The food forest is a public space, all community members are welcome to weed and harvest independently or during guided work and harvest days. For more information, visit the Refuge Food Forest Facebook page.

a wood arbor built on grass with grapes growing on it. In the background a road and a parked van

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...
    • Maintain historic garden elements including maintaining a historic seed and plant collection
    • Learn historical information relevant to Sarah's Garden to improve garden maintenance
  • Restored to the conditions of Sarah's garden in 1872, this historical landmark is an educational stopping point for David Davis Mansion visitors including youth groups and garden clubs.
  • In spring and fall, local 3rd-grade classrooms 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.
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 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.

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