Now is the time to become a Master Gardener

Master Gardeners


Now is the time to become a Master Gardener

Champaign, IL—

Are you searching for a unique gift for a friend who just retired? Would you rather be outside in your garden than anywhere else? The University of Illinois Extension Office will offer Master Gardener Training Classes in 2021. Champaign County will offer an online option where students take all classes remotely in a self-paced format. There are two options available for residents of Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion Counties; online training and a hybrid program that will accommodate COVID policies. This program is limited to a small number of students and will include field trips to community garden projects and local greenhouses. All options will offer hands-on lessons where students learn how to propagate plants, prune trees, identify weeds, etc. in the field. The hybrid training will also include self-study at home and in-person class options at the U of I Extension office in Danville following CDC guidelines and social distancing. We are developing options for those with internet and technology limitations.

Master Gardeners are volunteers who have a love of gardening and a passion to share it with others, but despite the title, don’t claim to know everything about gardening. The program focuses on learning for the love of learning. This stress-free approach, opportunity to meet fellow gardeners and share knowledge with the community is exactly what makes the Master Gardener program so popular.

During Master Gardener training, attendees learn about gardening from University of Illinois educators and other Horticulture specialists in a way that is both interesting and practical to the home gardener. The classes are geared for all levels- from beginners to more experienced gardeners. Each session covers a different garden related topic such as Small and Large Fruits, Plant Diseases, Insects, Annual and Perennials, Vegetables, Trees, Shrubs etc.  The class price is based on class choice and a commitment to volunteer 60 hours within 2 years. Partial financial assistance is available for need-based applicants. An extensive manual developed by University of Illinois educators for gardeners in Illinois is included in the class price.

One of the most rewarding parts about being a Master Gardeners comes from the friendships made with fellow gardeners and making a difference in your community. Master Gardeners volunteer at a variety of different community garden projects. They grow vegetables for the local food pantry, work with veterans and children. They plant and care for the Idea Garden on campus, hold a Garden Day Workshop each March, educational garden themed classes each month, speaker’s bureau, annual plant sale in May and Garden Walks in June. They also research and answer questions from the public through the Extension office Horticulture Hotline. Clearly no matter where your talents lie there is something for everyone!

For more information please contact Tabitha Elder in the Champaign County Extension Office 217-333-7672 or Jenney Hanrahan at the Vermilion County Extension office in Danville at 217-442-8615 or visit our website at or for Champaign County.