VCE (Virginia Cooperative Extension) Master Gardener programs began in the United States in 1972 at Washington State University, where Cooperative Extension Agents trained interested volunteers to serve as a community resource for reliable horticultural information. University-affiliated Master Gardener programs are now active in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are 62 active Master Gardener units affiliated with Virginia Tech.
In January 2002, a VCE Master Gardener Training Program was launched at Green Spring Gardens to complement and expand the outreach of the existing Fairfax County program beyond plant clinics and diagnostic labs. The program meets increased demand for training locally. Training sessions are held during daytime hours at Green Spring Gardens Horticultural Center. Including the service commitment that follows the training, the program is designed to be completed in a year. Since 2002, more than 280 volunteers have been trained at Green Spring Gardens.
HOW WE GROW
- Green Spring Gardens Horticultural Center
- Fairfax County Schools
- Fairfax County Libraries
- VCE Master Gardener Help Desks
- Adult educational seminars, including an annual EcoSavvy Symposium
- Ready, Set, GrowTM gardening curriculum for elementary students
- Speakers Bureau presentations on sustainable gardening practices
- Support of the VCE Advice Help Line at 703-324-5369 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Staff information booths
- Care of the Demonstration Gardens at Green Spring Gardens
Virginia Cooperative Extension Publications are Virginia Tech's website.
VCE Master Gardener Help Desks
At Green Spring Gardens
April – October
Saturdays 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
At Pennino Building
12011 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
April – October
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. - Noon
November – March
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m.-Noon
Want to become a Master Gardener?
To become a Master Gardener (MG), approved candidates must complete a 13-week course. Classes meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. plus one Saturday lab. There are assignments and exams. Once trainees complete the classroom portion of the training, they graduate to MG interns. MG interns are required to complete, within one year, 50 volunteer project hours, including 15 hours working at the MG Help Desk at Green Spring, in order to become fully certified. There is a $260 fee due with the application. MGs retain their certification by completing 20 hours of volunteer service hours and eight hours of continuing education classes per year.
The Green Spring Gardens MG training program prepares participants to work in the community and to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices.
The Green Spring VCE Master Gardener Volunteer training is held each fall beginning in September and ending in late November. The training generally requires two three-hour classes per week and one Saturday lab.
Master Gardeners interview all applicants and select approximately 30 trainees by the end of July. Selection criteria include the ability to commit to the training schedule with no more than three absences and adequate time and commitment to follow through on VCE approved Master Gardener volunteer projects.
If you are interested in becoming a Green Spring Master Gardener, please add your name to our waitlist. You will be contacted with more information.