What is a Master Gardener?
Being a Master Gardener is about becoming a volunteer with one of the Master Gardener groups in Ontario to help educate the public about gardening.
Master Gardeners are trained to provide unbiased, practical, ecological advice to encourage successful and sustainable horticultural practices for home gardeners.
Master Gardeners typically undertake approximately two years of online studies from an accredited university. All must commit to volunteering their time and energy by offering advice and participating in activities that expand the knowledge of home gardeners.
It’s not about knowing everything about gardening. It’s about learning to ask the right questions and knowing how to look up information from appropriate resources. Being a Master Gardener is about helping deliver meaningful community programs to improve the well-being of individuals and communities, to protect natural flora & fauna; and to help gardeners grow fresh fruits and vegetables for their family. It’s about working together with Master Gardeners and other volunteers to make a difference in the places we live, learn, and work.
What do Master Gardeners do?
Each Master Gardener can apply the skills they have (or want to build) by being involved in volunteer activities such as:
- Answer questions at public events using science-based, unbiased, and ecological information.
- Assist with our group’s major events such as Seedy Saturday.
- Present workshops or talks to gardeners on timely gardening issues.
- Share knowledge about choices that are sustainable, non-invasive, supportive of pollinators, and wildlife.
- Write/Share articles for our website, newsletters, or social media.
- Respond to gardeners’ questions via Gmail.
- Continue learning via group discussions, webinars, and listening to speakers at our meetings.
- Attend occasional field trips to view unique gardens or horticultural businesses.
- Participate in community garden-related projects by offering guidance or sharing knowledge at their events.
- Attend local Technical Updates to maintain a good understanding of horticultural issues and best practices.
What is your required commitment as a Master Gardener?
- Complete the required education or pass a certification test within a reasonable timeframe (typically 2 years)
- Actively volunteer with a local master gardener group; completing a minimum of 30 volunteer hours a year
- Update your knowledge annually by regularly attending meetings and seminars.
What are the benefits of being a Master Gardener?
- Monthly Meetings with educational speakers
- Events and field trips
- Opportunities to learn that are unbiased and science-based
- Camaraderie with like-minded gardening enthusiasts
- Helping others succeed in their gardening efforts is rewarding and fun!
How do you become a Master Gardener?
Step 1 is just to come out to a meeting and see what we are about. We suggest that you attend a couple of meetings to find out more about us before deciding if our group is something you’re truly interested in joining. Contact us to inquire about our meeting schedule. They are typically held at 6:30 pm on the second Wednesday of October, November, February, March, April, and May at the London Civic Garden complex @ 625 Springbank Drive, London. NOTE – meeting dates and locations can change throughout the year. Contact us to check!
Step 2 – Fill out the application form. LMMG Membership Application
Step 3 – once your application has been accepted, you will be invited to join the group as a Master Gardener in Training (MGIT) and will be expected to enroll in a horticultural correspondence program as listed below. These distance learning programs (done from the comfort and easy access of your own home computer) are excellent learning for all! You will choose from two horticultural programs:
University of Guelph – courses include:
- Plant Identification
- Integrated Pest Management
- Soils and Plant Growth
Dalhousie University – courses include:
- Plant Identification & Use
- Maintaining the Garden
- The Science of Gardening
- The Art of Gardening
Both programs partially satisfy the membership requirements of Master Gardeners of Ontario, Inc. You do not need to be a member to enroll in classes.