Become a Master Gardener

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The 2018 Master Gardener Training Class is now full. If you are interested in training in the fall of 2019, please contact Master Gardener Coordinator Leslie Fillmore at leslief7@vt.edu.


Offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), Arlington County Office, in partnership with the City of Alexandria, the VCE Master Gardener program trains participants in best management practices of gardening and landscaping techniques that preserve and sustain the environment.

What is an Extension Master Gardener?

An Extension Master Gardener is an individual who, after receiving specialized training in environmental horticulture through the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), acts as a volunteer educator within his or her community.  An Extension Master Gardener (EMG) provides education on all aspects of sustainable landscape management, including turf and soil fertility management,  vegetable and ornamental gardening, tree and shrub care, storm water control, and insect and plant disease management.

What does the Volunteer Training Program include?

Developed by Virginia Tech horticulture specialists, VCE Agents, and the state Master Gardener Program Coordinator’s office, the Volunteer Training Program consists of two parts: 60 hours of classroom training, and a 60-hour hands-on internship.  In class, trainees learn about basic botany and soil science, woody and herbaceous plants, vegetable gardening, Integrated Pest Management practices, lawn care, etc. The internship includes hands-on experience in our demonstration gardens, at our plant clinics, and with public education.

When and where will the 2018 Volunteer Training Program be held?

In 2018, our classes will mainly take place on Tuesday nights from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. and on alternating Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. till 3:30 p.m. Classes will run from September 4th  through November 13th. The majority of our classes will take place at the Fairlington Community Center, in south Arlington, near Alexandria at 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 22206.  Class dates are:

  • Tuesday, September 4 – 5:45-8:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 8 – 9:00 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 11 – 5:45-8:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September  18 – 5:45-8:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 22- 9:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 25 – 5:45-8:45  p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 2 – 5:45-8:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 6 – 9:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 9 – 5:45-8:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 16, – 5:45-8:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 20, 9:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 23 – 5:45 – 8:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 30 – 5:45-8:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 3, 9:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 8 – 5:45-8:45  p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 13 – 5:45 – 8:45 p.m.

Who should take the class?

If you want to be a volunteer educator, love gardening, and want to protect our environment by sharing what you learn with our community, this class is for you! Once certified, EMGs teach the community about our best management practices for urban agriculture and sustainable landscaping. EMGs retain their certifications by annually completing 20 volunteer hours and 8 hours of continuing education.

Where can I see what Extension Master Gardeners do?

Learn all about our extensive EMG activities by exploring this website.  You can also find EMGs at the following locations in Arlington and Alexandria, as well as at many special events such as the Arlington’s Home and Garden Expo, Alexandria’s Earth Day, and the Arlington County Fair:

    • We have 5 demonstration gardens where we show the public what plantsthrive in our area.
    • We answer your questions at four Farmers Markets from late Spring through early Fall.
    • We invite you to visit us at our Extension Master Gardener Help Desk at the Fairlington Community Center.
    • You can find us giving Public Education classes at your local library.
    • We are at local schools teaching kids about the Junior Master Gardener program.
    • We support three plants sales each year, at GlencarlynCommunity Library, and Green Springs Gardens.

Supported by VCE & MGNV

The Virginia Cooperative Extension is your local connection to Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University.

Extension Master Gardeners are supported by our association, the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, a 501(C)(3) non-profit, which collaborates with VCE to further our parallel goals of providing community education about sustainable gardening practices.

For more information about training or becoming a Master Gardener, please contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Horticulture Help Desk at 703-228-6414 or email mgarlalex@gmail.com;  or visit us at 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington VA 22206.