The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer development program offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and is designed to increase the availability of horticultural information and improve the quality of life through horticultural projects. Master Gardeners are highly-trained volunteers working with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to provide residents with information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping. They provide unbiased, research-based information, problem-solving expertise and educational opportunities to residents.
Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and to help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people. They form a network of highly-qualified and concerned people who are capable of implementing a wide range of activities useful to the community.
What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, persons who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their communities.
Master Gardener Classes in Bexar County
In Bexar County, Master Gardener classes are usually offered during the spring. Please note that the summer class is usually designed for teachers affiliated with the Texas Junior Master Gardener Program. All Master Gardener Classes will be advertised when class dates are determined, and we will accept applications at that time. Please do not send your application for a class that is scheduled for more than six months from the current date. To obtain an application, you may call the Extension office (210.631.0400) or download an application.
Is the Master Gardener Program for Me?
To help you decide if you should apply to be a Master Gardener, ask yourself these questions:
— Do I want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
— Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?
— Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?
— Do I have enough time to attend training and to complete the volunteer service?
If you answered yes to these questions, the Master Gardener program could be for you.
In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer time to their County Extension program.
The type of service done by Master Gardeners varies according to community needs, and the abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners. Some Master Gardeners answer telephone requests for information related to gardening. Others staff plant clinics or displays in shopping malls or community centers. Master Gardeners may speak to local groups and conduct workshops. They may help establish community garden projects, work with 4-H youth, or assist their agent with news or radio releases related to gardening. The Master Gardener Coordinator in the County Extension office decides how volunteer time can be best utilized.
Master Gardeners are representatives of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. In all volunteer work related to the program, Master Gardeners follow the research-based recommendations of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The title of “Texas Master Gardener” can be used by volunteers only when engaged in Extension-sponsored activities.
Qualifications for the Master Gardener Program include:
- Basic gardening interest and knowledge
- Enthusiasm for acquiring and sharing horticulture knowledge and skills
- Ability to relate unbiased, research-based information to the public
- Ability to learn (or re-learn) new information, some of which is practically applied information and some fundamental, scientific principles
- Ability to attend classes, pass an exam, showing mastery of a wide range of topics
- Willingness, commitment and time to volunteer
- Understanding Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s educational mission
Benefits of becoming a Master Gardener include:
- Satisfaction of serving your community to extend the educational mission of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
- Interaction with people in your community with similar interests and telents in gardening and landscaping
- Deeper understanding of the science and art of horticulture and its applied sciences
If accepted into the Master Gardener program, you will attend a Master Gardener training course. Classes are taught by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists, staff, and local experts.
The program offers a minimum of 50 hours of instruction. Topics may include:
Botany & Plant Physiology
Integrated Pest Management/Entomology
Turfgrass Maintenance & Diseases
Water Conservation & Quality
Fruits & Nuts
What do Master Gardeners do?
The Bexar County Master Gardeners assist the local County Extension Office:
- Answering horticultural inquiries over the telephone
- Giving educational talks to various groups
- Introducing youth to gardening
- Supporting 4-H and Youth Development programs
- Presenting information at garden and trade events
- Organizing educational programs and conferences
- Creating and maintaining gardens which showcase plants for our area, new planting methods, composting and irrigation methods
- Researching and answering inquiries
- Writing articles about horticulture
- Increasing awareness of integrated pest management, water conservation and quality, and other environmental issues
Participants become certified Master Gardeners after they have completed the Intern training course, pass an examination administered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and volunteer a minimum of 50 hours within one year.
In order to retain the Texas Master Gardener title, individuals are required each year to participate in a minimum of six (6) hours of recertification training (CEU’s) and provide an additional 30 hours of volunteer service through the Bexar County Extension office.
For more information on the Master Gardener Program in Bexar County, call us at 210.631.0400 or visit the Bexar County Master Gardener website.