The Magic of Master Gardeners - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

The Magic of Master Gardeners

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Salisbury, MD. The magic of Master Gardeners! You've heard about Master Gardeners but may not know just who they are or why you should consider becoming one. Being a Master Gardener is one of the most respected honors in gardening. Master Gardeners are, above all else, volunteers in their communities. Often not recognizable, they can be found tending public herb gardens, working with gardeners in community gardens, manning information booths at Home and Garden Shows, writing columns and blogs like this one and sharing the joys of gardening with children.

Gardeners often pursue being a Master Gardener to improve their own skills and meet new like-minded individuals. The Gardening Grannies agree that's a perfectly good reason to start. As almost anyone will tell you, as you gain skills and knowledge through your local Master Gardener program and your own garden improves, people will start asking you for advice. You will soon discover that are you becoming the local "authority" on what to when trouble starts in the garden or flower pot. You will learn to trust your instincts. The joy of helping others will soon take over and you will find yourself truly bitten with the bug.

OK. You've decided this is worth exploring but ‘how do I get started?' you may be asking yourself. It is really much easier and less expensive than you might suspect. Requirements, classes, costs and volunteer hours required to maintain your certification do vary slightly from state to state. The Delmarva Peninsula is made up of three states, so there are three somewhat different sets of requirements.

In Maryland, basic training is 40 – 50 hours with a requirement for a similar amount of volunteer hours. Each program is independent and you will need to contact the Master Gardener Program at the location in which you have interest. Cost of the program may vary but, in general, think about $100 to cover the cost of books, materials and, perhaps, field trips. On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, you can contact

The Dorchester County Extension at 410.228.8800. Their Master Gardener Coordinator is Sudeep Mathew and can be contacted at samathew@umd.edu (and/or)

The Wicomico County Extension at 410.749.6141. Their Master Gardener Coordinator is Ginny Rosenkranz and she can be reached at rosnkrnz@umd.edu

In Lower Delaware, you will enjoy a training program held twice a week for sixteen weeks and complete 45 hours of volunteer service. The next training session is in September of 2011. Classes alternate between Kent and Sussex Counties so check with the Sussex County Extension at 302.856.7303 for class locations.

Training for Master Gardeners on the Eastern Shore of Virginia includes 50 hours of training. Classes for this year are, unfortunately, almost over (January 13 through April 14). For future reference, an all-inclusive cost is only $100. After training, which is offered once a year, the Master Gardener candidate is expected to complete 50 hours of approved volunteer projects. For further information you can call the office at

Machipongo, Virginia, at 757.678.7946 (for answers to your gardening problems, you can call their helpline at 757.678.7946 x 29)

Northampton County Cooperative Extension Office at 757.678.7946 x 29 The Gardening Grannies suggest that you start collecting information now as some of the classes, once formally announced, fill up in a hurry. So! Off your rockers and start making those inquiries now.

The Gardening Grannies, a group of avid and Master Gardeners, live, love and garden on the Delmarva Peninsula. You can reach us at gardeninggrannies@wmdt.com .

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