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Kim Isaacson
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
100 South US Highway 45
Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: 847-223-8627
FAX: 847-223-9288

Lake County Master Gardeners

Lake County Master Gardeners

Who We Are

If you enjoy gardening and like to learn and share your gardening knowledge, the Master Gardener program may be for you. All you need is an interest in gardening, an open mind, and a willingness to share knowledge with others.

The task of the Master Gardener is to share unbiased, reliable, research-based information with home landscapers and gardeners. Another important function is to encourage young people to enjoy the pleasures of flower and vegetable growing.

Brief History

The Master Gardener program is an all-volunteer organization sanctioned by the land grant institution in each state and functions as an extension of the college or university. In Illinois, the program is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension.

The Master Gardener program started in Lake County over 25 years ago. Currently, more than 90 Master Gardener volunteers share their expertise throughout our county. To maintain the Master Gardener name, volunteers must remain active in the program.

Becoming a Master Gardener

Attendance at all 12 Master Gardener training classes is required to complete the training. The training series is offered on Fridays, beginning in January of even numbered years. Each class begins at 9 am and concludes at 4 pm.

Master Gardeners participate in more than 60 hours of training on botany, vegetables, lawn care, tree and small fruits, diseases, insects, soils, composting, pesticide safety, fertilizers, pruning, trees and flowers. The sessions are taught by Horticulture experts including University of Illinois specialists and Extension educators. Training is coordinated by area horticulture Extension educators.

The emphasis of the information is practical, yet research-based.


Cost of the program is approximately $295. This includes the Master Gardener manual and additional training materials used.

In addition to the training, Master Gardeners give back at least 60 hours of volunteer time to Lake County Extension programs that first year. See examples of the volunteer opportunities below.


The Master Gardener program offers volunteer opportunities in the following areas:

  • "Hort Help Line" via phone in our office
  • Demonstration gardens (vegetable, ornamental, rain garden)
  • Community gardens
  • Therapeutic horticulture
  • Community programs and education
  • Working with youth through 4-H
  • Project leadership
  • Program support


Applications will be taken through September 30th of the odd numbered years. Because there are not enough resources to accommodate everyone who applies to the program, class size is limited. For consideration in the program, each applicant is required to complete and submit an application, participate in an in-person interview and successfully pass the Extension background check process.

For more information, send an email to the Horticulture Program Coordinator, Kim Isaacson at