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The Garden Scoop

Featuring weekly articles by Ryan Pankau, University of Illinois Horticulture Educator.
Randy Edwards 2018
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Time to Sign up for Master Gardener Training

Are you searching for a unique gift for a friend who just retired? Would you rather be outside in your garden than anywhere else? The University of Illinois Extension Office will be holding Master Gardener Training Classes starting in January 2019. Master Gardeners are volunteers who have a love of gardening and a passion to share it with others, but despite the title, don't claim to know everything about gardening. The program focuses on learning for the love of learning. This stress-free approach, opportunity to meet fellow gardeners and share knowledge with the community is exactly what makes the Master Gardener program so popular.

During Master Gardener training, attendees have the opportunity to learn about gardening from University of Illinois educators and other Horticulture specialists in a way that is both interesting and practical to the home gardener. The classes are geared for all levels- from beginners to more experienced gardeners. Trainees attend class one day a week for ten weeks. Each session covers a different garden related topic such as Small and Large Fruits, Plant Diseases, Insects, Annual and Perennials, Vegetables, Trees, Shrubs etc. The class price is $200 with commitment to volunteer 60 hours in 2 years. Partial financial assistance is available for need-based applicants.

An extensive manual developed by University of Illinois educators for gardeners in Illinois is included in the class price.

One of the most rewarding parts about being a Master Gardeners comes from the friendships made with fellow gardeners and making a difference in your community. Master Gardeners volunteer at a variety of different community garden projects. They grow vegetables for the local food pantry, work with veterans and children. They hold a Garden Day Workshop each March, educational garden themed classes each month, a weekly radio show, speaker's bureau, annual plant sale in May and Garden Walk in June. They also research and answer questions from the public through the Extension office Horticulture Hotline. Clearly no matter where your talents lie there is something for everyone!

To start the application process or for more information please contact Tabitha Elder at the Champaign County Extension Office at 217-333-7672 or Jenney Hanrahan at the Vermilion County Extension office at 217-442-8615 or visit our website at


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