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Brenda Dahlfors
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
1102 McConnell Road
PO Box 1430
Woodstock, IL 60098
Phone: 815-338-3737
FAX: 815-338-4755

McHenry County Master Gardeners

McHenry County Master Gardeners

Who We Are

If you enjoy gardening and like to learn to 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 your knowledge with others.

The task of the Master Gardeners 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 McHenry County in the late 1970's. There are approximately 125 persons active as Master Gardeners, annually. To maintain active status in the Master Gardener program, volunteers must continue to volunteer and take continuing ed classes.

Master Gardener Instruction

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 odd 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 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 all additional training materials used.

In return for the training, Master Gardener Interns give back at least 60 hours of volunteer time to McHenry County Extension. Volunteering can take the form of answering questions from area gardeners in the McHenry County Extension office through the "Hort Line" to working on special projects and events taking place in the county.


Opportunities for volunteerism include the Extension office "Hort Line," demonstration gardens, community gardens, newsletters, community programs and education, working with youth through 4-H and schools, and working with senior citizens.


Applications will be taken through August 31st of the even numbered years. Because there are not enough resources to accommodate everyone who applies to the program, class size is limited. Each applicant is required to go through an informal interview.

Send email to the Program Coordinator at .

For more information, contact the McHenry County Extension office.