What is Master Gardening?
Each state’s Cooperative Extension provides agricultural and horticultural support and environmental education to its residents. This research-based information originates in the state’s land grant universities and research stations.
The Master Gardener program trains and deploys volunteers to multiply the effective outreach of the Extensions.
- Nationwide, nearly 100,000 Master Gardeners are active in all 50 states, contributing some 5 million service hours to communities.
- Through Virginia Cooperative Extension, some 5,500 Master Gardener volunteers add more than 350,000 hours to the resources of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University each year.
- In 2012, some 150 Piedmont Master Gardener volunteers gave nearly 8,000 hours of service to the people of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program began in 1979, and Piedmont Master Gardeners Association formed in 1989.
The PMG visual identity is thanks the generosity of its original creator McRae Snyder Kudravetz. As a newly-minted Master Gardener in 2006, Mackie was asked to design an identity for PMG. In response, she created the lovely and now-familiar vining monogram within an oval surrounded by hand calligraphy. She recalls that it was done with “a Mitchell broad-edged nib and Higgins Eternal ink.”
Master Gardener programs are designed around achieving community gains in five main areas:
- Environmental Horticulture — sustainable landscape management practices
- Youth Gardening — horticultural awareness and skills for young people
- Value of Landscape — understanding of economic and aesthetic benefits of good design
- Food and Nutrition — interest in, and skills needed for, home food production
- Quality of Life — effects of landscape management on physical and emotional health
We collaborate with these groups to bring education to the community:
- Albemarle County Fair
- Charlottesville Parks and Recreation (City Market)
- City Schoolyard Garden
- Clark Elementary
- Crozet Farmers Market
- Garden Club of Virginia
- Ivy Creek Foundation
- Jackson-Via Elementary School
- On Our Own
- Sentra Martha Jefferson Hospital
- Senior Center
- Thomas Jefferson Foundation/ Monticello
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Virginia Institute of Autism