Learning in Person

On-Going Classes/Workshops at these Public Gardens

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Community Gardens Division offers free classes in a wide variety of topics throughout the season.  Here’s the schedule.

take_classMontgomery County Vegetable-Growing Classes run Feb-Aug.  Here’s the schedule.

Learn more and pursue a career path (if desired) at:

  • The George Washington University offers programs in Sustainable Landscapes, and Landscape Design.  It’s possible to take up to 6 credits in nondegree status.
  • The Montgomery College Landscape Technology program offers such classes as: Introduction to Landscape Technology, Landscape Management, Plant materials II, Introduction to Plant Sciences, Creating Gardens in a Digital Age, Introduction to Arboriculture, and Plant Propagation and Production.

Classes and workshops are given, often free, at these local independent garden centers:

The nonprofit Neighborhood Farm Initiative teaches urban farming (growing of edibles). Choose your link: Adult ProgramsHerbal Growing and Remedies. Farm-to-Table Cooking and Healthy Eating classes.

Garden Coaches! Coaches are gardening teachers who’ll come to your garden and help with design, plant choice, maintenance advice, and more. Visit the Worldwide Directory of Garden Coaches and search by state in the left column.

DC-Area Master Gardener Programs

Volunteering to become “Master Gardeners” is a great way to learn more about gardening, and to contribute to the community. It starts with in-class lectures, a test on that material, followed by a yearly requirement of 40-50 hours of approved community service to become certified as a “Master Gardener.” After the first year and initial certification, most programs require 20+ hours every year thereafter to maintain that certification.

Virginia’s Master Gardener programs are affiliated with Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE)

Green Spring Master GardenersTo become a Green Spring Master Gardener Volunteer requires a commitment of 100 hours in the first year. This time commitment is divided between 50 hours of specialized training in environmental horticulture and 50 hours of internship volunteering in approved horticulture education projects in the community.

After the first year, VCE Master Gardener status is maintained by remaining active in the program as a volunteer educator for 20 hours per year and participating in eight hours of continuing education in horticulture.

The Green Spring VCE Master Gardener Volunteer training is held each fall beginning in September and ending in late November. The training generally requires two three-hour classes per week and two Saturday classes.

All applicants are interviewed and approximately 30 trainees are selected by the end of June. Selection criteria include the ability to commit to the training schedule with no more than three absences and adequate time and commitment to follow through on VCE approved Master Gardener volunteer projects.

Contact: Pamela H. Smith, Community Horticulture Program Coordinator at 703-642-0128 or apply online.

Alexandria/Arlington Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens

Arlington/Alexandria Master Gardener program offers classes September through November from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on week days at the Fairlington Community Center, 3308 South Stafford St., Arlington, VA  22206.  The training lasts approximately 12 weeks.  Enrollment is limited to 40 people. Residents of Alexandria City and Arlington receive preference, but others in the Washington area may also enroll on a space-available basis. Tuition covers the cost of study materials and instructor fees. Limited need-based scholarships are available to cover some of the tuition costs.

After 75 hours of classroom training, Master Gardener trainees must complete a 60-hour internship focusing on community service in educational, approved  gardening activities within one year.  Once the classroom program, internship and a student project are completed, participants become certified VCE Master Gardeners.

Newly certified VCE Master Gardeners assist VCE staff in teaching environmentally sound gardening techniques in their communities through plant clinics, a horticultural help desk, demonstration gardens and other outreach projects. To maintain certification, VCE Master Gardeners must volunteer a minimum of 20 hours in VCE-approved activities and attend eight  hours of continuing education programs every year. VCE sponsors monthly continuing education programs to help Master Gardeners maintain certification.

These Master Gardeners developed and operate five demonstration gardens – click here for details.

Maryland’s Master Gardener programs are affiliated with the University of Maryland.  Click here to learn how they work.

Advanced Training for all Maryland Master Gardeners

To further Maryland Master Gardeners knowledge and to complete the requirement of 10 hours of advanced training each year, advanced training courses are offered periodically on subjects such as plant pathology, plant identification, landscape design, methods promoting sustainable gardening practices, and other areas of horticulture.

This is an all-day event designed specifically for Maryland Master Gardeners. There is a keynote speaker and several training classes on various topics. A sale area is available where MGs can purchase plants, MG products, and other items.

Prince George’s Master Gardeners. In-class training is held 6-9pm at 4-H Center in College Park. New classes begin 1st Monday and end the second Wednesday in May. Costs $200 for county residents.  Receive 50 hours in-class lectures, and to become certified first year requires 40 hours of community service. In subsequent years 20 hours of approved volunteer service and 10 hours of approved continued learning are required to maintain MG certification.

Prince George's MGs teaching stormwater management.

Prince George’s MGs teaching stormwater management.

It’s a great group of gardeners who provide training/workshops/talks at the libraries, Watkins Nature Center, Prince George’s Community College, government agencies and community groups, plus youth groups and schools.  They don’t do maintenance work, but will show clients how and when to do it.   They help schools put in a garden and get them started.  Coordinator Esther  Mitchell says that her motto is if you are not having fun, then you are in the wrong program.

In addition to their many demonstration gardens, the PG Master Gardeners are involved with these great teaching gardens:

  • Sheridan Street Community Garden. Located at the newly remodeled Center for Educational Partnership next to William Wirt Middle School in Riverdale, the garden has space for families to have their own plots to grow healthy food, as well as a youth garden where students from the neighborhood can learn how to grow fresh fruits and vegetables.  They also host trainings for Master Gardeners and the general public, and are holding an an event called Growing Community Gardens on March 24.  If you would like to get involved, contact Christie Balch at 301/779-2806, ext 706 or cbalch@umd.edu. Here’s their Facebook page.
  • Riverdale Mansion – The gardens and adjacent orchard feature many flowers and herbs, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables representative of the crops needed to support the large family, workers, and livestock living at Riverdale in the early 19th century. If you would like to get involved please email Sarah Urdaneta at sycamoreaz@yahoo.com.

Learn more about the program here or here.

moco mgs

Montgomery County Master Gardeners In-class training is held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from late January and ending in early March, 10 am-3 pm, in Derwood, MD.  Location: 18410 Muncaster Road, Derwood, MD 20855. Contact MG Coordinator Steve Dubik at (301) 590-2838 or email him: sdubik@umd.edu.

Montgomery County Master Gardeners offer free services that the public may take advantage of, including telephone consultation,  plant clinicslandscape design for government and non-profit organizations, therapeutic horticulturedemonstration gardens, and a speakers bureau.

District of Columbia Master Gardeners attend in-class lectures from the 1st Tuesday in February through the last Thursday in March in the evening, at UDC (4200 Conn Ave, N.W). After passing a take-home test, aspiring MGs join other volunteers and professionals working in public and private gardens. After completing 50 hours of such volunteer work, they’re awarded permanent MG certification. (There’s no on-going requirement for more volunteer hours to maintain MG certification.) There is no DC Master Gardener organization, and there are no DC Master Gardener projects.

45 people are selected for each year’s training, on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference given for DC residents. Classes are chosen during December of each year. Tuition is $250 for DC residents and $300 for non-residents. Contact Sandra Farber BandierCoordinator, Master Gardener & Junior Master Gardener Programs, sfarber@udc.edu, 202.274.7166.