Who are Tennessee Master Gardeners?
Tennessee Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who help the local Extension Service share gardening information with the community. All volunteers are initially trained through 40 hours of classroom teaching and 40 hours of hands-on experience. Master Gardeners who continue to participate in the program after completing their initial training provide at least forty hours of service annually and continue to learn with a minimum of eight continuing education hours each year. State-wide, there are approximately 2,496 certified Master Gardeners (2017) in 57 counties. For the 2017 fiscal year, Tennessee Master Gardeners provided 184,744 volunteer hours which is equivalent to $4.09 million worth of services. There were 35,921 education hours, 594 interns trained, and 3 regional workshops. Teaching and the demonstrating of stewardship was seen in 111 ornamental gardens using sustainable practices, participating in 212 fairs, festivals and garden-shows that reached 305,461 Tennessee residents and delivered 447 educational presentations to 55,648 attendees.
The Master Gardener Program is offered by The University of Tennessee Extension. Its main goal is to increase the availability of horticultural information to improve quality of life with community garden/landscape programs. This is only possible through the training and utilization of volunteers, known as Master Gardeners. The Memphis Area Master Gardeners (MAMG) provide services to Shelby County under the supervision of the University of Tennessee Shelby County Extension Service.
Memphis Area Master Gardeners provide services for many community and civic organizations, including the ones below:
- PAR Collierville Victory Garden
- Oaklawn Garden Arboretum
- Davies Manor Plantation
- Lichterman Nature Center
- Memphis Botanic Garden
- Dixon Garden and Galleries
- Memphis Zoo
What Does a Master Gardener Do?
Some examples of activities include:
- Developing educational programs/activities related to urban horticulture
- Conducting educational seminars
- Designing and implementing Community Involvement Projects
- Coordinating Master Gardener training programs
- Working with the handicapped, the youth, the elderly and other special groups in the community
- Providing Plant Clinics
- Answering phone requests for horticultural information
- Writing news articles
- Establishing and Maintaining Demonstration Gardens
- Conducting fundraising for better environmental projects
Recent Educational Programs include:
- Spring Fling Seminars including Native Plants, Urban Chickens, Gardening for Cut Flowers, and Plants of the Ancient World
- Plant Camp- Junior Master Gardeners
- Safety in the Garden
- Container Gardening
- Spring Ephemerals
- Fruits, Vegetables, Figs for the Urban Gardener
- Talking Dirt-Soil Basics & Compost
- How Your Plants Grow
- Tomatoes & Other Nightshades
- Tools, Picks & Pans
- Recycle Right: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Is This Program for You?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have an interest in any of the volunteer areas mentioned above?
- Do you have a desire to share the joy of gardening with others?
- Do you want to teach others more about nature and their environment?
- Do you have 80 hours this year to train (40 hours in a classroom setting) and volunteer (40 hours) for your community?
If you answered “Yes” to these questions, please contact your Memphis Area Master Gardener Volunteer Program or apply when applications are open.