About Master Gardener Program

The DC Master Gardener Program trains DC residents in basic horticulture and agriculture practices. Residents who graduate from the program become certified Master Gardeners and go on to volunteer in their communities by sharing knowledge, leading workshops, supporting research, maintaining gardens, and engaging in many other activities throughout the city. 

After going through the Basic Training and getting certified, Master Gardeners become volunteer educators and representatives of UDC and work towards building a healthier city in partnership with DC residents. 

Calling all DC Master Gardeners for a great 2021!


Who can become a Master Gardener? 

Any District of Columbia resident, 18 years of age or older, who likes working with people and plants and has a thirst for knowledge. 


Why join the program? 

By joining the program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn new gardening skills as well as hone your existing skills. You’ll also learn how to solve gardening problems and be able to teach others to do the same. Best of all, you’ll meet new people who enjoy gardening just as much as you do!

PROGRAM UPDATE: For more information regarding our 2021 listening sessions, we offer direct access to our 2021 Master Gardener Program Report. Viewers also have the opportunity to download the report straight to their desktop or print on demand. Most of all, you can take a closer look at the live recording of the Town Hall meeting on March 5th, where we presented the results from the survey and the listening sessions.


What are the steps to become a Master Gardener? 

  • Application Process | The DC Master Gardener program’s application process begins with an online application and interview. Once completed, the applicant is notified by the Master Gardener Coordinator whether or not they have been accepted as a MG Trainee.
  • Trainee | The next stage of the program is 40 hours of basic training. Master Gardener Trainees are taught about a variety of horticultural subjects by specialists, educators, and other horticulture professionals. Topics may include botany, composting, diagnosing plant problems, ecology, entomology, integrated pest management, lawn care, soils and fertilizers, trees and shrubs, and vegetable gardening. Classes are taught using a combination of methods and formats, including online sessions, webinars, live lectures, hands-on activities, field trips, and experiential learning. Note: Once the course has been completed, participants take a Final Exam. If they pass the exam (75%), participants move on to the next phase of the program and are considered a Master Gardener Intern.
  • Intern | Once a Master Gardener Trainee has completed the Master Gardener Basic Training and passes the final exam, they become a Master Gardener Intern. Interns must complete at least 40 hours of approved volunteer service over a twelve-month period to achieve the status of Master Gardener
  • Certified Master Gardener | After completing those golden 40 volunteer hours, participants become Certified Master Gardeners. In order to remain active, Certified Master Gardeners must:
    • Provide at least 20 hours of certified volunteer service each calendar year
    • Complete at least 10 hours of continuing education each calendar year
    • Submit their volunteer and continuing education hours to the MG coordinator
    • Have a current, signed Volunteer Appointment Agreement on file at UDC


Next Session

The next session of the basic training is scheduled for the fall. To apply for the program or for any other information, please email patricia.bon@udc.edu.


Patricia Bon 

DC Master Gardener Coordinator 

Phone: 202 941 7923 

Email: patricia.bon@udc.edu 

Link to DC Master Gardener Google Site 


*** The next session of basic training is scheduled for the fall of 2021, dates TBD.

For more information, please contact patricia.bon@udc.edu.

Basic training courses are typically offered twice a year, usually in spring and fall. Total learning time is a minimum of 40 hours. Classes are held virtually from 6-9 pm weekly.

Through the training program, participants are taught many different horticultural subjects by specialists, educators, and other professionals. Topics typically include botany, composting, diagnosing plant problems, ecology, entomology, integrated pest management, lawn care, soils and fertilizers, trees and shrubs, and vegetable gardening.

A combination of online sessions, hands-on activities, field trips, and experiential learning methods are used during the training sessions.

Upon completion of all coursework and 40 hours as a volunteer intern, each student is issued a Master Gardener Certificate. The 40-hour requirement is designed to provide each student with an opportunity to learn from professional gardeners while volunteering. Listed below are some typical activities:

  • Environmental Gardening Demonstrations
  • Youth Gardening
  • Community Beautification
  • Technical support for the School Gardens Program
  • Community Garden Advisors
  • Teaching workshops at UDC Food Hubs


The requirements for certification as a Master Gardener of the District of Columbia are:

  • 75% attendance of class sessions.
  • Satisfactory completion of all activities and assigned projects.
  • Passing of the open book, final exam.
  • Fulfillment of the 40-hour volunteer requirement.


Patricia Bon
Project Associate for Gardening Education
202 941 7923