Master Gardeners volunteer expertise

The Alabama Master Gardener Volunteer Program is an educational program offered through county offices of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Through this program, individuals are trained and certified in horticulture and related areas. These individuals, in turn, volunteer their expertise and services to help others through horticultural projects that benefit the community.

The Master Gardener Program trains volunteers, who work through Extension, to bring the latest horticultural information and practices from the world of research to their communities’ landscapes and gardens.

Through the Master Gardener program, thousands of people in the United States and Canada have been trained as volunteers. The Alabama Master Gardener training program provides more than 40 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction in horticulture and related areas.

The classes provide home gardeners with the information they need to become skilled Master Gardeners.

Courses are taught by Specialists from Auburn University and Alabama A&M University, Extension agents from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, local specialists, and veteran Master Gardeners.

In exchange for the training, participants are obligated to return an equal amount of volunteer service time on projects that benefit their communities.

These projects can range from working on community horticultural projects, to helping answer questions through the county Extension office, to conducting garden club programs. The Master Gardener training program is most often taught during a 10- to 12-week period in the fall or winter.

A minimal registration fee, which varies from county to county, is charged to cover the cost of training supplies.

Classes in the training program include: landscape design, plant propagation, lawn care, vegetable gardening, houseplants, soil science, plant selection, weed control and annuals and perennials. Courses are taught by Specialists from Auburn University and Alabama A&M University, Extension agents from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, local specialists, and veteran Master Gardeners.

The Alabama Master Gardeners also have a “Help-line” to answer horticultural questions, which is 1-877-252-4769 (1-877-Ala-grow), Option 3 for North Central Alabama, which includes Shelby County.

Nelson Wynn is a Shelby County extension agent. He can be reached by phone at 669–6763.