Travis County Master Gardeners
Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and to help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people.
What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, persons who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their Extension office to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.
The Travis County Master Gardener Program is the volunteer service arm of Travis County Agrilife Extension Service, assisting in Extension’s mission to disseminate research-based horticultural and environmental knowledge among the citizens of Central Texas. By serving as educators, advisers, and liaisons to the community, the Master Gardener Program aims to increase the prevalence and success of citizens’ horticultural endeavors.
What We Do
As Travis County Master Gardeners, we provide useful information through publications and services to the public as well as continuing education. Here are some of the highlights.
The Travis County Master Gardeners Association sponsors free public lectures on gardening topics throughout the year at different locations in the county. Educational Seminars contain multiple lectures by Master Gardeners and other local experts on seasonal topics, providing up-to-date, sound gardening advice for homeowners.
Located at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, the demonstration garden serves to demonstrate to the public recommended native and adapted plants and growing techniques.
Throughout the year the Travis County Master Gardeners provide community service with free information at plant clinics held at public events around the county. Another recourse available on weekdays is the Help Desk where Master Gardener volunteers provide free gardening advice to homeowners over the phone, by email, and in person for walking.
In recruitment years, the Travis County Extension Service will invite interested people to attend an informational session and take an application for the Master Gardener program. If the application is accepted, the trainee becomes a Master Gardener Intern by completing a rigorous training, passing a test, and fulfilling volunteer hours. To express interest in the joining the Master Gardener program, click here.
In support of the overall AgriLife Extension mission, Travis County Master Gardeners receive formal training from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Classes are taught by AgriLife Extension specialists & agents, as well as local experts. The program offers a minimum of 50 hours of instruction that covers topics including botany 101, landscape design, native and adapted plants, tree selection and maintenance, turf grass, propagation, vegetable gardening, soil science, entomology and IPM, plant pathology, composting, fruit and nut crops, and water conservation. To learn more about the 2013 training, click here.
Volunteer Commitment and Certification
In exchange for training, participants volunteer time to their County Extension program. At least 60 hours of volunteer service within one year following the training is required to earn the title of “Texas Master Gardener Intern.”
After completing the first year, Interns receive the Master Gardener certification. Each year, upon the completion of 24 volunteer hours and 6 continuing education hours, the Master Gardener certification is renewed.
For more program details: TCMG Program Overview