UGA Extension Office

Master Gardeners

Become a Master Gardener


The application window is closed for the 2024 class.  If interested in future trainings, please call our office @ 770-278-7373 to be added to our Interest List.
* Master Gardener Volunteers deliver educational programming to our 4-H youth members, at schools and community events. 
Applicants must therefore pass a University of Georgia Volunteer background check and follow UGA Extension policies and procedures.


Master Gardeners at work and play!Master Gardeners at work and play!
Gardening Information SeriesMaster Gardener Extension Volunteers will be on-site at Ace Hardware Stores Saturday, July 13th, 2024. Stop by their booth with your garden questions. Topic of the month is Turf Types & Care.
Gardening Information SeriesGardening Information Series located at Ace Hardware Stores on Green Street and Honey Creek Road in Conyers, GA.

The Georgia Master Gardener Program® is an Extension volunteer training program offered through county offices of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Through this program, individuals are trained and certified in home horticulture, gardening, and related areas.

These individuals, in turn, volunteer their expertise and services, under the direction of their County Extension Agent, to help others through educational projects that benefit the community. Master Gardener Extension Volunteers bring the latest horticultural information and practices from the world of research to their communities’ landscapes and gardens; making life better for Georgians.

Mission Statement:

To assist Cooperative Extension in providing unbiased horticultural information through volunteer community service and educational gardening projects using applied research and the resources of the University of Georgia.


The Master Gardener Program is designed to develop highly skilled volunteers that agree to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours of service in exchange for 50 hours of horticultural training by Cooperative Extension professionals.  After the initial year of service, 25 hours of volunteer service is required to remain active in the program. Typical volunteer activities include:

  • Gardening Demonstrations
  • Plant Clinics & Sales
  • Phone Consultations
  • Newsletters and articles
  • Youth Gardening
  •  Education Gardening
  • Information Booths at Fairs & Festivals
  • Research & writing Projects
  • Teach Adult Classes

Additional links:


2024 Officers:

President –Isabel Wagner
Vice President - Laurene Hill
Treasurer - Mickey Harvey
Social Media
- Alexis Alexander
Recording Sec. - Safa Alaji
Past President - Karen Fitzpatrick



Our Signature Projects 


Master Gardener dedication at the Memorial ArboretumMaster Gardener dedication at the Memorial Arboretum

Memorial Arboretum

The Rockdale County Master Gardeners' Memorial Arboretum was started in 2005 by project leaders Cesare Matrundola and Mimi Soileau. The City of Conyers has generously given a long term lease on five acres within the Georgia International Horse Park to the Rockdale County Master Gardener Association.  In 2023, the garden was registered and accredited with ArbNet, an international arboretum accreditation and networking program.  Arbnet | Rockdale County Master Gardener Association’s Memorial Arboretum

Members have spent over 500 hours clearing underbrush, identifying trees and making 2,300 feet of walking paths.  This retreat away from the traffic and noise is a serene oasis, a peaceful place to visit, reflect and meditate. Simply, nature at its best.  Visitors can request to plant a tree from an approved list, or adopt one of the 37 species found in the arboretum.   Wooden posts with ID plaques are installed near the chosen tree and dedicated in honor or memory of a loved one, friend, or group.

A popular feature of the Arboretum is the one-mile public trail used for walking and riding horses. It is located between the Arboretum and the Yellow River. The Arboretum is unique in that it was founded and is maintained by Master Gardeners.  A dedicated group of volunteers committed to sharing their knowledge and love of trees with the greater community.

The garden is open to the public during business hours of the Conyers Horse Park and located at the back of the park. Directions

As of 2023, there are 120 plaques of honor that have been installed for loved ones. You are invited to create a living memorial by either adopting an existing tree or purchasing and planting a tree from the approved list.

How to dedicate a treeApplication


PARH Garden WorkdayPARH Garden Workday

 

Plant-a-Row for the Hungry (PARH) Garden

The Plant-A-Row for the Hungry Garden (PARH) in Rockdale County is a community service project run by Rockdale County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (RC-MGEVs).  Volunteers spend countless hours preparing the site, planting, harvesting, and managing the garden to support residents in need in Rockdale County. 
The fresh produce from the PARH garden is donated to Rockdale Emergency Relief Food Bank (RER).

Project Leaders Karen Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Peden, Master Gardeners and GA Power retiree, Lee Cronan have dedicated countless hours to making this garden successful by producing 25,000+ pounds of fresh produce over the past 11 years.  Altogether, the RC-MGEV’s have volunteered thousands of hours in the garden producing tomatoes, corn, okra, bell peppers, squash, cucumber, eggplant and hot peppers during the summer and cabbage, collards, turnips, kale, broccoli and sweet potatoes in the fall garden. 

The PARH Garden is located near the tennis courts on Parker Road in Conyers.  Residents who enjoy the Olde Town Conyers walking trails on Parker Road or play tennis will be able to see the garden grow and the great work the MGEV’s are doing for the community.


PARH Fall GardenPARH Fall Garden
Workday @ PARH GardenWorkday @ PARH Garden

 Signature Projects (cont.)


High Tunnel GreenhouseHigh Tunnel Greenhouse established in February 2022.
Building the High Tunnel GreenhouseBuilding day with Master Gardener and Project Leader Paco Candal. Thank you to the NRCS, USDA and Georgia Ladies in Agriculture for all their help!

High Tunnel Project

The High Tunnel project began in early 2022 to provide a structure where we could grow plants in a more controlled environment and therefore being able to extend the growing season in fall and start seedlings in late winter. We acquired the structure through a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA and initiated by James Murphy, Ag Agent at the time. Construction began in February 2022. James and Paco Candal (RC-MGEV) assisted NRCS personnel which were essential to putting the structure together; these were: Ryan Burgess (District Conservationist), Sherman Green and Jesse Landers. The Rockdale Soil & Water Conservation District purchased the shade cloth to cover the structure in the hottest part of the summer.

The three main purposes of our greenhouse at the PAR Garden are:

1. Plant sale, fund raising - to protect plants from cold weather in spring and fall and improve the quality plants we sell.

2. Extend the growing season in fall or to begin to grow plants earlier that would not otherwise survive in the local climate.

3. Start seedlings in late winter or early spring for late spring and summer growing season.


Pollinator garden in bloomPollinator garden in bloom

Pollinator Garden @ PARH

The pollinator garden was established in 2018 to attract pollinators for our PARH vegetable garden and support pollinator life cycle by creating habitat with flowers through out the seasons.Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination – they need pollinators. Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. That means that 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. 

In 2021, the Garden was expanded to include more host plants that support butterflies by providing necessary plants to lay their eggs and support the caterpillars stage of life.

In 2022, we became certified as a Monarch Waystation from Monarch Watch, joined Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, and the garden became a butterfly certified garden through the North America Butterfly Association (NABA.)

Additional pollinator and native plant information:

Great Pollinator Census

Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch

Monarch Waystation Program

North American Butterfly Association

Butterflies of Georgia's Piedmont Region

Georgia Native Plant Society

GSU Perimeter College Native Plant Botanical Garden
(see GSU website for native plant sale dates)

 



Pollinator WorkdayPollinator Workday
Pollinator WorkdayPollinator Workday
Plant Sale @ PARH GardenPlant Sale @ PARH Garden
Plant Sale @ PARH GardenPlant Sale @ PARH Garden