Program History

The University of California Master Gardener Program extends UC research-based information about home horticulture and pest management to the public. In exchange for the training and materials received from UC, master gardeners perform volunteer services in a myriad of venues.

The Master Gardener Program is an example of an effective partnership between the University and motivated citizens. Because certified master gardeners represent UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE), they broaden UCCE's client base and sphere of influence.

The Master Gardener Program is administered locally by participating UCCE county offices, the principal outreach and public service arm of the University's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


The University of California Cooperative Extension is part of the land-grant University system that has provided the citizens of California with information and educational programs on agriculture, natural and human resource development since 1914. The land-grant system was established to encourage state universities to better serve the agricultural needs of communities not located near campuses. Cooperative Extension Advisors are "close at hand" representatives of the University of California.

Santa Clara County:

As volunteer representatives of the University, the overall impact on our communities is significant. It is estimated that we have one-on-one contact with at least 15,000 people each year. Nancy Garrison, former Urban Horticulture Program Coordinator with UCCE, started the program in Santa Clara County in 1982.

Our value to the community can best be evaluated by the impact of our work in our community. We serve the people by the thousands of hours we commit through outreach projects and educational programs. Gardening classes are taught by Master Gardeners to many different groups of people.

Becoming a Master Gardener:

To receive Master Gardener information in your area, please contact your local university Cooperative Extension office. If you live in Santa Clara County, please call 408-282-3105 between 9:30am and noon, Monday thru Friday.