The JCMGA is committed to providing the general public (with attention to underserved populations) quality horticultural education and demonstration through volunteer leadership, continual learning, and service, and to provide assistance to the horticultural efforts of the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service.

The JCMGA welcomes all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin to participate in its programs and events.


Our Objectives

  • To solicit and approve ideas for volunteer projects, organize and conduct volunteer projects that satisfy the mission of the JCMGA, and meet the requirements of initial and ongoing Master Gardener (MG) certification;
  • To provide volunteer leadership and support for Jefferson County Extension programs, in collaboration with the Master Gardener Liaison/County Extension Agent;
  • To provide assistance as needed in training future Master Gardeners;
  • To provide continuing educational opportunities for JCMGA membership;
  • To provide opportunity for social networking among JCMGA members, interns, and professionals in the horticultural field; and
  • To encourage JCMGA members to share their passion and enjoyment of gardening with each other and members of the community.



Our membership consists of Active and Intern Members.

Active members have successfully completed the Kentucky Master Gardener classroom training. Active members provide volunteer service each year that satisfies ongoing certification requirements.

Intern members have completed the initial Kentucky Master Gardener classroom training and are returning the volunteer hours required for initial certification. Intern members may participate on committees.


Priority Projects

Every year, the JCMGA decides on a list of projects that its members judge to be particularly important and worthy of our participation.

  • Q&A tables at libraries and farmers’ markets
  • Junior Master Gardener classes at a local elementary school
  • Community gardens
  • Whitehall Woodland and Fern garden
  • Louisville Nature Center Rain and Sensory Gardens
  • Arbor Day Tree Give-away
  • Master gardeners also spend time on many other projects during the gardening year.


About our Volunteer Projects

In order to satisfy our mission, JCMGA members provide various types of volunteer services, including such activities as:

1)  Community education programs.

Throughout the metro area at sites such as libraries, senior centers, and other nonprofits, master gardeners present gardening programs on various topics including composting, horticultural design, beneficial and harmful insects, plant diseases, etc.

2)  At St. Mary’s Academy, an elementary school  in the Louisville Metro area, MGs teach a gardening curriculum for school children exploring basic botany, landscape design, ecology, plant propagation and other related concepts.

3)  Master gardener volunteers staff information tables at local libraries, farmers markets and fairs, and provide demonstrations at local community gardens.

4)  At Whitehall Historic Home and Gardens, Master Gardener volunteers have developed a woodland garden showcasing native and exotic ferns and other woodland plants, including a Victorian Stumpery.

5)  Louisville Nature Center – Volunteers have installed and continue to maintain two gardens: a rain garden, located behind the Center, and a Sensory Garden, located in the front of the Center. Both gardens serve as demonstration gardens to educate the general public.

How we choose our Projects

Projects that satisfy the mission of the JCMGA can be recommended by members or by the Jefferson County Extension Agent responsible for Master Gardener training and certification.

Individuals and nonprofit organizations throughout the community can also request the assistance of JCMGA volunteers in horticultural and agricultural projects and programs.

Members of the general public or a nonprofit organization can request assistance by contacting their local county extension service.

Master Gardening

National History

The master gardener program was originally developed in 1973 on the national level to train volunteers who would then serve as the conduit for dissemination of information and research results from land grant educational and research institutions to the general public through county cooperative extension services. Particular attention was to be paid to providing agricultural and horticultural education to underserved populations. County extension agencies throughout the country were mandated to train and certify individuals to become master gardeners and continue to do so today.

Master gardener associations are formed either by county extension agents and/or by master gardeners in order to provide a way for individuals who have been trained and certified to continue their education and service.


Local History

The Jefferson County Master Gardener Association was formed by Jefferson County Extension Agent Dawn Ripley in 1998, in collaboration with master gardeners.

In January 2008, the Association was reorganized and now functions as a strong, nonprofit organization that partners and collaborates with the Jefferson County Extension Service on issues regarding certification and volunteer service requirements as well as on horticultural and agricultural volunteer projects and community education programs..

Since 2008, the JCMGA has grown in all ways possible. The Association has seen an increase in the number of its members, volunteer hours, projects and programs provided to the general public, and in the amount of money raised for donations and projects. The JCMGA is a vibrant organization providing valuable services within the Louisville Metro area.

The Jefferson County Master Gardener Association, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Charitable Organization.



In order for an individual to become a master gardener in Jefferson County, they must complete the Kentucky master gardener training course and satisfy the initial volunteer service requirements for certification.

Topics covered during the course include botany, propagation, landscape design, vegetable gardening, integrated pest management, etc.

After completing the course, participants begin a 12 month internship during which they must perform 30 hours of volunteer service in three categories (10 hours each): continuing education, hands-on, and community education.

In order to maintain certification as a master gardener after the Intern year, an individual must continue to satisfy annual requirements for returning 15 hours of volunteer service in the three categories listed above (5 hours each).

For more information about becoming a master gardener, contact the JCMGA or call the Jefferson County Extension Services at 569-2344.