The Ellis County Master Gardener Association supports Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service in the community through our annual Expo, numerous horticultural classes, speaking engagements, monthly newsletter, and our community and learning gardens.
Created in 1997 with five members, one who is still active, we will be celebrating 23 years as a local gardening association in 2020. Our Master Gardeners volunteer an average of 8,000 plus hours yearly, at a value of more than $184,000 annually helping the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service achieve its mission of disseminating horticultural information to the county. An intern training class is conducted yearly bringing new talent into the association. Our 94 volunteer members share their interests, specializations, and service to the community through various forums.
March usually marks the annual Ellis County Lawn and Garden Expo. This event is highly anticipated by all who attend, from Ellis County and other surrounding counties. Each year over 2,500 attendees attend educational sessions, purchase plants, meet vendors, and have the opportunity to ask gardening questions.
Ellis County Master Gardeners are most proud of our ability to offer scholarships to graduating seniors in Ellis County. Our scholarship program is funded by our annual Lawn and Garden Expo. The Ellis County Master Gardeners are proud to have awarded $71,100 in scholarships, since beginning this program in 2003, to 39 Ellis County seniors.
Each year the organization produces the annual gardening-focused calendar and is always eagerly awaited by both gardeners and local nurseries for its helpful gardening information and timely garden reminders. The Ellis County Master Gardeners give away over 5,000 copies of the calendar every year. Click here to see a list of sponsors who have the free calendars available.
Ellis County’s Junior Master Gardener Program has grown each year and currently has over 200 students enrolled. This program is in several elementary schools and also has a group specifically for those home-schooled in the county.
ECMGA’s award-winning monthly e-gardening newsletter is distributed electronically to over 1,200 recipients. Each month’s upcoming events, educational opportunities, and articles written by our members, are included to keep the public up to date and informed. You can read the latest edition by clicking HERE. Master Gardeners can be heard on both a daily and weekly segment on the local radio station, KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM, which reaches over 12,000 listeners in the surrounding area. Educational outreach is also achieved via a weekly newspaper article reaching over 33,000 readers. Monthly gardening and landscape information is published in a bi-monthly living magazine that has a print circulation of 30,000 readers and approximately 10,000 online readers.
Master Gardeners teach classes at Waxahachie Lighthouse for Learning, a cooperative effort between Waxahachie ISD, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Ellis County Master Gardeners, and other organizations and businesses in Ellis County.
Volunteers participate in numerous events as another way of interacting with and being of service to the community: Waxahachie Gingerbread Trail and Public Garden Tour, 4th of July Parade, Midlothian Quilt Show, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival, and Ferris Earth Day. Our dedicated members can be found weekly at the Waxahachie Farmers Market passing out information and answering questions (April – October).
Ellis County Master Gardeners maintain several public gardens that are enjoyed by the community: Waxahachie’s Horticulture Learning Center, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, and Butterfly Garden located on the Waxahachie Bike and Hike Trail, and also Ridgeview Park located in Midlothian.
Please come out and enjoy one of our many gardens!
What is a Master Gardener?
The Texas Master Gardener program is an educational volunteer program conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of the Texas A&M University System. 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 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 county’s Texas AgriLife Extension office to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.
Note: Master Gardeners are representatives of Texas AgriLife Extension. In all volunteer work related to the program, Master Gardeners follow the research-based recommendations of Texas AgriLife Extension. The title “Texas Master Gardener” can be used by volunteers only when engaged in Extension-sponsored activities.
Is the Master Gardener program for me?
• Do you want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
• Are you eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?
• Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge with people?
• Do you have enough time to attend training and complete volunteer service hour requirements?
• Do you have special interests that could benefit the community or an interest in developing one? (i.e. bird or butterfly knowledge, native gardens, wildflowers, etc.)
• Do you have a sincere interest in nature or gardening?
If accepted into the Master Gardener program, you will be required to attend 64 hours of in-classroom training courses. The program offers instruction in lawn care; ornamental trees and shrubs; insect, disease, and weed management; soils and plant nutrition, vegetable gardening; home fruit production; garden flowers; perennials and annuals; and water conservation.
In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer their time to their county’s AgriLife Extension program. The type of service performed by Master Gardeners varies according to community needs and the abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners. Some Master Gardeners answer telephone requests for information related to gardening and participate in plant clinics or displays at community events. Master Gardeners may speak to local groups and conduct workshops. They may help establish community garden projects, work with 4-H youth, or assist their agent with news or radio releases related to gardening.
Participants become certified Master Gardeners after they have completed the training course and fulfilled their volunteer commitment of 75 hours.
The Ellis County Master Gardener Association classes are conducted on an annual basis during the month of February. The classes usually are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Current year applications can be accessed using the link below or by calling the office at 972-825-5175.
2023 Master Gardener Program Application – Will be available in Fall 2022