Each Master Gardener Chapter in Texas is associated with its county AgriLife Agricultural Extension Agent. The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is a four county chapter so it is lucky to have the guidance from four AgriLife professionals; one from each of Austin, Colorado, Fayette & Washington Counties.
Our membership of trained certified Master Gardeners is over 100 strong and spread out across the four BMGA counties. These volunteers, with a quest to share their knowledge, training and passion for gardening with their communities is the heart of the organization.
Master Gardener Training
The Master Gardener certification training is an intensive 14-week course with both classroom instruction and field trips. The instructors are primarily experienced Master Gardeners and AgriLife & Texas A&M University faculty and researchers. The topics of instruction are uniform thoughout the State of Texas as all Master Gardener chapters in Texas use the same detailed training manual developed by the Texas Master Gardener Association. The manual was recently updated and will be used by the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association classes starting in 2020. The training teaches fact-based proven and sound horticulture practices in an unbiased manner.
Master Gardeners are volunteers, trained by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in research-based horticulture including soils, water conservation, composting, entomology, plant pathology and related subjects. As County Extension Service volunteers, they give to the community by extending research-based knowledge and providing solutions in one-to-one problem solving, in a demonstration gardens and educational programs. What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture.
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.
- Manage demonstration gardens;
- Organize youth & adult gardening education programs;
- Site visits to provide advice to the gardening public about best practices and how to improve the homeowner’s garden;
- Manage school garden projects;
- Maintain a speakers bureau;
- Lunch ’N Learn programs free to the public with presentation on specific gardening topics;
- Provide an annual Open House with information about BMGA’s training course;
- Coordinates with AgriLife Extension a 14-week Master Gardener certification training course with field trips;
- Monthly chapter meetings with informative and educational speakers for the Master Gardeners continued education and training;
- Conduct plant, tree and fruit tree sales and provide educational material and advice along with the plants purchased;
- Promote rainwater harvesting for the homeowner;
- Promote EarthKind gardening practices.
BMGA is a voluntary, nonprofit, educational, literary and charitable association organized to support Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas Master Gardener Association. BMGA is not affiliated with any commercial enterprises. BMGA serves Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington Counties, Texas, in cooperation with the counties’ Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Offices.
- Complete the Master Gardener course of instruction;
- Complete fifty (50) volunteer service hours within one year of the completeing the training course;
- Receive certification by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, The Texas A&M University System;
- Pay annual dues;
- Maintain certification through re-certification every year which requires 10 hours of approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and 20 volunteer hours.
- Attend and participate in membership meetings which are typically on the fourth Tuesday of each month.
- To increase the gardening knowledge of its members and the general public.
- To support and assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension by providing the four-county community with information on good gardening practices through news articles, clinics, presentations, schools programs and other community groups, by telephone and digital media.