The Master Gardener certificate program offers a wide variety of gardening and horticultural courses for all levels of ability and knowledge.

  • Participate in related activities, tours and events on campus and beyond.
  • Socialize with other gardening enthusiasts at events to learn and share knowledge.
  • Instructors are trained professionals who specialize in their teaching area.
  • Hands-on teaching methods also provide access to resources available through the University of Saskatchewan.
  • There is no time limit. You can start the program at any time and take as long as you need to complete the program requirements. The U of S Master Gardener Certificate is flexibly designed so you can take courses according to your schedule.
  • The U of S Master Gardener Program is open to anyone. There are no deadlines for registration or for completion of the program.
  • Courses are offered throughout the year. 

Requirements

Master Gardener Certificate Requirements

  • The U of S Master Gardener Program is open to everyone age 16 and older. The only prerequisite is an interest in gardening–and enthusiasm.
  • Register anytime and take as long as you want to complete the program.
  • To receive your certificate, complete 7 core courses, a 40-hour volunteer internship and an open book exam.
    • Garden Fundamentals and Botanical Latin are recommended as your first courses and are prerequisites for your Tree and Shrub ID course. Beyond these recommendations, you can take the courses in any order you wish.
    • The 40 hour volunteer inservice may be completed within any year of your choosing.
    • Once you have completed your classes, you can request access to your open book, multiple choice exam.
  • The total cost of the program including registration fee, all 7 core workshops (6.5 days of class time), examination and certification is under $800. 
  • Once you become a certified University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener, you are required to put in a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service annually and attend a minimum of six hours of course instruction every two years to keep your certification current.

To Become a U of S Master Gardener:

  1. Anyone can take any of our classes at any time, just for personal interest. However if you want to become certified, you need to enroll in the Certification program as well. The registration fee includes all administrative and final examination fees as well as a subcription to the U of S Master Gardener newsletter. It also includes your home study course material for reference purposes. Only this registration fee is payable up front. The core course fees are due whenever you chose to enrol in a course.On completion of the seven core courses, a take-home, open book, multiple choice exam based on material from the program text and core courses can be written. 
  2. Complete the seven core courses that are offered throughout the year and during Hort Week. 
  3. Complete your internship: 40 hours of volunteer time within one year. Sometimes people feel there isn’t any volunteer opportunities in their community but if you see a need in your community, you can fill it through your community service based internship. Some ideas include: writing articles, assisting seniors with yard work, assisting U of S researchers, planting a community garden, sitting on the board of your local hort club, planning or participating in horticulture outreach education activities like Gardenscape, growing plants for fundraising and charity, designing a therapeutic garden, advising or assisting in a school yard garden, etc. In addition to finding your own opportunity, we also send out notices of volunteer opportunities through email.
  4. Email us at gardening@usask.ca to request your exam.

You will be considered a University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Trainee until you have fulfilled all of the above requirements.

Courses and Workshops

Core Courses

Core Courses are offered at least twice a year and some are available through distance education. They can be taken for personal interest or applied toward your U of S Master Gardener Certificate.

Core courses can be taken through distance education (online/home study) or as short-term face-to-face workshops during Hort Week.

Master Gardener courses are indicated with (MGCC) on course descriptions. Core courses include:

  • Garden Fundamentals: (workshop or distance format). This course is a prerequisite for Tree & Shrub I.D.
  • Botanical Latin: (workshop or distance format). This class is recommended, though not required, to take before Identifying Insects in Your Yard & Garden and Tree & Shrub I.D.
  • Identifying Insects in Your Yard & Garden: (workshop) Botanical Latin is recommended, though is not a required prerequisite.
  • Safe Use of Pesticides and Alternatives: (workshop)
  • Common Plant Diseases: (workshop)
  • Tree & Shrub I.D.: (workshop) Garden Fundamentals is a prerequisite for this course. Botanical Latin is recommended as well, though is not a required prerequisite.
  • Communications: (workshop) Teachers and other professional communicators may be exempt from this course on a case by case basis.

Core courses are regularly updated to ensure that you get a hands-on education. Courses include activities and demonstrations whenever possible to help increase your learning and to provide practical application to your horticulture studies. Botanical Latin and Garden Fundamentals are prerequisites for other core courses. Botanical Latin, Garden Fundamentals and Safe Use of Pesticides are also available through distance education and the remaining core courses are currently being developed for distance formats.

Gardening Workshops

Gardening Workshops: Over 30 special interest courses, tours or events are offered annually with something for every are of interest level of gardening ability. While core courses are offered throughout the year, most general workshops, tours and events are offered during Hort Week

Scholarships

The Saskatoon Horticultural Society (SHS) provides the Butterfield Scholarship, which is an annual scholarship for funding toward the University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Certificate. Visit their website to learn more and download an application form.

Contact us

Vanessa Young
Program Coordinator and Instructor
Horticulture and Agriculture Lifelong Learning Programs
College of Agriculture and Bioresources
Rm 4D36 Ag Bldg - 51 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8
306.966.5097

Email master.gardeners@usask.ca

Master Gardener Volunteer Opportunities

Date: Saturday, August 27th, 2016
Time: flexible, depends on volunteer availability
Two or three volunteers are needed to help make improvements to the meditation garden in the interior courtyard. Activities will include:

  • Raking, removing and replacing mulch
  • Digging, removing existing shrubs and amending soil, installing edging
  • Planting, adding new plants as per garden design
  • Pruning, existing plants if required

Volunteers are asked to bring their own/preferred digging implement (spade) and pruning shears. Boots and gloves should be worn; other clothing should be appropriate for the weather. Please call event coordinator, Twyla at (306) 652-6994 to volunteer.

Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) is looking for gardening enthusiasts to assist with our Summer Garden Program (SGP.) This is a free drop-in program for youth of all ages, running throughout July and August in schoolyard and community gardens throughout Saskatoon.  (Confederation Park, Mayfair, Westmount, Hugh Cairns, and Appleby Community Garden). We could use your help with garden maintenance, as well as help with SGP set-up, activities, games, and crafts. Please contact Julie, the SGP leader at jmaxwell@aitc.sk.ca and let her know which location/what kind of work you are interested in. See you in the garden! For more information about our organization, visit http://www.aitc.sk.ca/
Warm 'n' Cozy Care Homes houses over 40 seniors. Our seniors love gardening and would love some help from starting seeds, to enjoying the fruits. It would be a wonderful opportunity for anyone to come spend some time with our wonderful family full of wisdom and jokes! To contact Warm 'n' Cozy please call the manager at 306-261-5688.

Help engage school children to produce vegetables to be fed to the zoo animals. The students will potentially start seedlings in their classrooms, then participate in a planting day in late May. Classes will return for a 'maintenance' day in June, and a harvest day in the fall. The garden will be tended by day camps during the summer months.

Ag in the Classroom is hoping to find volunteers that may be interested in any or all of the below:

  • a classroom visit to assist with seeding vegetables in peat pellets
  • the Planting Day event at the Zoo: assist with planting vegetables
  • maintenance day: direct students in weeding etc.
  • fall harvest day: assist with harvesting and 'closing' the garden

Ideally, they would like to pair a volunteer with each of the participating classrooms. We will likely have 4-6 classes participating. For more information contact Susan Jorgenson at susan@aitc.sk.ca

The Prairie Habitat Garden Restoration Project: Re-establishing Native Prairie for Improved Learning and Engagement
The Master Gardeners have been invited to provide their input on the redesign of the University of Saskatchewan's Prairie Habitat Garden. Over the next two years, the garden will be improved to provide more early-childhood learning opportunities, increase biodiversity and native species, and focus on Indigenous features and teachings. There will also be numerous opportunities to volunteer over the summer. For more information or to RSVP, please contact shannon@4tomorrow.ca.

Do you have a green thumb?  Enjoy planning garden spaces?  Do you have skills or knowledge about landscape architecture and green space design?  
Parkridge Centre is in the planning and development stages for a barrier free community garden space.  The space is going to be one of a kind in Saskatoon and will offer the opportunity for residents of Parkridge Centre and members of the Parkridge Community to garden in a completely barrier free environment.

We are currently accepting volunteer applications for the following:

  • Landscape Design Volunteer – Do you have the skills and knowledge to plan a green space or garden space?  The Landscape Design Volunteer will assist in the overall design of the barrier free garden space and will work closely with a team of volunteers, staff and community members to ensure that the design of the space is reflective of the needs of the community.
  • Plantation Volunteer – do you have knowledge about planting a variety of vegetables, fruit trees, flowers and native to Saskatchewan varieties of plants and trees?  Our Plantation Volunteer is responsible for the overall plantation planning including the selection of the plant varieties; they will work closely with the manager of Volunteer Workforce and a team of Garden volunteers to ensure that the proper variety selection occurs and that planting occurs at the correct times.
  • Community Garden Volunteer –  Our Garden Volunteers will assist with the overall planning, planting, maintenance and harvest within our garden space.

We are seeking the assistance of community members who have a willingness to assist with the overall design and development of a barrier free community garden, if you have specific skills or knowledge you would like to share please feel free to contact Kimberly Quam, Manager of Volunteer Workforce for Parkridge Centre directly at 306-655-3865 or via email at  Kimberly.quam@saskatoonhealthregion.ca

Ronald McDonald House recently completed landscaping and would appreciate a regular visit by a Master Gardener to share their knowledge and expertise.  We are looking for someone that is able to volunteer a minimum of once per month, to a maximum of once per week, for about 2 hours per visit.  Master Gardener will work alongside the garden volunteer lead to help maintain plant health, consisting of newly planted shrubs and perennials. Kindly contact Nan Lee at 306-220-4373 or email nanlee3@gmail.com if you are interested.
Oliver Lodge is currently on the hunt for a regular “Gardening/Horticulture Volunteer” to share their knowledge and expertise.  We are hoping to find an individual who is able to commit 2-3 hours one day per week (day and time are flexible – in the past it has been Wednesday mornings). Our residents have a greenhouse, flower pots, raised flower beds, and a raised garden that they take care with the help of the Recreation Coordinators, but they need your help. Please contact Kristen Smith, Director of Recreation and Volunteer Services at 306-986-5471 or kristen.smith@saskatoonhealthregion.ca if you are interested or would like more information. Oliver Lodge is located at 1405 Faulkner Crescent.
 
North Park Wilson School is working to maintain our Natural Grassland Garden. It is a designated space at the front of our building at 1505-9th Ave. N. We are looking for interested gardeners who would like to join us in the planning and development of a plan for the ongoing preservation and maintenance of this space. Please contact the school at 306-683-7380 or email champs@spsd.sk.ca to get more information.
The Saskatoon Horticultural Society (SHS) has been operating for 103 years within the Saskatoon region and consists of volunteers to run its board and the many events held throughout the year. The SHS promotes the enjoyment of art, knowledge and public awareness of horticulture and safe environmental practices to its members.

Are you passionate about horticulture and want to network with like-minded people in the Saskatoon region? We have many opportunities for you if you just want to casually volunteer:

  • Looking for volunteers to man our booth at Gardenscape whether answering questions or signing-up people for our membership.
  • We are looking for volunteers for our tours we hold during the summer. Dates have not been announced yet. You can follow us via our website or Facebook page for current events.

Please send us an email with your contact information at saskatoonhortsociety@sasktel.net

Want to get more involved with SHS? We are always looking for new people to become directors of our society to help achieve our mission. We meet once a month to discuss the direction of SHS. Help run our tours or propose new ideas. If you want to attend a meeting to see what we are about, please contact Chris at 306-281-8921.

Jackie Bantle, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan is looking for Master Gardeners to volunteer in the Plant Sciences Greenhouses. If you are interested in helping out, please email Jackie to be put on her volunteer list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Master Gardeners volunteer their time to assist people with horticulture in their own communities. They share their knowledge and experience with fellow gardeners, friends, neighbours, youth and seniors. This sharing consists of a varied range of activities that may include:
  • helping seniors or less-able individuals garden
  • answering a garden phone-in line for your community
  • designing, planting or maintaining community gardens in public places such as hospitals, schools, parks, etc.
  • developing horticultural therapy programs
  • writing a garden column for our newsletter or for your local paper
  • teaching gardening classes for your local community colleges, associations or recreation departments
  • The list goes on...  “If you think there is a need you can fill it!”
It began in 1972 in the state of Washington. It has since grown to include about 48 states and all the Canadian provinces. There are currently over 60,000 Master Gardeners across North America. The University of Saskatchewan program began in 1989.
Quite simply, the University of Saskatchewan has earned its reputation as a high caliber agricultural university. We are not a volunteer-based program; the U of S Master Gardener Program hires trained and experienced professionals to teach all courses and workshops. Our “bug guy” Professor Cedric Gillot, PhD has written University textbooks on Insects. In addition to instructing the core insect course, he also wrote the Insects in Your Yard and Garden distance education course. Sara Williams, a well-known author and well-respected horticulturalist, helped launch this program and still teaches several courses with us each year. During our classes, students have access to sites and materials from throughout the University. For example, in our Tree and Shrub ID class, students examine specimens gathered on campus and may bring home samples from over 15 different key species.
Each person’s timeline is unique. Some people finish the core courses of the program during Hort Week, others attend workshops or take distance education courses as their schedules allow and may take several years to complete the core courses. Throughout the educational training, students are encouraged to work on the home study portion of the course materials by reviewing the course texts. Of course, the timeline for completing the “internship” portion (40h volunteering in a horticultural capacity) is highly personal as well. For ideas on where to gain the volunteer hours, check out the Volunteering and Master Gardener project opportinities on this page.
Our program content has always been strong. Though we’ve made a few adjustments, in most courses no significant content changes have been made. So why the revisions? When we were speaking to students, we heard time and again that the in class activities and discussions were most useful for their growth as a horticulturalist so we’ve revisited the core courses to include more practical activities to help link the horticulture science to our gardening practices. For example, we’ve added some basic soil testing activities to the soil science portion of Garden Fundamentals. The only course to undergo significant content changes was our core course Communications but any Master Gardeners who received credit for the previous version do not need to retake the course.

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