Community Outreach

E1 Horticultural Help Desk   Avril Purvis 757-869-5639, 757-566-1546 and Barry Holland: 757-345-2397

The Help Desk is a service offered at the James City County Extension office and at the MG Farmers’ Market Booth to answer horticultural questions for homeowners.  Citizens can call, e-mail, or come to the extension office or Farmers’ Market with questions or problems encountered in home gardening.  An active master gardener or intern will research these questions and respond to the questioner.

Help Desk
Help Desk

E7 Landscape Love Gary Streb,, 757-565-0250 co-chair and Sherry Walker, ,  757-707-9772 co-chair

Extension Master Gardeners in 3-4 person teams educate homeowners on Best Management Practices for a beautiful, healthy, and sustainable landscape. The program will also seek to enhance water quality and conservation practices to restore and protect our local watersheds. Staff and trained Extension Master Gardener volunteers will develop educational materials, complete on-site homeowner visits, and suggest planting and maintenance recommendations including:
• Appropriate plant selection, placement and care, efficient irrigation and fertilization and Integrated Pest Management practices.

• Reducing the use of water, fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and fossil fuels

• Suggesting appropriate plant materials and routine maintenance to assure success by encouraging the use of native plants, trees, and shrubs, composting, and reuse of yard debris.  Reinforce the elements of a sustainable landscape.

• To educate local homeowners, Homeowner Associations, and community groups on the adverse environmental effects of landscape practices and their relationship to the environment such as the use of exotic invasive species, mulches from declining resources and storm water surface runoff.

• Establishing diversified landscape practices which support habitat preservation for wildlife and a healthier environment. There are two working sessions. Spring registration runs from March 15th thru April 15th with home visits completed by mid-June.  The fall season registration runs from August 15th thru September 15th with visits completed by mid-November.

Routinely we have five teams organized by geographical subdivisions and consist of both Extension Master Gardeners and Interns.  Total yearly visits historically vary between 120 and 150.

Landscape Love
Landscape Love

E12 Speakers Bureau  Kathy Bush,, 804-966-5239

Would you like a speaker for your garden club, homeowners meeting, or other local group? A pool of active members are available for presentations to public groups upon request.

Through the Speakers Bureau, master gardeners utilize the expertise, knowledge and awareness created through JCC/W MGA education and projects to educate the public on requested horticultural topics. By creating a speakers pool of our members, we are able to present a variety of formats to community groups.


Ask the Experts

  • Herbs
  • Insects/Diseases
  • Lawn/Turf
  • Landscape Design
  • Perennials/Annuals/Generalist
  • Pruning
  • Trees and Shrubs
  • Vegetables
  • Composting
  • Waster-Wise Gardening
  • Butterfly Gardening
  • Native Plants
  • Container Gardening

Extension Master Gardener Programs

  • How to Become a Master Gardener
  • Diagnostic Clinic
  • Horticulture Therapy Volunteers
  • Landscape Love Program
  • Turf Love
  • Water Wise
  • Community Gardens
  • Pruning Clinics
Speakers Bureau
Speakers Bureau

E18   Farmers’ Market   Sally Sissel 757-258-9638 and John 757-345-5209

The Williamsburg Farmers’ Market is held on Saturdays at Merchants’ Square in downtown Williamsburg. The Master Gardeners staff a booth every other Saturday from 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. from April through September. Our booth is comprised of three tables under two canopies: one table provides turf information, one table provides general information and answers questions from the public (much like helpdesk at the extension office), and the third table varies from market to market. This table features a theme developed by various Master Gardener project volunteers. Themes have included herbs, vegetables, trees/shrubs, drought tolerant plants, plant propagation, perennials, etc. This project recruits 3 volunteers for each market at the help desk table while the turf and theme tables recruit their own volunteers.

Summer/Fall 2017 Topics

July 1
Plant Propagation

July 15

July 29

August 12
Trees & Shrubs

August 26

September 1
Therapeutic Gardening


Farmers Market
Farmers Market

E21 Turf Love  Kate Robbins: 757-564-2170

Turf Love is a partner program between PRIDE and Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers.  Through public workshops and home visits, Master Gardener volunteers teach homeowners how to produce healthy turf while reducing the use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides which pollute streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.  Water conservation is also promoted through proper mowing techniques.  Information and answers to questions on lawn, soil and weeds are given at the MG Farmers’ Market booth every other week.  Turf Love is also part of the Master Gardener exhibit at the James City County Fair and various community gatherings.

Turf Love

E23 Incredible Edibles   Barbara Gustafson 564-1888 and Yvonne Forbes: 757-345-3365

Incredible Edibles promotes locally-grown produce and encourages growing one’s own fruit, herbs and vegetables, with a special emphasis on gardening organically and helping the underserved within the community.  I.E.’s main program is the Historic Triangle Community Garden where members of the community may grow vegetables organically under the guidance of Master Gardeners.  A specified number of the beds are reserved for the Master Gardeners who give the harvest to FISH.  This garden is on Waller Mill Road beside the Historic Triangle Community Services Center.  A second program is Grow it & Eat It, a yearly community seminar on growing herbs and vegetables organically.

Incredible Edibles
Incredible Edibles

E32 Pruning Clinics  Jeanne Millin: 757-258-4724 and Patricia Paquette: 757-220-4215

The Pruning Program is an environmental program that promotes sustainable landscapes.  The program provides educational training to community groups and homeowners on pruning and care of ornamental shrubs and small trees.  The program offers workshops and home-based pruning lessons for individual homeowners and small groups.  Pruning sessions are scheduled in the winter/early spring. Homeowners and groups are instructed in pruning techniques, appropriate tools and are provided with additional resources on pruning instruction.

Pruning Clinic
Pruning Clinic

E34 Sustainable Gardening at Williamsburg Botanical Garden  Jordan Westenhaver: 757-253-0174 and Joanne Sheffield: 301-983-1785

To promote awareness and appreciation of sustainable gardening in the Virginia Coastal Plain/Tidewater Region by communicating sound horticultural practices and providing information on the attributes/aspects of the various (15) growing environments within the garden to include plant species and varieties that are either native to the area or work well in this environment.

Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden iris
Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden

E39 Diagnostic Clinic   Donna Xander 757-220-1748

Diagnostic Clinics are held in the JCC Extension Office during the spring and another month in the fall. The clinics are designed to provide public information and education on identifying plants and diagnosing pests and diseases and to provide information on proper, safe and environmentally conscious treatment of homeowner plant problems.

diagnostic clinic
Diagnostic Clinic