Master Gardener Program

Part-time Non-credit Certificate Program

VIU Certificate - Master Gardener program guide

Update: The next start date for the full Master Gardener Program will be Fall 2021! Online courses planned for Fall 2020. 

Attend a FREE Information Session planned for Spring 2021. 

A collaboration between Vancouver Island University and Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association.

Designed for the experienced home gardener, this is an intensive training program providing up-to-date information on all gardening basics. Through this program you will be able to:

  • Meet other gardeners in an atmosphere of sharing and exploration
  • Fill gaps in your gardening knowledge
  • Provide satisfying solutions to future gardening problems
  • Know where to find the answers to new challenges
  • Give back to your community and share your joy of gardening.

Course Delivery:

The program consists of 78 hours of classroom training, followed by 70 hours of volunteer service. The classroom training component is delivered in a Saturday workshop format (12 sessions). The program will take place at the G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre in Nanaimo.

Program Content:

Classroom component covers a full range of gardening topics such as:

  • Botany and plant identification
  • Soils
  • Pruning
  • Plant diseases, hardiness and protection
  • Specialized information about specific plant types
  • Sustainable landscape design
  • Weed management
  • Composting
  • Propagation
  • Basic entomology and integrated pest management

Volunteer Service component is where students share their gardening knowledge and passion with the community, supported by experienced Master Gardeners.

Start Date:

Next Program:  September 2021

Admission Requirements:

  • Experienced home gardener, prepared to share knowledge and enthusiasm with the gardening public.

How to Register:

  • An information session will be held in Spring 2021 at the GR Paine Centre registration to be confirmed.
  • Register to Advanced Gardener Theory

Start Date and Application Deadlines

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus
Application Fee
Testing Required
Chair Contact

Name: Nancy Hamilton
Phone: 250-746-3573

Area Secretary Contact

Name: Clarissa Peter
Phone: 250-746-3575

Coordinator Contact

Name: Kim Tooby
Phone: 250-746-3546

Documentation Deadline

For program information please call Kim Tooby @ 250-746-3546 or email

Please call Area Contact Person to put your name on an interest list.


VIU Application for Admission required. Program takes place at G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre, 2324 East Wellington Road in Nanaimo.
See the G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre website for more information.

The Master Gardener Certificate Program consists of Advanced Gardener: Theory and Practice AMMG 023(78hrs) September through to December followed by the Master Gardener In Training Volunteer Component AMMG 030(70hrs )