Project Spotlight

Featured Extension Master Gardener Projects

Extension Master Gardeners contribute incredible work all across the Commonwealth! The projects represented on this page illustrate interesting, unique, or well-planned projects that we have chosen to highlight in case they are helpful to other units as you plan your own projects. The projects featured here are just a small fraction of all the work we do.

We want to hear about your projects! If you are an EMG with a great local project, email Devon at for information on turning it into a project highlight for this page. We are especially interested in hearing about your COVID relief stories (for example, donating produce, helping community gardens, working with food banks, etc).

Fred Heutte Demo Garden

Norfolk Master Gardeners have managed their Fred Heutte Demo Garden through COVID, providing food to local food banks. Read more.

Virtual Plant Disease Diagnosis

Chesterfield County EMGs responded to the COVID pandemic by taking their popular diagnostic services virtual. Read more.

obelisk in corhaven graveyard

Corhaven Graveyard

Master Gardeners work to identify and restore plants at a cemetery for enslaved persons, providing education on native plants. Learn more

Recent Project Highlights

Turf to Trees

By Barbara Bailey, Community Engagement Coordinator Master Gardener Coordinator Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County

Turf to Trees project info box

Last September, Loudoun Extension Master Gardener Cynthia Falconer spearheaded a cost share grant project, Virginia Trees for Clean Water, awarded by the VA Dept. of Forestry, for her Potomac Green HOA common area.

The objective was to convert sections of turf to mulched beds with native trees and ground cover, thereby reducing runoff and nutrients flowing into Russell Branch Creek, which runs through the property, and reducing in-stream sediment. The trees will also shade a 600-foot section of the community trail system and provide an object lesson in the benefits of trees to community members.

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Master gardeners stand around cart and clap

Virginia Beach seed library cart enters fourth season

By Debi Edwards, Virginia Beach Master Gardener

The Virginia Beach Seed Library was created as a joint project of the Meyera E Obendorf (MEO) Central  Library and Virginia Beach Master Gardeners (VBMG) to entice the general public to start planting home gardens.  Since the grand opening in 2018, we have distributed 23,287 seed packets (over 232,000 seeds!) to 719 participants.

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house in colonial williamsburg with trees

Colonial Williamsburg Arboretum Educational Tree Project

Colonial Williamsburg (CW) has within its boundaries a unique collection of trees and woody plants.  The majority of them are native to the Mid-Atlantic region, and those that are not, were introduced into the Virginia Colony prior to 1800.  Although these plants were familiar to Virginia colonists, many of today’s visitors do not recognize them because they are not readily available in commercial nurseries. 

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boxes of produce sit on a stone path with yellow flowers in a garden behind them

Fred Heutte Demonstration Garden COVID Response

By: Paul Ziegler, Norfolk Extension Master Gardener

For over 10 years, Norfolk Master Gardeners have operated a Demonstration Garden at the Fred Heutte Center in Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood. The garden, consisting of 40 4ft X 4ft raised beds, utilizes Square Foot Gardening techniques to demonstrate how to maximize food growing potential in an urban environment.  The entire garden is maintained by a cadre of extremely dedicated Norfolk Master Gardeners and a few neighborhood volunteers. All produce is donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.  It has served as a hands-on educational opportunity for not only our Interns, but for our “seasoned perennials” as well.  It has been a central focal point to helpgroups and individuals interested in growing their own produce.

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close up branches affected by boxwood blight show leaf yellowing

In Chesterfield, plant disease diagnosis goes virtual amid coronavirus

By: John McBride

In Chesterfield, plant disease diagnosis goes virtual amid coronavirus

Last summer, a local first-time vegetable gardener called the Chesterfield County Master Gardener Help Desk with a big problem: all his tomato plants seemed to be dying. Peg Tipple, Chesterfield County Master Gardener volunteer, jumped into action. After dissecting plant samples brought to the lab, she identified the problem. The gardener had planted his tomatoes in containers that were too small.

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Want to get your project featured on this page? Email Devon at Content on this page has previously appeared in the EMG newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.