Master Gardeners are individuals who are passionate about gardening. We are part of a vast international non-profit Master Gardener organization. Master Gardeners are a respected group of horticultural persons educated and certified through accredited universities or colleges. Experienced in gardening knowledge, we love to ‘pass on our knowledge’ through various mediums such as seminars, workshops, tv/radio appearances, info booths or helping organizations begin gardening programs. The volunteer opportunities are varied and rewarding. We want to help the gardeners of Manitoba be inspired and motivated in the joy of gardening. The Manitoba Master Gardener Association was formally organized in 2011 as a supporting and networking body for Master Gardeners in Training as well as Certified Master Gardeners in the Province of Manitoba. The concept of the MMGA began in July, 2010 when a group of Master Gardeners recognized the need for a central organization to facilitate communication between Master Gardeners in Manitoba.


History: A Brief History of the Master Gardener Program

The Master Gardener program began in Washington State in 1972 in response to public demand for practical information related to gardening. Registrants in the program were called Master Gardener Trainees. They received training in horticulture basics and imparted their gardening knowledge to the public through volunteer endeavours in their communities.

The program grew in popularity over the years and today Master Gardener programs are offered throughout North America in 48 states and across Canada (including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and the Atlantic Region). Master Gardener programs are also offered overseas. An International Master Gardener Conference takes place every two years, attracting Master Gardeners from across North America including Master Gardeners from as far away as Britain and Australia.

In Manitoba, the program originated several years ago through the University of Saskatchewan with delivery of core courses in both Winnipeg and selected rural communities. In 2005, however, local delivery of the core courses was halted due to cost cutting measures. Registrants in the program had the option of completing core courses in either Saskatoon or Regina. Many registrants chose to attend the University of Saskatchewan’s annual Hort Week in order to complete the core courses all at one time or to complete any outstanding courses.

Master Gardener communities continued to grow in the various provinces thanks to the availability of the program through educational institutions. In Manitoba, however, the size of the Master Gardener community remained very small in direct response to the lack of a locally delivered program. By 2008, demand was strong enough that a group of Master Gardeners approached educational institutions in the province in the hope that core courses would once again be made available in urban and rural centres. A series of meetings in 2009 with Brandon’s Assiniboine Community College, Brandon, the institution that had previously brokered the program from the University of Saskatchewan, proved promising and the advocacy effort gained support by Master Gardeners living and volunteering in communities around the province. A volunteer committee consisting of Master Gardeners from Winnipeg, Steinbach, Beausejour, Gimli and Brandon was created, pledging its firm commitment to supporting and promoting the Master Gardener program. With this assurance, Assiniboine Community College agreed to commence the process of brokering the program once again from the University of Saskatchewan and to launch it on a trial basis in Winnipeg in October 2010. The initial workshops met with an enthusiastic response and by January 2011, core courses were also available in Brandon.

Continued support of the Master Gardener program in Manitoba is critical to its success. The Manitoba Master Gardener Association is committed to supporting the Master Gardener program and to growing the community of Master Gardeners in Manitoba.

Goals and Objectives:

  • To co-operate with and support the educational activities of our institutional affiliates in order to implement and develop their Manitoba Master Gardener Program
  • To provide a communication network for Manitoba Master Gardeners to exchange ideas, information and issues
  • To support the ongoing training of Manitoba Master Gardeners by providing information for educational opportunities and experiences
  • To provide and encourage the growth of horticultural communities by building connections with like-minded organizations
  • To serve as a source of horticultural information for the general public through postings on our website as well as providing connections to Manitoba Master Gardeners
  • To promote sustainable horticultural practices and environmental stewardship


MG’s Involved in the Community:


Riel House:

Master Gardeners began volunteering at Riel House in 2013 to maintain two vegetable gardens originally planted in the 1880’s by the family of Louis Riel. Our pool of ten volunteers grow heritage crops and employ traditional gardening practices contributing to a view of the Métis community of 1886, the year to which Riel House has been restored. We have planted native fruit trees that supported the traditional Métis diet. New flower beds surrounding the entrance area to the property contain plants that would have been recognized by Victorian visitors to the Riel family. Our most ambitious gardening activity is the introduction of native prairie plants to the site, coupled with the removal of invasive species. We have two significant beds of native plants that bloom from May until September.

Heritage crops and practices, native plants, invasives, trees, garden planning. Riel House has it all.
MMGA volunteers have maintained the various gardens at the Riel House historic site in St. Vital and the partnership agreement with Parks Canada has recently been renewed. The following is the Annual Report for Riel House which shows what all the volunteering that Master Gardeners and Master Gardeners in Training accomplish for this historical property.


Assiniboine Park English Garden Ambassadors:



Master Gardeners and Master-Gardeners-in Training  Involved in Manitoba

Historic garden restoration, development, and public education:
• Riel House Museum and historic gardens (Winnipeg)
• Mennonite Heritage Village (Steinbach)
• Dalnavert House Museum and heritage gardens (Winnipeg)
• Seven Oaks House Museum and historic Métis vegetable garden (Winnipeg)
• Gabriel Roy House Museum and heritage garden (Winnipeg)
• St. Andrews Rectory Heritage Garden (St. Andrews)
• Upper Fort Garry historical gardens (Winnipeg)

Bishop Grandin Greenway projects (Winnipeg):
• Bittersweet Way: native perennials, fruit trees and shrubs, and urban forest development.
• St. Vital Agricultural Society (SVAS) – community gardens
• SVAS urban forest development project

Personal care centre gardens:
• Cancer Care Centre of Hope courtyard garden for client and family plant therapy (Winnipeg)
• St. Amant Centre gardens for residents, family members and staff (Winnipeg)
• Ronald McDonald House gardens (Winnipeg)
• Oakview Place Extendicare gardening program

  • Assiniboine Park’s English Garden, Butterfly Garden and Toucan Ridge (Winnipeg)
  • Brandon Community Garden Network, advice and public education (Brandon)
  • Buhler Recreational Park tree nursery and urban forest project (Transcona)
  • Crocus Plains Regional Technical School Senior Years Horticultural Program (Brandon)
  • Early Years Little Green Thumbs school program, Grades 2-5 (Neepawa)
  • East Kildonan Garden Club – Board of Director & projects and events
  • Fort Whyte Centre pond and native gardens (Winnipeg)
  • Gardens Manitoba, Board of Directors and projects/events
  • Green Action Centre’s apartment building composting project (Winnipeg)
  • MMGA and Gardens MB partnership to list all Manitoba public gardens (Manitoba)
  • Manitoba Herb Society, Board of Directors and projects/events
  • Steinbach Area Garden Club – Board of Directors & projects and events
  • Whyte Ridge Community Centre Butterfly Garden (Winnipeg)
  • Winkler Horticultural Society’s garden club for New Canadians (Winkler)
  • Manitoba horticultural organizations, as executive officers and for projects/events


Board of Directors:

Co-Chairs— Co-chairs – vacant
Treasurer—Teresa Lopata (Winnipeg)
Secretary— Lynne McCarthy (interim) (Winnipeg)
Education Standards Director— Liz Sellors (interim) (Winnipeg)
Communications (Website) Director—Marilyn N. Dudek (Winnipeg)
Membership Director—Lori Graham (Winnipeg)
Newsletter Editor – Elisabeth Renner (Winnipeg)
Special Events and Fundraising Director – Shelley Walker (Winnipeg)
Volunteer Coordinator – Laverne Dahlin (Winnipeg)
Members-at-Large – Diane Daignault, Volunteer Impact Administrator (interim) (Winnipeg) Sandy Venton (Winnipeg)


For Volunteers and Speakers contact:

Laverne Dahlin – volunteers@mgmanitoba.com