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Master Gardener: What we do, and how to join us in serving Tulsa

Master Gardener: What we do, and how to join us in serving Tulsa

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Well, it’s that time of year again: Time for our yearly Master Gardener training. But you may ask “What is a Master Gardener?”

In 1862, federal legislation was signed called the Morrill Act. The Morrill Act laid the groundwork for land grant universities throughout the country. Oklahoma State University is part of that legacy. Land grant universities are tasked with not only education and research, but also extension. The extension part of it comes to life through the OSU Extension of which the Master Gardeners are part. The prime directive for the OSU Extension is to share research-based information with people throughout the state. You can find OSU Extension offices in all 77 counties in Oklahoma. The office here in Tulsa can be found on 15th Street between Yale and Harvard.

Master Gardeners are one part of the services offered through the Extension as are 4H and Family and Consumer Science Education, among others. Tulsa County has about 300 active Master Gardener volunteers, and you have an opportunity join us.

What do we do? Glad you asked. In a typical year, Tulsa Master Gardeners donate over 30,000 volunteer hours to our community. These service hours include maintaining and staffing our Diagnostic Center, where you can get answers to your garden questions in person, phone or email.

If you visit our office, you will find our building is surrounded by our Demo Garden, where Master Gardeners work diligently to provide you with living examples of what you can do in your home garden. There are over 200 varieties in our Demo Garden, which is open daily during daylight hours.

Master Gardeners also landscape the homes for Habitat for Humanity so that these new homeowners not only have a beautiful new place to live, but also a beautiful landscape to make it even feel more like home.

Some Master Gardeners visit area schools to teach about worms, insects, pollinators, trees, shrubs and more. We weren’t able to visit the schools last year due to COVID-19, but in previous years we averaged almost 18,000 students reached through our educational efforts annually.

You may have also seen our beautiful flowerpots on Brookside or taken part in our yearly Garden Tour, or perhaps you subscribe to our monthly eNewsletter or follow our gardening advice via social media. Or perhaps you know a senior citizen we have engaged in local nursing homes with a little horticultural therapy. Either way, the Tulsa Master Gardeners are a busy group working to serve our fellow residents.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, the first step is to attend one of our orientations, where you’ll have an opportunity to sign up for an interview. Yes, an interview. We typically have about 100 people apply but we only have openings for 40. If you are selected, you will then attend classes one day a week through most of the fall. After that, you get to begin serving our community. If you are interested, join us at the OSU Extension, 4116 E. 15th St., at 10 a.m. Aug. 11 or 1 p.m. Aug. 18. We hope to see you there.

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You can get answers to all your gardening questions by calling the Tulsa Master Gardeners Help Line at 918-746-3701, dropping by our Diagnostic Center at 4116 E. 15th St., or by emailing us at


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