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Pittsburgh, Pa.—“What is wrong with my tomatoes?”; “Why are my pine trees losing their needles?”; “When and how do I plant flower bulbs?”: These are just a few of the questions answered daily by Master Gardeners, a group of horticulture volunteers who share their knowledge and experience as volunteers for Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  Seeking new program participants, Pittsburgh’s premier public garden is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2015 training course.

   Founded in 1972 by a Cooperative Extension Service agent in Washington state, the nationwide Master Gardener Program was developed to train volunteer gardeners to assist professional horticulturists in meeting the increasing public demand for gardening help. The program held at Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park — one of the oldest and most respected in the state — is not only tailored to Pittsburgh’s changing horticultural needs, but also helps the Conservatory carry out its educational mission.
“Whether they are answering horticultural questions for members of the public, teaching classes or working in our greenhouses, Master Gardeners are integral to the work that we do here at Phipps,” says Director of Horticulture Margie Radebaugh. “By helping members of our community learn new skills, find solutions to problems, and achieve success in their landscapes and gardens, they are not only connecting others with nature, but also making our city a greener and more beautiful place to live.”
   Phipps Master Gardener classes, covering topics from plant problem diagnosis and pruning to botany and entomology, start in March 2015 and run for two semesters over 6 months on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 9 p.m. Once accepted, program participants, in addition to attending class weekly, must pass a series of competency exams, and volunteer at least 36 hours over the course of the year in order to be certified the following year. Those interested in applying should contact Sarah Bertovich at 412/441-4442, ext. 3925 or The application deadline is Dec. 15, 2014.
About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more: