The Master Gardener Program was created by Cooperative Extension to meet an enormous increase in requests from home gardeners for horticultural information. The increase derives primarily from the urban and transient nature of modern American life. Sixty years ago, an Extension agent dealt with the questions of farm families. Since then, much of this farmland has been subdivided which has increased the number of families Extension must serve. In addition, many of these families are new to the area and are unfamiliar with the grasses, shrubs, trees, diseases, and insects that populate their new community. They often call Extension for advice.

In 1972 a county agricultural agent started the Master Gardener Program in Washington State. Since then it has spread to 50 states and several countries. Nineteen of New Jersey’s 21 counties now train Master Gardeners. The Mercer County program started in September 1993.