Pictures of a butterfly, watering can, flowers and gardening gloves.

2020 Smart Gardening Apprentice Program

Join us for the 2020 MSU Extension Smart Garden Apprentice Program!

Designed with “hands-on” in mind, classroom sessions, coupled with real life application in the MSU Extension Grand Ideas Garden (GIG) is key to the Smart Gardening Apprentice program. Class members benefit by the natural sequence of plant growth in the GIG throughout the entire summer. Learning and instruction based on current environmental conditions and emerging pest issues gives the participants a better feel of seasonal garden practices. One off-site field trip is scheduled during regular class time. Carpooling is encouraged. This is a gardener’s “dream” class--there will be a little homework and guess what?—NO tests!! Come ready to rub elbows with other students while we work and learn in the garden.

Smart Garden Apprentice (SGA) Topics will include (but not limited to):

  • Pruning
  • Composting
  • Mulching                          
  • Building healthy soils
  • Emerging pest issues 
  • Growing and care of annuals
  • Perennials
  • Trees and Shrubs
  • Native plants
  • Invasive plants
  • Garden maintenance
Plan to get dirty and have FUN!!

Dates to reserve: (Wednesdays) April 8, April 22, May 8, May 6, May 20, June 3, June 17, July 8, July 22, August 5 (offsite class), August 19. 

Time: Classes will be held from 4 - 8 p.m. and led by MSU Extension Staff, Angela VanOrder and Daniel Davis along with MSU Extension Horticulture Educator Rebecca Finneran.

Cost: $210 per participant - no additional costs. (The registration fee includes on-site instruction, class supplies, plants, MSU Perennial Flip Guide, and hand out materials.) Plan to bring: sun screen, water bottle, garden-appropriate clothing, close-toed shoes, gloves and dress appropriately for the weather. Class participants can volunteer to sign up to bring a food item for several sessions.

Class size: Do not delay! Class space is limited to the first 24 people who have registered online and are paid in full.

Class location: All classes will be held at the Kent-MSU Extension Office at 775 Ball NE, Grand Rapids, MI—unless otherwise noted.

Prerequisites: Participants must have successfully completed the classroom and testing portion of the MSU Extension Master Gardener basic training or be a re-certified Extension Master Gardener (EMG). This program qualifies for EMG education AND volunteer hours.  

Completion of the SGA Program: Participants who complete 80% of the SGA classes will receive a certificate of completion.  

Registration - The deadline to register is Jan.31, 2019, or when the class is full. Payment must be received within 10 days of registration or your registration will be cancelled. No registrations will be accepted at the door.  

Payment by Credit Card is recommended, via this secure MSU payment site to expedite your seat reservation. To ensure your transaction is processed, please enter your personal information exactly as shown on the credit card and do not include dashes in the credit card number. You will receive a confirmation email upon completion of your transaction.

Payment by Check: If you prefer to pay the registration fee by check, please allow 10 days for check processing. Your seat is not reserved until your balance is paid in full. 

Mail your payment to:
MSU ANR Event Services/2020 Smart Gardening Apprentice
Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
446 W. Circle Drive, Room 11
East Lansing, MI 48824

Cancellation policy: MSU Extension reserves the right to cancel any class if the minimum participant levels are not met. Registrants will receive a full refund as follows and may re-register for a future class: 

  • Credit card payments - a credit will be issued to your credit card for the amount paid.
  • Payment by check - MSU will prepare and mail you a check for the amount paid. This process takes about two to three weeks after the refund has been requested. 

Refund Policy:

  • A full refund, less a $25 processing fee, will be issued for any registration cancelled prior to 7 days before the class start date.
  • No refund will be issued for any registration cancelled within 7 days of the class start date.
  • No refund will be issued for any registration cancelled after the class has started. 
  • Substitutions allowed.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Angela Van Order at or 616-632-7892.