The Master Gardener program began in 1973 in Washington state. The program spread from state to state finally reaching Charleston, South Carolina in 1981. The first Master Gardener class in Aiken was held in 1988 and was conducted by Tom Earle. He was replaced by Suzanne Holmes as Senior Extension Agent, who has conducted the classes every year since 1998. The current Aiken County agent is Vicky Bertagnolli. There are over 150 active Master Gardeners in Aiken County and approximately 4000 spread across 36 participating counties.