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Upgrading your gardening skills in the off-season

Snow Day

Winter may be “down time” for gardeners, but it’s also a great time to sit back with a gardening book or magazine and learn something. Gardeners brave enough to leave the warmth of home to learn more about gardening can also take advantage of local gardening classes and workshops. Here are some of the opportunities that I know about; more classes and workshops will be announced, and I’ll be happy to post about them as I hear about them.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum offer a variety of gardening classes and workshops for children and adults. Upcoming classes for adults address topics like botanical illustration, integrated pest management, and “dragonflies and the aquatic environment.” The children’s workshops sound like a fun way to learn on a Saturday or Winter Break day.

The Washtenaw County Michigan Master Gardener Program is offered annually through the MSU extension office. Classes run from January until April, and obviously this year’s course is already in session. (I’m so fortunate and pleased to be a member of this year’s class!) To learn more about the Master Gardener Program or to get on the mailing list for notification of next year’s class, call the Extension office at Phone: 734-222-3948 or email fischerc (a)

It’s too late this year to take all of the courses in WCC’s Organic Gardening Certificate Program, but there are still spaces in their workshops in Easy Organic Fruit Growing, Landscaping with Native Plants, Organic Lawn Care, Organic Pest & Disease Management
Organic Vegetable Gardening, and Organic Weed Management. Individual workshops are held on one day or over two weeks. See the website for more information.

Ann Arbor Project Grow’s 2011 workshops haven’t been announced yet, but I’ll be checking back often to see what they will offer. I’m sorry I didn’t attend the workshop on Growing Potatoes last year; if it’s offered again, you can be sure I won’t miss it!

Downtown Home and Garden offers occasional Saturday lectures and special events. Backyard Beekeeping with Pat & Bob returns on Sat, February 5, 10am – 12pm. Jim and I attended this fascinating talk last year, and we learned an enormous amount from the enthusiastic beekeepers. This talk is free and open to the public.

What garden events are you looking forward to for inspiration and advice?

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