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Posted on Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 8:40 a.m.

Winter is the perfect time to take a class or workshop to learn more about gardening

By Jim and Janice Leach

In the life of a gardener, winter is the calm before the storm. If you are interested in learning new gardening skills, now is a great time to investigate the various offerings in our community.

Today, I’m sharing some links to gardening workshops and classes sponsored by nonprofits and businesses in the Ann Arbor area. Some are one-time workshops, while others mentioned are courses or certificates. Obviously some will have fees involved, and others are free. If you know of other educational opportunities that should be announced, send me an email or leave a post in the comments section.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum offer a wide variety of gardening classes and workshops for children and adults. Upcoming classes for adults offer opportunities from "Discover the pleasure of roses" to "So you want to be a bee keeper" and "How to look at your bonsai." Children can learn about Fairie Gardens and Troll Houses, Windowsill Wonders or composting on an upcoming Saturday or winter break workshop.

Once again, Project Grow is working with WCC to present the required courses in WCC’s Organic Gardening Certificate Program. The series has already begun, but there are still spaces in their courses in the individual 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 happen on one day or over two weeks. See the website for more information.

WCC also offers Lifelong Learning gardening classes, which can be found in their Home and Garden section. Workshops include Winter Sowing on Feb. 8; Permaculture: An Introduction on March 14; Gardens for Hummingbirds also on March 24; and Composting: The Ultimate in Recycling on April 19.

Ann Arbor Project Grow’s 2011 workshops haven’t been announced yet, but you can watch this link for announcements; most of the workshops are free.

Downtown Home and Garden is a great place to get gardening advice as well as supplies. I don’t know of any workshops scheduled at the moment, but I have attended workshops, including a fascinating talk on bee keeping. Do note that Downtown Home and Garden and Project Grow are hosting a seed swap on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10-11:30 a.m. Bring your extra seeds and your bargaining skills, and see what you can trade. This event is free and open to the public.

English Gardens regularly hosts workshops in both the free and the fee categories. Visit the store or their website for more details.

The Produce Station will offer adult and children’s gardening classes. Follow this link to find out when information is posted.

If you know of other events or workshops that will inspire and educate local gardening enthusiasts, leave information in the comments below.

Janice and Jim Leach tend a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor, where they try to grow as many vegetables and other plants as possible. For the last four years, they've published gardening tips, photos and stories at their 20 minute Garden website.


Jim and Janice Leach

Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Thanks for your comments, Monica! I was excited to see the gardening classes being offered at WCC. It's good to know that seniors 65+ can take advantage of free lifelong learning courses at WCC too. I am planning to come to the seed swap too! I'll see you there!

Jim and Janice Leach

Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

Thanks for the suggestions, Sarah! I'm glad you mentioned Growing Hope's offerings and the Master Gardener even at the Ypsilanti Public Library. Thanks for adding the links too! I had meant to list the Master Gardener Talks at Nicola's Books too. I will be writing "reminder posts" about the individual meetings so I remember too!

Monica Milla

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Are you coming to the PG seed swap? I'll be writing an article about it later this week.

Monica Milla

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

Thanks for mentioning Washteanw Community College lifelong gardening programs in general, and my winter swing class tomorrow night in particular. It's always a lot of fun. Also, people age 65+ can register for any WCC lifelong learning class for free!

Sarah Rigg

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Growing Hope also offers winter gardening classes: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And the Ypsi library offers chances to meet with a master gardener: <a href=""></a> And don't forget your own past article on gardening talks at Nicola's Books!