Online classes feed garden dreams in winter

During these cold, wet winters that discourage us from spending much time in the garden, we need inspiration.

Just because you don’t go out in the garden doesn’t mean you don’t want to. Through the window you can see the remnants of summer leaves, withered by age and frost. The vivid hues of zinnia and sunflowers are memories. What can you do with your gardening dreams?

Luckily, traveling and educating in a garden armchair is easy with online webinars and talks.

Winter can disappear for an hour or two while traveling online to a remote garden. Many classes and lectures are inexpensive, especially if you join a membership in the organization that offers them. Quite a few archived webinars are free. Some of the guest speakers are international stars in the horticultural world and usually require a trip to England to meet them.

Some are closer, like Douglas Tullamy at the University of Delaware. A tireless advocate of including native plants in gardens to support wildlife, he has a new talk, Homegrown National Parks, that should appeal to many. It’s nice to have direct access to your home speakers. Invite your friends to watch the program and have a ‘garden party’ without having to venture out into the flooded streets.

Here are some webinars I found on various subjects. Including many important topics, other creative topics, or interesting experiences in the world of large gardens. There is something for everyone.

Northwest Gardening Association

The Northwest Horticultural Society ( is based in Seattle. Memberships start at $35 and include benefits such as discounts on lectures and garden tours, and a newsletter.

The association offers three webinars per month. $10 for members, $15 for non-members. You don’t have to join to access them. Featured speakers range from highly knowledgeable garden experts to internationally acclaimed garden authors and designers. Some of the content may not be entirely for California gardeners and you may yearn for cool, mossy landscapes, but it’s all very high quality. Some webinars focus on specific plant groups such as ferns, clematis, hydrangeas and groundcovers. Others look at design, gardens for wildlife, and more.

Some webinars I’m really looking forward to are:

February 11: Resistance is fertile! Renowned British garden writer and historian Tim Richardson discusses the Chelsea Fringe Festival, a new pop-up alternative garden festival that coincides with London’s Chelsea Garden Show. Celebrate art, literature, music, ecology and integrated community and guerrilla gardening. Not just for serious gardeners, the festival is full of spontaneity, quirkiness, fun and community.

March 29: Restoration of wild beauty and May 27: Homemade national park. Professor Emeritus Darrel Morrison will be the first speaker, followed by Professor Douglas Tallamy on May 27th. Both have authored a number of very popular and fascinating books.

hardy plant association

Based in Portland, Oregon, the organization offers many activities, including open garden weekends, garden trips, webinar speaker programs, newsletters, and more. Memberships start at $40. The 2023 webinar schedule is not yet posted, but it’s worth keeping an eye on (

pacific gardening

Pacific Horticulture was a quarterly magazine with articles written by horticulturists and horticultural professionals on topics related to the Pacific, from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia to Alaska.

The nonprofit now focuses primarily on online education with the goal of “increasing the number of beautiful and resilient gardens and landscapes that benefit nature and people in the Pacific region.” It offers a variety of podcasts and articles and has an extensive archive. Contributors are interdisciplinary and the range of topics appeals to a wide audience. Some features are free, but membership helps support your organization and offers other benefits. There are also face-to-face events.

An interesting series of podcasts and articles they provide, called “The Garden Futurist” series, focuses on climate change and the resilience of gardens, from plant selection for warmer, drier climates to water conservation practices. , bring wildlife into the garden. etc. I read a study on “Benefits of Mulch in Regulating Soil Temperature” that was conducted to determine the best mulch for trees to provide a cool and healthy root environment. I’ve found that forest leaf debris mulch limits the soil temperature change from night to day to just 5 degrees in a single summer day. for cement.

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