Friday, March 28, 2008

Learn All About It

My last post regarding my new garden coaching services brought an interesting comment from fellow garden blogger, Aiyana, at Water When Dry; she mentions a certificate program in her area for garden coaches. That got me thinking about the large number of educational programs available here in the Denver area for all kinds of gardening (although not garden coaching, yet!). Many of them are geared towards those who don’t hold a professional degree in horticulture or landscape architecture but are actively working in the green industry. Other programs are aimed at serious hobbyists who have a passion for gardening, or are for those who really just want to get a clue about how to take care of their home landscapes.

For those in the latter categories it can create a wonderful sense of achievement and confidence to complete the Master Gardener program (available through the local Cooperative Extension offices of most land grant universities in the US) or Denver Botanic Gardens’ Rocky Mountain Gardening Certificate Program. Many garden centers and nurseries also offer great one-time, one-topic classes for a quick hit of information.

Programs for professionals are also abundant. Front Range Community College offers an associate degree in Urban Horticulture. The Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado has the Certified Landscape Contractor (CLT) program that has some real teeth. It combines rigorous testing in both classroom and field in areas of construction, irrigation and maintenance. (In fact, the program is so good that they sell their training manuals to other landscape groups across the country.) The Garden Centers of Colorado and the Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association also have a certificate program geared for plant growers and retail sales professionals.

What is your favorite way to learn about gardening? Classes? Magazines? The web?

What are some of the educational resources in your community? I'd love to share them here.


No Rain said...

Hi Jocelyn,

We have the Desert Landscaper Certification Program, a 9-month, $1500 dollar course sponsored by the Desert Botanical Garden. Just as your Certified Landscape Contractor program--it combines rigorous testing in classroom and field. I went through this course for my personal knowledge--out of the 28 people in my class, only two of us were there just for our own edification. About half the folks there were sent by their employers--nurseries, landscape companies, etc. and the remainder were landscape designers who owned their own businesses. The classes, held in English and Spanish, are always full and there is always wait list to get in.

Phoenix is the country's 5th largest city, yet only one community college offers regular classes in horticulture, but no AA degree.

Since so many things associated with landscaping require licensing, the separate licensing agencies offer classes on how to pass the various tests--for a fee, of course.

The Master Gardener Program is another popular program in our area. When I went through the program, there were 95 people in the class! They hold these 5-month classes twice a year in a couple of areas around town.

And, there's a myriad of gardening classes, both through the U.of A. Ag Extension Service, Desert Botanical Garden, as well as through all the other sources you mentioned in your post.

Although Denver is smaller in size than Phoenix, it looks like it offers just as many learning opportunities (or maybe even more) than are available here.

My favorite way to learn is through the courses and classes offered by the Desert Botanical Garden. The setting--right in the garden--the instructors (almost always DBG degreed employees)--and the subject matter is top notch.
In addition to that, I've learned a tremendous amount about gardening related topics by visiting a lot of garden blogs written by passionate gardeners around the world!


jocelyn said...

Thanks for leaving such great information about all of the learning opportunities available to gardeners and landscape professionals in the Phoenix area. We are indeed lucky to live in such plant friendly regions!