NOTE: Phipps is open for your visit. All tickets must be purchased in advance, and safety protocols must be followed. Learn more about how you can join us!

Covering topics from photography and terrariums to bonsai and seed-starting, our Gardening and Botanical Classes schedule will excite and inspire you!

For more details about our programs, or to receive personalized class recommendations from our helpful staff, please feel free to contact us at edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Current Classes

Click titles for full details

Classes currently in progress:

  • Smartphone Videography: Shooting and Editing High Quality Garden Videos | Lynn Purse | Mondays: April 5, 12, 19 and 26, May 3 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Detailed Listings

Gardening and Botanical Crafts

Perennial Fruits for the Home Garden | Juliette Olshock

Tues., April 20 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Individual class: $20 members | $25 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Fruits are one of the most satisfying crops you can grow at home. Learn the differences between types of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, and how to purchase, plant and maintain them. An overview of other less common fruits will also be included.

Gardening and Botanical Crafts

Lunch and Learn: Ornamental Container Gardening | Jess Horenstein

Thurs, April 22 | Noon – 12:30 p.m.

Free
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom (link will be sent upon registration)

Let’s talk about containers! Ornamental container gardening is a great way to add interest around your property, to create a focal point and to highlight beautiful plants and containers. We will discuss what to consider when using containers to garden, from how to choose the right container, how to build a plant palette and how to care for your container throughout the season.

Gardening and Botanical Crafts

Planning Your Herb Garden | Andrea Jackson

Mon., April 26 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$20 members | $25 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Demystify the process of starting an herb garden, learn about site selection and preparation, and discover how to select herbs that will suit your needs. Along the way, pick up life enhancing tips about how to use the herbs you have planted.

Gardening and Botanical Crafts

Virtual Guided Forest Therapy Walk | Martha O’Grady and Charlie Yuill

Wed., May 5 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

$35 members | $40 nonmembers

Presented as a live virtual event through Zoom

Forest Awakenings offers remote guided forest therapy walks, which help people cultivate deeper relationships with the natural world. Following a research-based process developed by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, Martha O’Grady and Charlie Yuill provide a 3-hour session via Zoom which allows participants to engage from the safety of their homes, yards or natural setting of their choice. Participants need a well-charged cell phone, tablet, laptop or other mobile device. Headphones are recommended in public spaces. 

About the Instructors

Martha O’Grady became certified by ANFT as a forest guide to share her sense of kinship with the natural world. When we develop personal relationships with the more-than-human world, she believes, we naturally seek to preserve and protect the living fabric of our world. Martha has a long-standing meditation practice and has helped lead retreats and Days of Mindfulness throughout the region. When not out exploring state or national parks, Martha works as an entrepreneur writing and producing videos and events.  

Charlie Yuill’s pathway to becoming a certified forest guide began with his youth as part of a family that was often in the wilds on travels. His educational background includes geology, landscape architecture, and environmental planning and design. As a faculty member of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design at West Virginia University, Charlie’s work has focused on education and tending to aspects of the natural world. His current professional activities focus primarily on the landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains. 

Permaculture for the Home Garden | Elizabeth Lynch

Wed., May 5 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Individual class: $20 members | $25 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Permaculture stands for “permanent culture” and is a means of mimicking natural systems in order to grow food on your land while enhancing the local ecology. This course outlines some of the main principles and techniques for designing an urban or suburban homestead. You will learn about edible landscaping, perennial companion planting and home-scale sustainable and integrated systems (including an introduction to zones and sectors).

Preventative Weed Control for the Vegetable Garden | Dan Dalton

Mon., May 17 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.

$15 members | $20 nonmembers

Presented as a live Webinar through Zoom

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is this truer than when growing organic vegetables! While there are lots of great tools for removing weeds, wouldn't you rather avoid them altogether? Join us to learn about a variety of strategies to reduce or eliminate your weed pressure this season and, in the future, use a variety of weed prevention tools and techniques.

Introduction to Smartphone Photography | Don Orkoskey

Wed., May 26 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$25 members | $30 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Learn how to make better photos with your phone. Discover how to get the most out of your smartphone’s camera and learn what to do with your photos once you’ve taken them. Learn about exposure, composition, your phone's limitations and advantages, and more. All are welcome.

Make Your Own Succulent Wreath | Monica Colantoni

Thurs., May 27 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$75 members | $85 nonmembers (includes supplies)

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Registration will close two weeks before the class date. Please register early.

Succulents are striking, water-storing plants that make their mark in many unusual indoor and outdoor plantings. Learn about these beautiful, drought-resistant plants and use them to create your very own living wreath. Plus, discover other ways to use succulents in your home and garden.

Supply kits can be picked up from Phipps Conservatory the day of class and the day before class. Details will be emailed to participants.

Digital Photography | Don Orkoskey

Wednesdays: June 2, 9, 16 and 30 | 6:30 – 9 p.m.

$110 members | $125 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Learn or improve your knowledge and love of photography and your use of your digital camera. Topics to be covered include exposure, camera settings, composition and troubleshooting. Learn how to capture motion, about depth of field and focus, how to use histograms and exposure compensation. As you practice, you will receive instructor feedback on weekly photographic assignments. People with all levels of experience and all types of digital cameras are welcome.

Trellising and Other Vertical Growing Strategies | Dan Dalton

Mon., June 21 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.

$15 members | $20 nonmembers

Presented as a live Webinar through Zoom

When growing space is limited, the only direction to grow is up! Whether you grow in-ground, in raised beds, in planters or in pots, there's a trellis or vertical growing strategy that will fit your needs. We'll discuss inexpensive structures and strategies for getting the most out of your growing spaces this year!

Backyard Composting Workshop | Nancy Martin, PA Resources Council

Tues., July 13 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$20 members | $25 nonmembers (optional: $70 for a home composting bin)*

Offered as a live webinar through Zoom

Are you unsure what to do with your kitchen, garden and yard scraps? Would you like natural, home-made compost for your lawns and gardens in the spring? Join us for this information-packed webinar where you’ll learn best practices for backyard composting and get all of your composting questions answered.  

* Students have the option to purchase a home composting bin through the Pennsylvania Resources Council at time of registration. Contactless pick-up will be available from Phipps Garden Center on Fri., July 16 from 4 – 6 p.m. or by appointment at the PRC Office. 

Make Your Own Live Plant Terrarium | Monica Colantoni

Thurs., Aug. 5 | 7 – 9 p.m. 

$45 members | $50 nonmembers (materials included)

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Learn how to create a living garden under glass while discussing plant selection, visual design, proper care and different styles of terrariums, such as open versus closed and wet versus dry. Students should source their own container — anything from a glass bowl to an apothecary jar is appropriate. All other materials (including soil, moss, rocks and plants) will be provided in a material kit for pick-up.

Gardening and Botanical Crafts
Photo by Sarah Needham

D.I.Y. Dried Moss Wall Art | Sarah Needham

Tues., Aug. 10 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.

$60 members | $65 nonmembers (includes materials)

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Moss art brings the beauty and texture of nature into your home. You will get a complete material kit, including a shadowbox frame to create your own beautiful slice of nature to hang on your wall. Beyond dried moss, you will also receive stones, twigs and other natural materials. Feel free to collect your own materials to add to the arrangement. 

Season Extension: Wickets, Hoops and Tunnels | Dan Dalton

Mon., Aug. 23 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$20 members | $25 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Just because the temperature is going to drop doesn't mean you have to close up the garden! There are many cost-effective ways to extend the season using D.I.Y. season extension tools like wickets, hoops and tunnels. We'll discuss how to select the right crops for late-season production, which season-extension strategies are right for you and how to make your own season extension tools with off-the-shelf materials and basic tools. 

Sustainable Landcare Series | Various Instructors

Wednesdays: Feb. 10, March 3 and 24, April 14, May 5

Full series: $95 members | $110 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Invasive Ornamentals and Sustainable Alternatives | Philip Bauerle
Wed., Feb. 10 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
Unbeknownst to many new gardeners, you can purchase plants that may end up spreading into our local woods and forests, taking the place of our native plants. Learn common ornamental plants that are considered invasive in western PA and what plants to use in their place. 

Gardening for Birds | Gabi Hughes
Wed., March 3 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
Learn about the benefits of using native plants and how they support our local birds. Hear plant suggestions that will work well for urban and suburban yards. In addition to plants, what other elements will attract birds to your yard? Learn about the needs of birds and how you can support local populations in your own yard.     

Certified Backyard Habitats | Gabi Hughes 
Wed., March 24 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
Your yard is a wonderful place to observe and enjoy local wildlife. Learn how to create a backyard habitat to support these creature, and what features and plants will support birds, butterflies and more. Gain the skills and knowledge necessary for turning your yard into a certified backyard habitat. 

Planting for Pollinators | Juliette Olshock 
Wed., April 14 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Have you always wanted a pollinator garden, but weren’t sure where to start? Whether looking to plant a new meadow or just to plug pollinator plants into an existing garden, you will learn the plants and structures that support these useful animals. Learn the importance of native host plants and why they are necessary for supporting butterflies. You will get a list of plants to attract pollinators and learn about the online tool from Phipps to help you find sustainable plants for your garden. 

Permaculture for the Home Garden | Elizabeth Lynch
Wed., May 5 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Permaculture stands for “permanent culture” and is a means of mimicking natural systems in order to grow food on your land while enhancing the local ecology. This course outlines some of the main principles and techniques for designing an urban or suburban homestead. You will learn about edible landscaping, perennial companion planting and home-scale sustainable and integrated systems (including an introduction to zones and sectors). 

Beginner Vegetable Gardener Series | Phipps Conservatory Staff

Tuesdays: March 23 and 30, April 6, 13 and 20 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Full series: $95 members | $110 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Indoor Seed Starting | Gabe Tilove
Tues., March 23 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Starting your transplants indoors gives you a head-start when warm weather hits and allows you greater control over the variety and quality of your plants. Learn the steps and equipment you need to successfully start and care for vegetable annual seedlings. Plus, discuss heirloom and hybrid seed qualities and how to troubleshoot seedling problems that commonly occur.

Spring Vegetable Gardening | Allison Glick
Tues., March 30 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Don’t wait until Mother’s Day to plant your garden — make use of the spring season and plant cold-weather crops that can give you an early start or extra harvest in your garden this season. Explore the best crops for early planting and discuss cold weather crop protection strategies.

Build and Maintain a Raised Bed Garden | Gabe Tilove
Tues., April 6 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Raised beds offer a number of advantages over typical in-ground garden beds, including improved drainage, greater control over soil and fertility, and easier weed and critter control. Explore the range of materials you can use to build raised beds and best practices for filling and maintain them. This presentation will also briefly cover trellising, season extension and fencing options.

Organic Vegetable Garden Basics | Gabe Tilove and Allison Glick
Tues., April 13 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Learn the essentials of planning and caring for a vegetable garden using organic methods, including how to arrange your crops within your space using the square-foot-gardening method, when and how to plant seeds and seedlings, how to water, and how to minimize weeds, pests and disease. A step-by-step worksheet for creating your own plan will be included.

Perennial Fruits for the Home Garden | Juliette Olshock
Tues., April 20 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Fruits are one of the most satisfying crops you can grow at home. Learn the differences between types of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, and how to purchase, plant and maintain them. An overview of other less common fruits will also be included.

Smartphone Videography: Shooting and Editing High Quality Garden Videos | Lynn Purse

Mondays: April 5, 12, 19 and 26, May 3 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$95 members | $110 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Today’s smartphones rival professional cameras when shooting video. Learn how to make great movies of your garden with your phone’s camera, edit your footage to create a strong storyline and create a polished final garden video to share with friends or feature on your own YouTube channel. Learn to take advantage of your smartphone’s advanced camera settings and use stabilization, framing, exposure, camera motion techniques and clear audio recording to create a professional look. Edit your footage for clarity, beauty and a strong story using inexpensive computer software as well as explore various free and low-cost apps for in-phone advanced shooting and editing. YouTube’s Creator tools will be addressed for sharing your videos online. Whether you want to record your garden over time or teach a gardening tip or technique to others, this class will help you to create a professional looking video.