NOTE: All member and nonmember tickets must be reserved in advance, and masks are now optional but recommended. 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.

Confirmations will be emailed the day before each class, including a Zoom link. Please check your spam/junk mail folder, and if you have not received the link, email edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Virtual classes are recorded and made available to all registered participants for one month after the program.

All times are Eastern Time Zone.

Current Classes

Click titles for full details

  • Organic Lawn Care | Jess Runco | Monday, October 3 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

  • Sustainable Gardening for Western PA | Gabe Tilove, Juliette Olshock | Thursdays: Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov.3 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

  • Backyard Composting Workshop | PA Resources Council | Thurs., Oct. 6 | 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

  • Grass to Garden | Jess Runco | Mon., October 10 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. | This class is now filled.

  • Secret History of Plants (Phipps Walking Tour) | Boaz Frankel | Wed., Oct. 19 | 6:30- 8 p.m. [please note new date] | This class is now filled.

  • Introduction to Painting Nature with Watercolor | Rosalie Haizlett | Thursday November 3 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

  • Nature Journaling in Place | Melissa Fabian | Tuesdays Nov. 15, 22 and 29 | 1 – 4 p.m. |  After class meeting: Tuesday Dec. 13 | 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Classes Currently in Progress

  • Herbal Medicine Making | Michelle Soto | Fall Series: Wednesdays, Sept. 7, 21, Oct 5, 19, Nov 2, 16 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Detailed Listings

Organic Lawn Care | Jess Runco

Monday, October 3 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$25 members | $30 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park 

Lush lawns that are safe for children, pets and the environment begin with the creation of healthy soil and fall is a great time to get started! Learn how to grow an organic lawn that is free of synthetic chemicals. Discover the best practices for mowing, watering, fertilization and aeration, and discuss insect and weed control with a focus on fall lawn care. 

Sustainable Gardening for Western PA | Gabe Tilove, Juliette Olshock

Thursdays: Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov.3 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$130 members | $145 non-members
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Fall is for gardeners! This series is designed for home gardeners in western Pennsylvania looking to upgrade their expertise and grow gardens that are beautiful and well adapted to the ecology of our region. Learn the essential skills needed to create a thriving, sustainable garden, connect to local resources, and get your gardening questions answered.

Native Plants for Beautiful, Biodiverse Yards | Gabe Tilove and Juliette Olshock

Thursday, Oct. 6

Native plants are essential to a thriving backyard ecosystem – join us to learn more about what makes a plant “native” to western Pa. and how they support birds and butterflies. Discover our favorite native perennials, shrubs and trees for a variety of landscape uses, learn about Phipps’ Sustainable Plant finder, and connect with local and mail order nurseries to source great native plants – it’s not too late to plant this fall!

Weed and Invasive Plant Management | Juliette Olshock 

Thursday, Oct. 13

Without proper management, weeds and invasive plants can take over a garden, choke out preferred plants, and damage your backyard ecosystem. This class will familiarize you with key strategies for managing weeds, clarify the difference between a weed and invasive plant, and introduce you to some of the most common species in our region. 

Pruning, Planting and Maintenance: The Fall Garden | Gabe Tilove

Thursday, Oct. 20

Fall is a wonderful time to get busy again in the garden after the heat of summer has subsided, Join us for a comprehensive review of fall garden activities. Sharpen up your pruning skills, review planting techniques for trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs, get tips to thicken up your lawn, learn about soil testing, and discuss fall clean-up best practices that support both plant and pollinator health.  

Creating and Managing Healthy Soil | Juliette Olshock

Thursday, Oct. 27

Healthy soil is essential for good plant growth. In this class, learn the fundamentals of soil characteristics including the physical, chemical and biological aspects of soil, as well as the strategies for improving soil health in order to grow healthy plants and minimize pest and disease pressure. 

Deer, Shade and Hillsides: Addressing Western PA Garden Challenges | Juliette Olshock

Thursday, Nov. 3 

Learn how to manage the many challenges of gardening in Western Pa. What plants are safe from deer? How do you manage shade? And what to do with a steep sloping garden? Learn unique strategies for dealing with these difficult sites in order to create a beautiful garden.

Backyard Composting Workshop | PA Resources Council

Thurs., Oct. 6 | 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

$70 per individual or $75 per couple (includes workshop and one compost bin)
Phipps Garden Center

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? Then you can expand your recycling efforts to include kitchen scraps and yard debris by signing up for a Backyard Composting Workshop to turn your yard waste and food scraps into a valuable resource for your garden. Attendees will receive an 82-gallon compost bin.

Grass to Garden | Jess Runco

Mon., October 10 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$25 members | $30 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park 

In this class you will learn how to transform your lawn into a thriving garden. Learn various ways to remove your lawn without disrupting the existing soil structure or losing valuable nutrients. Match the best method of grass removal with the type of garden you want. Do you have dreams of a mini-meadow? Just want more flower beds? Learn how to prepare your garden, then start selecting your plants. 

This class is now filled. Please email edu@phipps.conservatory.org to be placed on the waiting list.

Secret History of Plants (Phipps Walking Tour) | Boaz Frankel

Wed., Oct. 19 | 6:30- 8 p.m. [please note new date]

$15 members | $25 non-members
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, meet at the Welcome Center

This interactive, after-hours tour of the conservatory will encourage you to think about plants in an entirely new way. Plants aren’t just the building blocks of our gardens – they’re the source of our food, medicine, housing, clothing, culture and so much more! We’ll stroll through Phipps’ collection and discover how plant and human interactions have shaped our world in surprising ways.

This class is now filled. Please email edu@phipps.conservatory.org to be placed on the waiting list.

Introduction to Painting Nature with Watercolor | Rosalie Haizlett

Thursday November 3 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

$40 members | $50 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

This class will be recorded and made available to all registered participants for one month after the program.

Prerequisite: None

In this 90 minute class, Rosalie will share her story about how she's fused her passions for art and the natural world together as a nature illustrator. Then, she will guide students through a full painting demonstration from her book, Watercolor in Nature, to show how you can combine pen & ink and wet-on-dry watercolor techniques to quickly render what you see outdoors in your sketchbook. Students will receive a PDF handout that includes 5 prompts for getting started with nature sketching, a recommended supplies list, and a list of resources for further learning on this topic. Students are invited to actively follow along with the demonstration or simply sit back and enjoy the demonstration. Botanical Art and Illustration elective.

To follow along, students will need:

A set of watercolors
2-3 watercolor brushes of varying sizes including one very thin one (size 1-4 round)
Cold-pressed watercolor paper or mixed-media paper
Sketching pencil 
Eraser 
Cup of water
Paper towel 
A permanent ink pen (Sakura Micron pen or fine-tipped Sharpie). 

Nature Journaling in Place | Melissa Fabian

Tuesdays Nov. 15, 22 and 29 | 1 – 4 p.m.
After class meeting: Tuesday Dec. 13 | 7 - 8:30 p.m.

$130 members | $150 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To observe and sketch often forgotten places in your outdoor space
Level: Beginner to advanced
Prerequisite: None

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Clare Walker Leslie, an internationally recognized artist, naturalist, educator and author of numerous journaling books will be the resource for this class.  During class several techniques will be introduced to use in our green “place”.   The November class works perfectly to observe and learn about the process plants, insects and birds must follow to survive and continue propagating, ushering in the next Monarch butterfly or keeping the pair of cardinals coming back to your “place”. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Herbal Medicine Making: Fall Series | Michelle Soto

Fall Series: Wednesdays, Sept. 7, 21, Oct 5, 19, Nov 2, 16 | 6:30 – 8 p.m. 

$225 members | $250 nonmembers | The bundle option is now closed.

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To learn about various medicinal plants and how to create medicines with them

Level: Beginner 

Prerequisite: None

Medicine making is an ancient art that we can master today. This class is hands on from the comfort of your home. Learn how to work with a selection of plants and make medicinal syrups, teas and tinctures. Michelle Soto of Cutting Root Apothecary will share stories and information about each plant as well as how to use them medicinally. Students will have the opportunity to order a bundle with supplies needed for making medicines to be mailed directly to their homes. All of the herbs provided are grown and processed at Cutting Root Farm & Apothecary in Butler, PA. Choose from the summer or fall series or plan to take them both, as new herbs will be explored in the fall.