NOTE: Tickets to our Winter Flower Show: Home for the Holidays are now available. All Phipps 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

Detailed Listings

Introduction to Smartphone Photography | Don Orkoskey

Thurs., Jan. 14 | 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.

Digital Photography | Don Orkoskey

Thursdays: Jan. 21 and 28, Feb. 4 and 11 | 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.

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). 

Invasive Ornamentals and Sustainable Alternatives | Philip Bauerle

Wed., Feb. 10 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 

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

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.

Introduction to Smartphone Photography | Don Orkoskey

Sat., Feb. 27 | 10 a.m. – noon

$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.

Gardening for Birds | Gabi Hughes

Wed., March 3 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 

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

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.

Tree and Shrub Pruning: Tools and Techniques | Mitch Hall, Phipps Sustainable Landcare Accredited Professional

Thurs., March 4 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$20 members | $25 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Pruning is one of the most fun and impactful garden chores we do each year, but it can be intimidating to make the first cut. This course will help you understand where and why to make pruning cuts that improve the health and aesthetics of your trees and shrubs, the appropriate timing and styles of pruning for different plants, and the tools you need to help you do the job. Prune confidently!

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.

Indoor Seed Starting | Gabe Tilove

Tues., March 23 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

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

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.

Certified Backyard Habitats | Gabi Hughes

Wed., March 24 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 

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

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.

Spring Vegetable Gardening | Allison Glick

Tues., March 30 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

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

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.

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.

Build and Maintain a Raised Bed Garden | Gabe Tilove

Tues., April 6 | 7 - 8:30 p.m.

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

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 Lawn Care | Jess Runco

Thurs., April 8 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

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

Get a head start on caring for your organically managed lawn. Learn tips and tricks from a local landcare professional on how to keep your lawn lush and free of synthetic chemicals. This class will cover seeding, fertility, aeration and more, as well as how to replace synthetic fertilizers with organic options.

Organic Vegetable Garden Basics | Gabe Tilove and Allison Glick

Tues., April 13 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

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

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.

Planting for Pollinators | Juliette Olshock

Wed., April 14 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).