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The Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes Certificate programs consist of courses that teach best management practices necessary for gardening with minimal ecological impact, design priciples and techniques for creating environmentally responsible landscapes, and essential knowledge on how to best use native plants for habitat and ecosystem preservation.

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 

  • Hydrangeas | Leslie Kaplan | Mon., Oct. 5 | 7 - 9 p.m.

Classes currently in progress:

  • Diagnosing Plant Problems | Dr. Ryan Gott | Mondays: July 20 and 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17 and 24 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
  • Backyard Entomology | Dr. Ryan Gott | Tuesdays: July 21, 28, and Aug. 4 | 7 – 9 p.m.
Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Goodbye Grass with George Weigel

Thurs., Aug. 27 | 7 – 9 p.m.

Individuals: $20 members | $25 nonmembers
Couples: $30 members | $35 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Tired of reseeding, fertilizing, weed-killing, watering and constantly mowing your big “low-maintenance” lawn? Explore ways to downsize your lawn, such as groundcovers, low-care mixed gardens and other alternatives to grass. George will name some of the best plants for replacing lawns, both ones that can tolerate some foot traffic as well as ornamentals, including many native and deer-resistant varieties. Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes elective

George Weigel has written five gardening books, including Pennsylvania Getting Started Garden Guide and Pennsylvania Month-by-Month Gardening. George writes a garden column for The Harrisburg Patriot-News and other online gardening posts for pennlive.com and his own website. He is a retired Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist, has written for several magazines, including Horticulture, Central PA Magazine and Pennsylvania Gardener, and for 18 years created commissioned drawings and consults for home gardeners.

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Planting for Fall Color | Leslie Kaplan

Tues., Sept. 8 | 7 - 9 p.m.

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

Objective: To be able to use plants that will bring fall color to the home landscape
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

Don’t let the cool fall weather and shorter days turn your garden into a pumpkin — extend the beauty of your garden by including plants that shine in the autumn. Plant-addict Leslie Kaplan will share her favorites. Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape and Garden Design Certificate elective

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Organic Japanese Knotweed Management for Homeowners: Low-tech, Organic Strategies for Managing Japanese Knotweed on a Small Scale | Mike Nadeau

Thursday, September 10 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$25 members | $30 non-members

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Tired of wrestling with this beast of a plant? Learn some skills from an organic landcare professional to help you manage the Japanese knotweed that is threatening to take over your yard. This class will cover various organic options for knotweed control, including solarization, heavy mowing and others. In addition, learn how to prevent the spread of this aggressive plant. This class is for the homeowner looking for low-tech, organic solutions for invasive plant management.

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Native Woody Plants and Their Uses in the Landscape | Joshua Beblo

Mondays: Sept. 14, 21 and 28 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$66 members | $76 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to identify the characteristics, needs and landscape uses of a variety of native woody plants
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: Ecology and Conservation Concepts for Landscape Design suggested but not required

Identify woody plants that reflect local native plant communities and survey the taxonomic features of these plants, including growth habit, size, flowering sequence and cultural requirements. Using these attributes, learn the importance of site placement and create ecologically informed landscape designs. Native Plant Landscapes core course; Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape and Garden Design elective

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Organic Japanese Knotweed Management for Professionals: Organic Herbicide Application for Large Scale Japanese Knotweed Management | Mike Nadeau

Tuesday, September 15 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$45 members | $50 non-members

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

This session will cover an organic method of Japanese knotweed management that focuses on timed mowing and an application of organic herbicide. Learn about the nuances in timing, the necessary equipment and more. This class is most appropriate for landcare professionals, land managers, and homeowners who want to step up their means of control.

PA Pesticide Applicator Credits: Meeting #002BGV

PC - Private Category 4 credits
05 - Forest Pest Control 4 credits
06 - Ornamental and Shade Trees 4 credits
10 - Right of Way & Weeds 4 credits
18 - Demonstration and Research 4 credits
23 - Park / School Pest Control  4 credits

To apply for PA pesticide applicator credit, please fill in your date of birth and PA certification number when registering. Attendance will also be confirmed during class.

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Hydrangeas | Leslie Kaplan

Mon., Oct. 5 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$22 members | $27 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to effectively select, plant, prune and care for hydrangeas
Prerequisite: None
Level: Beginner to intermediate

Discover how easy it is to have hydrangea blooms all summer long! Learn when to prune and how to get that amazing pink, blue or purple color. We will cover the following topics: culture, pruning, use in your landscape, new varieties and unusual cultivars. Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design Certificate elective.

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Ground Covers and Vines | Lynn Purse

Tuesdays: Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27 | 7 – 9 p.m. 

$88 members | $98 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To become proficient in the identification, cultural requirements and landscape uses of a wide variety of ground covers and vines that thrive in western PA 
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None
Text: Covering Ground by Barbara Ellis (Some options for purchasing: Amazon, Barnes & Noble; see more options at the publisher's website)

Ground covers and vines are very valuable and functional with varieties that can cover both vertical and horizontal surfaces and grow in sunny, shady, wet or dry conditions. Learn about the many possibilities that this exciting plant group presents and get to know some unique types that can enliven any landscape. Landscape and Garden Design Certificate core course; Sustainable Horticulture Certificate elective

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Diagnosing Plant Problems | Dr. Ryan Gott

Mondays: July 20 and 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17 and 24 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

$132 members | $152 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To begin to be able to accurately diagnose insect, disease and environmental problems of plants and determine the best response with the least negative impact on the environment
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

What is killing my tomato plants? Are the bumps on my maple tree caused by a bug? Insects, diseases and environmental problems are a gardener’s puzzle. This course is a basic introduction to all of these problems, as well as how to control pests through integrated pest management (IPM) and protect plants through plant health care (PHC). Sustainable Horticulture Certificate core course

Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes

Backyard Entomology | Dr. Ryan Gott

Tuesdays: July 21, 28 and Aug. 4 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$66 members | $76 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To recognize and be able to differentiate between several important groups of insects and how they can help in your backyard
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

The most familiar insects to you are probably those right around your own home. Get to know them better and learn to appreciate insects of all kinds in this introduction to pests, beneficial insects and entomology (the study of arthropods). Learn about the amazing creatures that live right in your own backyard! Sustainable Horticulture Certificate and Native Plant Landscapes Certificate elective