The Sustainable Horticulture Certificate program consists of a series of core courses that includes Basic and Advanced Horticulture, Soils, Diagnosing Plant Problems and Botany for Gardeners. These classes teach best management practices necessary for gardening with minimal ecological impact. Electives further enhance students’ understanding of sustainable practices that help protect soil health, water resources, air quality and land usage, and result in the creation of aesthetically pleasing gardens.

For more details about our programs, or to receive personalized class recommendations from our helpful staff, please feel free to contact us at

Advanced Integrated Pest Management | Dr. Ryan Gott

Wednesdays: Nov. 6 and 13 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$44 members | $54 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Objective: To be able to create a pest management plan
Level: Intermediate to advanced
Prerequisites: Sustainable Landcare Accreditation course or other integrated pest management training

This course is for landcare and pest management professionals and homeowners who have experience and an understanding of integrated pest management and want to go deeper. Learn how to monitor plants, identify pest concerns, determine if there is a problem and create a plan for control. Work with Phipps’ Associate Director of Integrated Pest Management Dr. Ryan Gott to identify species of concern and develop a pest management plan. Sustainable Horticulture Certificate elective

Ground Covers and Vines | Lynn Purse

Tuesdays: Oct. 1, 8, 15 and 22 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$108 members | $128 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park (Oct. 1, 8 and 15) and Botany Hall at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (Oct. 22)

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 (book included in price of class)

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

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

Saturdays: Oct. 5, 12 and 19 | 1 – 3 p.m.

$66 members | $76 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

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

Native Plant Design for Small Yards | Gwen Wisniewski

Wed., Oct. 16 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$22 members | $27 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Objective: To be able to select and design with native plants
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

Learn to design with and use native plants in small areas. Discover the importance of using native plants in the landscape and how to choose the proper plants for your yard based on various limiting factors, including soil, light, moisture, wind and possible pests. Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes Certificates elective

Saturday Plant Identification Walk: Plants of Fall Interest | Joshua Beblo

Sat. Oct. 26 | 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

$15 members | $20 nonmembers
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Outdoor Gardens

Objective: To be familiar with the landscape plants that exhibit good fall interest
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

The best way to learn about new plants is to see them firsthand in the landscape. Join landscape architecture instructor and eminent plantsman Joshua Beblo on a walk through Phipps’ Outdoor Garden to be introduced to habit, culture and characteristics of plants that exhibit noteworthy fall interest. The walk will be on flat or gently sloped surfaces on paved and hard gravel surfaces. Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape and Garden Design elective

Native Herbaceous Plants and Their Uses in the Landscape | John Totten

Mondays: Nov. 4, 11 and 18 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$66 members | $76 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Objective: To have a working knowledge of the native plants around us and how they can be used in the landscape
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

Using a plant-community-based approach, we’ll explore the diverse flora that surrounds us and learn how these plants can transform our landscapes and enrich our lives. Gain a better understanding of how the plants of our region got here, how they relate to the wild plants of other places, and how to grow and propagate them. Native Plant Landscapes Certificate core course, and Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape and Garden Design Certificate elective

Gardening in the Shade | Leslie Kaplan

Tuesdays: Nov. 5, 12 and 19 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$66 members | $76 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Objective: To have an appreciation of the shade garden and be able to select and situate appropriate plants for the shady site
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

Gardening in the shade is not difficult — it is just different! Shade gardens provide a peaceful retreat where you can highlight the simplicity and elegance of plants. Expand your plant palate and learn to combine a variety of forms, foliage textures and variegation to make your garden come alive. Discuss different types of shade, annuals, perennials and shrubs that thrive in shady conditions. Explore tried and true varieties as well as some of the newest cultivars that have recently been introduced to the trade. Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape and Garden Design elective

Landscape Design I: Overview and Design Preparation | Michele McCann

Wednesdays: Sept. 11 and 25 and Oct. 2 | 7 – 9:30 p.m.
Field work: Sat., Sept. 14 | 9 a.m. – noon

$200 members | $220 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Objective: To be able to complete a site inventory and analysis and create a conceptual diagram for a preselected site
Level: Beginner
Prerequisite: Landscape Graphics required

Explore practical aspects of the landscape design process, including site documentation, client interviews and program development. Develop a site inventory, analysis and conceptual diagram. Space is limited to eight participants; early registration is encouraged. Landscape and Garden Design Certificate core course and Sustainable Horticulture Certificate elective

Basic Horticulture | Xuri Zhang

Mondays: Sept. 16, 23 and 30, Oct. 7, 14 and 21 | 6:30 – 9 p.m.

$198 members | $228 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center [please note change of venue]

Objective: To understand the basic concepts and practices related to plant care
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

The study of horticulture includes both the science and the art of growing plants. Learn about plant anatomy and lifecycles, propagation, soils, plant nutrition, greenhouse pests, environmental factors that affect growth and development, basic nomenclature, and more. Sustainable Horticulture Certificate core course