Garden Experts Jump-Start the Education/Growing Season With Expanded Offerings from Arboretum/SUNY Cobleskill

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January! Can Spring be far behind? Those with a love of gardening already are planning ahead -- starting with their anticipated review of new horticulture offerings proffered each year in a joint venture between the Landis Arboretum and SUNY Cobleskill. This year is no exception. Classes begin on February 1.

Two Capital Region garden experts will initiate the 2007 season of diverse offerings in horticulture education offered by the Landis Arboretum in concert with the State University of New York in Cobleskill (SUNY/Cobleskill.) Rosemary "Teah" Crew and Kerry Mendez will launch the 2007 season in February with two courses that are expected to delight followers of the annual series and to fascinate newcomers as well.

Horticultural Therapy for the Professional Helper

Crafted to meet the dynamic and varied needs of all professional helpers -- from social workers, rehabilitation experts, occupational and recreational workers, nursing-home professionals, home health-care para-professionals, etc., Ms. Crew offers Horticultural Therapy for the Professional Helper, February 7, 14, 21 and 28, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m..

"However one's work takes them into the service of those physically, emotionally and medically challenged, all participants are sure to find innovative ideas and options to adopt and incorporate into their treatment plans," says Ms. Crew.

In addition, she says participants will learn what horticultural therapy really is and isn't as they experience specific horticultural therapy activities and learn about the American Horticultural Therapy Association and all of its professional resources.

Teah Crew is a nationally certified master gardener, and holds a horticulture degree from Kent State University, where she specialized in horticultural therapy and horticultural education. She has implemented horticultural therapy programs for senior citizens, inner city children and children affected or infected with HIV. She has done numerous garden club presentations and has been a workshop presenter at several horticulture conferences. She has worked at the Holden Arboretum and done landscaping for the Cleveland Zoo, in both their animal exhibits as well as interioscaping for the rainforest biosphere.

Low-Risk, High Reward Perennial Gardens

Popular educator Kerry Mendez promises an "exciting four-class series that 'covers it all'" -- from assessing light conditions, soil analysis, plant placement for optimal visual appeal and seasonal impact to preparing and planting new beds, amending soil, the best perennials, shrubs and annuals for longest bloom and easiest care. Then throw in recommended mulches and fertilizers, fantastic foliage plants; plant divisions, cutting back for fall, jump-starting spring, along with time-tested maintenance tips and shortcuts.

The series, which begins February 1 and runs through March 1, 1 - 3 p.m., will also be held on the Arboretum campus.

  • Class #1: Glorious, Ever-blooming Flower Gardens

Learn easy-to-follow steps for site assessment, planning and designing a show-stopping perennial garden. Topics include analysis of light conditions, soil type and pH, key soil amendments, plant selection, simple design techniques for drawing a garden map and more.

  • Class #2: Don't Be a Deadhead: Maintenance Strategies for a Winning Garden

Presentation is to gardening as location is to real estate. Learn time-saving secrets for your garden's routine care and upkeep including pruning, deadheading, dividing, fertilizing, mulching, cutting back the garden in fall -- and more. This class on presentation will transform any approach to garden care and put precious time back in your schedule.

  • Class #3: And the Winner is ... Making Mulch of the Competition!

Blue ribbon annuals and perennials. Flowering shrubs that outshine the competition with their extensive bloom time and easy-care requirements. When it comes to picking leaders for top performance and low-maintenance, tough love should drive your decisions. Ruthless culling, says this expert, created this garden-tested list that means less work, more enjoyment for you. You'll thank her later.

  • Class #4: Outrageous Garden Design with Foliage

Stunning, intriguing, captivating ... a real knockout. We're talking gardening here ... Discover and explore the impact of form, foliage color, shape, texture, size and more in creating sensational gardens -- that require little maintenance. Learn great plant choices and combinations for creating your own symphony of foliar artwork.

The popular Kerry Mendez, owner of Perennially Yours in Ballston Spa, is dedicated to teaching people of all ages the art of low-maintenance perennial gardening. As a garden consultant, designer, writer, teacher and lecturer, she focuses on time-saving gardening techniques and workhorse plant material as well as organic practices. More than 5,000 people have taken her classes and her gardens have been in People, Places & Plants, Fine Gardening, How-To Gardening, Garden Gate magazines and will be in Better Homes and Gardens' Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living, Fine Gardening and Country Gardens magazines in 2007. For more about Kerry Mendez and Perennially Yours, visit

Fun and Challenge for Everyone

In addition to courses leading to a Certificate in Horticulture, the new Arboretum offerings include six courses for those who love gardening, just want to dabble, or have a natural interest to know more but do not seek the rigors of certification: Gardening 101; Therapeutic Gardening: The Focus is You; and Introduction to Fairy Gardening. For any adult wanting to learn how to incorporate horticulture into an education curriculum to meet the needs of children of varying ages, there is Home Schooling Horticulture (offered on three levels: for grades K- 3, 4 -- 8, and 8 -- 12).

Register Now

Classes begin in February, run through October, and call on the insights and experience of established subject-matter experts. Classes will be held at the Arboretum as well as on the campus and within the facilities of SUNY Cobleskill. By request, plans already are under way to expand lecture-based, Arboretum sponsored horticultural course offerings to other sites within the Capital Region to attract new interest in and members to the Arboretum.

Interested gardeners -- and those who wish to give them a gift they will truly appreciate -- are welcomed to register even if you are not pursuing certification--- for one or more courses as their schedules permits.

Registration with payment is due one week before each course begins. All Horticulture Certification courses are $110. Non-certification courses are as marked. To register, or to receive a catalog of offerings, contact SUNY Cobleskill Office of Community Outreach, Warner Hall Room 208, Cobleskill. NY 12043. VISA, MasterCard or Discover payments accepted at 518-255-5258. Students and Arboretum members receive a 10 percent discount.

Past registrants say that they enjoy participating in these courses in small groups or with close friends.

Now, what to wear ...


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