24 January 2017
The workshop schedule for 2017 is now available. Just click on the ‘2017 Workshops’ label above for complete details. We have chosen to continue with the workshops which we started last year for a very simple reason: they were very well received. I don’t think folks were just being polite when they said that the experience was a valuable learning opportunity and well worth the cost and the time. That, of course, is precisely what we are aiming for – to provide information and knowledge in a way that is interesting, meaningful and ultimately useful to gardeners and wanna-be dirt-players-in.
We have tweaked the schedule a bit and will try something a bit out of the ordinary. Rather than just focusing on doing workshops during the peak of gardening season, we have added two dates that jump the gun a bit, at least in this climate. On March 4, we will do one of the Garden Design sessions. My thinking is, reinforced by the change wrought here by the removal of 18 large ash trees, that the structure of the garden and the relationships of the key features are just so much easier to see when there are no leaves! So here is an opportunity to think about design using, almost literally, a blank slate….or close to it.
So we will be able to focus more specifically on structure and how best to achieve it in any given situation. Since anyone who has ever heard me talk about gardens knows that I harp almost non-stop about the subject, it seems like a good time to examine it in more obvious detail. (An example – I just hosted a large gathering here with many gardeners present and since the weather was tolerable, even thought the ground was spongy, many folks wanted to “walk the garden” and did. Nearly everyone had basically the same comment: “It’s fun to see it without all the leaves because the conifers, interesting bark and berries and, especially the structure and flow of the design are so much more obvious.”)
Likewise, on April 1, we will do a session on ‘Keepin’ on Lookin’ good’ – our garden care and maintenance workshop. It also made sense to provide this at a time when care and maintenance are perhaps less on one’s mind than the question: why didn’t I plant more bulbs last year?
However, if you know in advance just how you need to go through the season and end it, you will be able to more efficiently plan your work. And you may not repeat the experience of standing around, in the middle of post-winter chaos, cursing yourself for having not done the things you should have done last fall. Thinking ahead from a knowledge base could prevent that from happening again – or not.
But, in addition, proper care and maintenance will have a huge effect on the garden’s appearance and need to be as much a factor in design planning and detail-filling as to whether or not you’re in love with those new plants. There is also a very practical reason for this: I am going to have to do a lot of this work in the spring anyway, so why not share the process and teach at the same time.
The March session can be done mostly inside and either or both sessions can be rescheduled almost any time during the rest of those months, so I don’t expect weather to be a deterrent.