Edible Gardening

2018 Gardening Course Schedule (final) Register now!

Hello Everyone,

I’m so excited about this year’s gardening classes!   We will be in some of the very best gardens in Greensboro.  It will be a blast exploring them and learning from the successes and failures of the most knowledgeable gardeners around.

Here is the final edition of the 2018 Gardening Course Schedule: 2018 Course Schedule
Registration information is below and also at the bottom of the schedule. 

This is a printable document.  Classes start March 11th!   Please register soon as I anticipate that these will fill quickly. (I may add more one date to each course if there is the demand.)

It’s time to create beautiful gardens together.

Here is what to do now:

  1. Choose your class dates and mark your calendars.
  2. Email me with your preferred class dates for each of the 9 gardening courses (You can just say “Sundays” or “Thursdays”but note that Course #8 is a Sunday & TUESDAY class.)
  3. Send your check for $295, made payable to “Ellen Ashley”.
  4. Mail to: 3901 Battleground Ave, Apt 95, Greensboro, NC 27410

That’s it!  Your seat is reserved when your payment is received.  I’ll be in touch soon regarding course materials and a reminder of where to meet.  I can’t wait to see you in March!

Best wishes to all of you!

Ellen Ashley
Garden Consultant, Educator, Speaker, Blogger

Ellen Ashley teaches an annual program of “hands-on” gardening classes, outdoors in beautiful gardens around Greensboro, NC.  Contact her at ellen@learntogarden.net.


Welcome to Garden Happy!
2018 Gardening Course Schedule

Each class is 2-hours plus Q&A, at 2-4pm unless noted, most often on Thursdays & Sundays for each course. (Dates may be added if warranted by demand.) Approximately 15 students per class. Research-based course materials will be provided for each course.  Classes will be offered as a complete program for $295 per student.


Course #1 – Greensboro Arboretum, 401 Ashland Drive, Greensboro, NC Sunday, March 11 & Thursday, March 15


Pruning guidelines & demonstration: (90 minutes) Bad pruning is the #1 mistake of homeowners and landscapers alike. Good pruning can transform your landscape into a thing of beauty. Improper pruning, including pruning at the wrong time, can destroy bloom buds, disfigure plants, invite disease, and do permanent damage to an otherwise healthy plant. Whether you do it yourself or hire it out, it is important to know what to do!

Instruction will include an overview of essential tools, and pruning demonstrations of roses, nandina, conifers, azaleas, camellias, spirea, weigelia, clematis, grasses, fruits and more. (If you don’t know what plants you have, you may recognize them when you see them in my landscape.)

Deterring furry pests in the garden:  (30 min) Deer, rabbits, moles & voles – if you plant it they will come! Gardening can be an exercise in futility if you do not have the “varmints” under control.  (30 minutes)
I will have organic Deer & Rabbit repellent available for sale at this class.


Course #2 – In the private home of Leslie Scher, 3206 Cabarrus Drive

Greensboro, NC 27407 (Sedgefield). Sunday, March 25 & Thursday, March 29


Soil Science and Why Organics Matter:  Organic gardening is a process, not a product, and it all starts with the soil. You will learn the importance of soil, why pH matters, how to take a soil test, how to create new planting beds and rejuvenate existing ones, organic soil amendments, nutrient balance, and the role of microorganisms.

You will receive Soil Test Kits from the NCSU Extension Service and instruction in how to use them.

There will be an outside “show and tell” of the most cost-effective organic soil amendments, where to buy them and how to use them.


Course #3 – Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, Kernersville, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville, NC.   http://www.cienerbotanicalgarden.org/

Sunday, April 15 & Thursday, April 19

Organic Vegetable Gardening: What to grow and When to plant.

There are beautiful ways to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs in your home landscape. You will learn about:

  • The easiest, low maintenance fruits that are beautiful in your home landscape and small enough to fit anywhere. (Special blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, figs, Japanese persimmons and more.)
  • Edibles that make a beautiful addition to your flower border.
  • Spring veggies, herbs and flowers including asparagus (a beautiful, edible perennial), potatoes, onions, lettuce, arugula, beets, peas, spinach, parsley, cilantro, dill, edible flowers and more.
  • Planting schedules for spring, summer, fall.
  • When and how to sow seeds vs planting seedlings.
  • Where to buy seed, transplants, plant supports and fertilizers.
  • How to read a seed catalog and a seed packet.
  • Various types of organic fertilizers and the real meaning of those N-P-K numbers on the bag.
  • Essential tools that make gardening easier.
  • How to plan for your summer garden, including veggies and flowers from seed.


Course #4 – Ellen Ashley’s home, 8140 Witty Road, Summerfield, NC

(This is a construction site so please where boots that don’t mind the mud!)
Thursday, April 26 & Sunday, April 29

How improve the success of new plantings:  The costly demise of most garden plantings are a direct result of improper planting. We will address an array of misconceptions about planting techniques. You may be very surprised!  This class will demonstrate:

  • Proper planting techniques for planting shrubs and trees for successful growth, even those sometimes fussy azalea and rhododendron.
  • How to prepare a new planting bed.
  • How to interpret your soil test reports.

This will be a “hands-on” outdoor class held at the site of my brand new home, still under construction. It will be the perfect demonstration of how to deal with hard packed red clay, the problem that most intimidates would-be gardeners in the Triad.

Easy-to-grow Fruits for your urban garden.  How cool would it be to walk outside to snack on delicious ripe berries, kiwis, and figs right outside your back door? We will cover it all in this class.


Course #5 – The private garden of Cindy Jones and Craig Wagoner, owners of Edgefield Plant and Stone. http://www.edgefieldplantstone.com/

Home address: 8423 Mears Fork Road, Summerfield, NC 27358

Sunday, May 6 & Thursday, May 10

Learn about the best varieties of shrubs and trees that take you far beyond the 20 common plants you find in the average landscape

This Interactive outdoor walk  will focus on how different trees & shrubs can be used to create a low-maintenance landscape with beauty and color. You will see how plants look at maturity (vs. in a nursery pot) so you understand their size and features. We will discuss individual plants and various cultivars available.

Choosing “the best” plant depends on its requirements for light, water, and soil (including pH), and whether it will grow to be the right size, shape and color to fit your landscape design.  Shade lovers will wilt and burn in the sun and require lots more water. Sun lovers get leggy and lose their color in shade, attract bugs and disease.

You will learn:

  • How to read a nursery plant tag.
  • Plants that deer don’t like.
  • Plants for screening and “evergreening” your property.
  • Shrubs for sun and shade.
  • Shrubs that flower in different seasons
  • Choosing plants for year-round interest (bark, structure, leaf color, texture…)
  • Plants as “structure” in the landscape


Course #6 – The private garden of Dr. Graham Ray, 1100 Rustic Road, Greensboro, NC 27410.  Thursday May 17 & Sunday, May 20

Shade gardening is not for sissies! It means trying to grow things in a challenging environment. There are usually trees providing the shade so the ground is often root bound and dry as a bone. Then of course there is the lack of sun, an essential ingredient for photosynthesis!  You will spend 2 hours in the amazing garden of Dr. Graham Ray, possibly the most gorgeous shade garden in the Triad!  We will show you plants that thrive in this environment and discuss how to grow them successfully.  You will receive plant lists for future reference.


Course #7 – Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville,NC. http://www.cienerbotanicalgarden.org/

Sunday, June 3 and Thursday, June 7

The Best Flowers for Summer Color

Annuals, perennials, biennials, bulbs and corms– what’s the difference?

The most reliable summer bloomers and when to plant them.
Spend your money wisely on deer proof, heat/cold tolerant, disease resistant, long blooming, and long-lived perennials. You may also want to know which ones are magnets for butterflies and hummingbirds. Many of these look bold and tropical, but are amazingly cold tolerant in the Triad.


BONUS COURSE – Organic Lawn Care, taught by Tommy Cowett, “GrowinGreen” of Kernersville.

Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville,NC. Sunday, August 19 at 2pm-3:30. (One class only. The room will hold 35 people.)

Tommy Cowett will discuss the mind-blowing science of soil organics and why it matters for a beautiful lawn. (The garden’s lawns are organically maintained by “GrowinGreen”.)  Spouses & significant others welcome provided that you reserve your space ahead.  Tommy is an exciting speaker. Hold on to your seats!


Course #8 – The private Garden of Rachel Rees, 6700 Bugle Run, Oak Ridge, NC 27310. Sunday, August 26 & TUESDAY, August 28

You will witness this amazing garden that Rachel originally started from tiny plant liners, passalong plants from fellow gardeners, and throw-aways from Walmort & Home Depot – living proof that gardening does not have to be an expensive habit.

Garden maintenance, Seed Saving & Bug Identification

Garden Maintenance – This class will cover pruning and deadheading of spring and summer blooming shrubs and perennials, weed and disease control, bug identification and discussion of what to do about the bad guys & how to attract more good ones!   We will also discuss “preemptive pruning” of perennials to control size and help them hold up their heavy summer blooms.

Experienced gardeners rarely walk into the garden without gloves and pruners in hand. There are entire books written on caring for perennial gardens because plants are just different. You will learn how to rejuvenate your plants to keep your garden blooming beautifully through fall.

Seed Saving – Late summer is time to collect seeds from spring bloomers to sow now or save for next year.  Your garden is producing much more seed than you will find in 100 ordinary seed packets! I will show you how to collect seeds, dry them, and plant them for more blooms next year.


Course #9 – Gateway Gardens, 2924 E. Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, NC http://greensborobeautiful.org/gardens/gateway_gardens.php

Thursday, October 11 & Sunday, October 14

Garden Design Principles.   Fall is the perfect time to look around your garden with a critical eye. The ‘bones’ of your garden can be seen when the leaves have fallen and the perennials disappear for the winter. This is an interactive garden walk-about to examine WHY a garden scene is pleasing to the eye.  Looking at specific components of the scene will uncover ideas that you can use in your own landscape design.

Learn how to add excitement to your Fall & Winter Gardens.  The Piedmont Triad is blessed with wonderful autumn leaf color. Make sure your garden has even more with fabulous Japanese maples, fall blooming camellias, asters, 6 foot tall ginger, helianthus, grasses, sedum and more. You will learn about keeping your winter garden beautiful with evergreens, berries, colorful bark, bulbs, stone and interesting textures.

Little tasks to do in fall: Harvesting the last of your herbs before frost, planting garlic & spinach, what seeds to sow in fall for spring flowers, and what to do with leaves.  Learn about frost protection to make the last of your fall vegetables hold weeks longer through the cold. All about the what, when and how much of “mulching”.


To Register:

  1. Choose your class dates and mark your calendars.
  2. Email me with your preferred class dates for each of the 9 gardening courses (You can just say “Sundays” or “Thursdays”but note that Course #8 is a Sunday & TUESDAY class.)
  3. Send your check for $295, made payable to “Ellen Ashley”.
  4. Mail to: 3901 Battleground Ave, Apt 95, Greensboro, NC 27410

That’s it!  I can’t wait to see you in March!

Ellen Ashley
Gardening Enthusiast, Educator, Speaker, Blogger
Garden Happy!  
336-541-5699 cell 


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