2020 Spring Gardening Classes

Its January 12th and the high was 70 degree here.  Wow! Hard to believe we are in the NC Piedmont Triad and not Florida!

It’s crazy, but I’m hardly complaining. I am thrilled that my landscape has wonderful warm wet weather to help it get a fast start for spring.  If you are wondering whether it is OK to plant trees & shrubs now, the answer is YES!  If you are wondering What or How to plant, this is the perfect time to enroll in my 2020 Spring Gardening Classes.
Let’s go play in the garden!

The Schedule and Registration info are BELOW or you can get a printer-friendly version HERE: 2020 Course Schedule

The following 2020 Courses are  $30 each. Class size will be limited to 15 people.

Course # 1 –   The Essentials: All about Soil & Pruning   

Class date:  Thursday, March 5th , 2-5pm

Soil Basics: Organic gardening is a process, not a product, and it all starts with the soil. This class teaches the essential foundation of organics. 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 amazing role of microorganisms.

Pruning guidelines & demonstration: 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.)


Course # 2 –   Organic Vegetable Gardening, Fabulous Flowers from Seed, Controlling Furry Pests

Class dateThursday, March 19th at 2-5pm

There are beautiful ways to grow vegetables and herbs in your home landscape. You will learn about potted gardens, raised beds, and veggies that make a beautiful addition to your flower border.

What to Plant Now and How: Discussion & demonstrations

  • 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.
  • Tips for getting your tomatoes off to a FAST start.
  • Where to buy seed, transplants, plant supports and fertilizers.
  • How to read a seed catalog and a seed packet.
  • What is N-P-K?
  • The various types of organic fertilizers and pros/cons of synthetic fertilizers.
  • Essential tools that make gardening easier.
  • Got Shade? How about mushrooms?
  • How to plan for your Summer garden, including veggies and flowers from seed. (Don’t rush, our average last frost date is April 15

Deterring furry pests in the garden: 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.

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. We will have a hands-on demonstration of Proper planting techniques for trees and shrubs. You may be very surprised!


Course #3 – Organic Lawn Care, taught by Tommy Cowett, “GrowinGreen” of Kernersville.

Class Date: Sunday, March 22 at 2-3:30 pm  (Course fee $20) 

Tommy Cowett will discuss the mind-blowing science of soil organics and why it matters for a beautiful lawn. Break your lawn’s chemical dependency and let your dog roll on non-toxic turf.  Spouses & significant others welcome. Tommy is an exciting speaker. Hold on to your seats!


Course # 4 –Garden Design, Tree and Shrub selection

Class date: Thursday, April 16 at 2-5pm

Plants are the last, essential step of the garden design process. New cultivars are being introduced every season. Trees & shrubs can be used to create a low-maintenance landscape with beauty and color. We will discuss plants and unique cultivars that are far beyond the ordinary, but are particularly well suited for our area.

You will learn how to choose “the best” plant based on its requirements for light, water, and soil (including pH), and YOUR requirements for  size, shape, color, style, long life, disease resistance, and perhaps deer resistance.

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 #5 – Spring Clean Up, Bug Identification, plus Easy Fruits for an Urban Landscape

Class date: Thursday, April 30 at 2-5pm    

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

We will review soil test results and discuss ways to correct deficiencies.

Learn about delicious, easy-to-grow  FRUITS that are beautiful in your home landscape and small enough to fit anywhere: the best blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, figs, Japanese persimmons and more.



1.  Call me at 336-541-5699 or
email me at ellen@learntogarden.net
with your contact info (name, email address, phone) and the class dates you wish to attend.

2.  Bring a check for $30 made out to “Ellen Ashley”, or bring exact change with you to class.  All classes are held at my home address (see below.)

I will let you know immediately if the class is full, and I will repeat the class on additional dates if there is demand.  Gardening is a great thing to share with  your friends and family, so invite them!  I look forward to seeing you in the garden.

Ellen Ashley
Gardening Enthusiast, Educator, Speaker, Blogger
Garden Happy!
336-541-5699 cell
8140 Witty Road
Summerfield, NC 27358