Although it’s counterintuitive, the months of February and March are the ideal time to plan your spring and summer garden – even start some seedlings indoors. Why not get a glimpse of vegetation to come? It will help the doldrum days of late winter go by more quickly.
Ever the planners of the flowers and harvest to come, many local garden centers and organizations are now rolling out their upcoming schedules for classes and workshops. We’ve got some suggestions for you, whether you’re a novice or master gardener.
Sussex County Master Gardeners, the cooperative extension service of the University of Delaware offers a vast number of resources including a 24-hour inquiry service for even the most unusual gardening, soil and pest control questions. They are a highly trained, all-volunteer organization with a mission to educate and assist gardeners of all levels.
Planting with Native Perennials and Vegetable Gardening are both upcoming in February and March. All of their classes are free to the public, but registration is required: Sussex County Master Gardeners upcoming class registration. Also available on the UD website are “minute talks,” a series of topic related videos by its master gardeners.
Fan favorite, East Coast Garden Centers of Millsboro is a popular destination for gardening classes and demonstrations. Their East Coast Garden Center class schedule for Spring 2024 won’t disappoint. Most classes are $10, with the exception of their Spring Make & Take, which costs $50. Classes typically sell out, so it’s wise to sign up early.
Founded in 1990, the expansive center boasts more than 70 greenhouses and plenty of gardens to peruse while you consider what will work in your own garden. Be sure to allow time to wander before or after class.
In Millville, Gardeners By The Sea is a club dedicated to promoting native Delaware species and educating local gardeners. Meetings take place monthly from September through June. Its classes and lectures are open to the public, but if you are interested in becoming a member, you must first attend at least two meetings.
Nearby in Dagsboro, the treasured Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek is a destination for both tours and classes. It is a membership organization (individual memberships are $95), but it is also open to the public for an entrance fee of $15. Members can enjoy limitless visits without an entrance fee. If you’ve never been there and are curious, mark your calendar for Earth Day in April. Admission is free with a food donation for local food pantries.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens schedule of events describes two upcoming classes that provide recommendations for spring and summer container arrangements.
In Lewes, Hattie’s Garden classes focus on teaching organic and sustainable gardening. The spring schedule is not yet published, but sign up for their newsletter to get the information when available.
For an extensive listing of resources for gardening in Delaware, be sure to visit the Inland Bays Resources page on its website. Currently, the garden center doesn’t offer classes, but the website lists dozens of native plant recommendations as well as organizations to contact for further information.
For those willing to make the two hour drive to gorgeous Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square (PA), their Longwood Gardens Continuing Education program offers several interesting courses. Beware, they sell out quickly. Some classes are offered online.
Finally, if you prefer to learn more about organic gardening online, a free “Growing Food” course is offered by Thrive for Good. You can learn and plan your garden at your own pace. They also offer a free course on Healthy Eating. All you must do is provide your email and create a profile.
With all of these choices available, we hope this motivates you to explore the world of gardening. It’s definitely therapeutic and rewarding. Happy gardening.
By Bridget FitzPatrick