Delaware Today magazine special mature lifestyles supplement: Fabulous After 50, home and garden tips from Longwood Gardens, The Delaware Center for Horticulture, UD Cooperative Extension, and Mt. Cuba Center

Let the Sun Shine—and the Gardens Bloom

Battle the winter blues by reliving the joys of newly sprouting plants, fragrant flowers and pleasurable gardens. Longwood Gardens, The Delaware Center for Horticulture and other local organizations offer gardening courses year-round.

“When you’re stuck inside, it’s really nice to come and hang out with other gardeners and listen to lectures and start imagining what you’ll do in your garden come spring,” says Wendy Scott of the DCH. “It’s an opportunity to do some planning and perhaps learn a new technique.”

Offering courses year-round also allows for showcasing different aspects of horticulture and gardening, adds Joan McClintock, continuing education coordinator at Longwood.

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And don’t be put off if you’re a beginner. There are courses for novices and experienced horticulturalists alike. While well-known for its Professional Gardener Training Program, for instance, Longwood Gardens also offers lectures, courses and workshops suitable for all levels.

“What I like about our classes is we always have a range of students from novices to pros, and they all benefit from the instructor and each other,” McClintock says. “There’s a broad age range and, especially in the series classes, students are very attentive to each other.”

So, in addition to learning to grow a plant, you might also grow a friendship!

Delaware Center for Horticulture

Most DCH offerings are a one-shot, 90-minute evening lecture, though there is a lecture series Thursday evenings in February called “Help for the Home Gardener.”
Participants can choose one class or attend all of them. The DCH also hosts hands-on workshops such as “How to Make Your Own Rain Barrel.”
On Dec. 14 the DCH is partnering with the Delaware Nature Society on the lecture “Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in Garden Soil,” which will be held at the DuPont Environmental Education Center in Wilmington.
(, 658-6262)

UD Cooperative Extension

The Master Gardeners of UD’s cooperative extension service sponsor a variety of no- to low-cost classes throughout the year on subjects such as native plants, rain gardening, perennials and pruning. Each county’s Master Gardeners group has its own schedule of workshops.

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Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens offers evening lectures, series lectures, workshops and garden tours. The daylong “All About Orchids” program on Feb. 25 features lectures and hands-on elements as well as a tour of orchid greenhouses not usually open to the public. Flower lovers will enjoy the monthly floral arranging classes. For $45 students receive instruction in floral design and walk out with a flower arrangement of their own creation.
Longwood Gardens’ new course schedule starts in January and will be available on its Web site.
(, 610-388-5454)

Mount Cuba Center

As the region’s premier native plant garden, Mount Cuba is a great place to learn about identifying and working with native plants. Class offerings include lectures, workshops and interpreting the garden through artistic expression. Mount Cuba recently added an online learning platform called Mount Cuba Center Connect. Mount Cuba’s low-cost classes are typically offered during the day, many on Saturdays. (, 239-4244)

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