HF&G Classes

Nature is our greatest teacher; every plant, tree and flower. HF&G classes take cues from the natural world around us and encourages participants to take a moment to get to know some of the pollinators, native plants, songbirds and wild mushrooms you can find locally and even in your own backyard!

Holden Forests and Gardens is looking for instructors, contact us if you are interested in becoming an Adult Education Instructor.

Square Foot Gardening 

Thursday, April 15 | 6:00- 7:00 p.m.

Instructor: Bernadette Gallagher, Gardener for Holden Forests & Gardens

live, virtual class

$10 per member, $25 per non-member

Limited on gardening space? Want to challenge your traditional gardening skills? Then this class is for you. Square foot gardening is an incredibly sustainable form of home gardening that maximizes small space while reducing waste by growing a variety of plants in single square foot sections in raised beds. This class will focus on the basics of this method: what is square foot gardening, what are the advantages to this method, how to start your own square foot garden, and how you can use square foot gardening for vertical growing plants, too.

Tour Spring Blooms at the Leach Research Station  

April 24, May 9 (Mother’s Day), and May 29 | 10am & 1pm (1.5 hour tours) 

Guide: Connor Ryan, Rhododendron Collections Manager

in-person tour

$15 per member, $30 per non-member

Take this rare opportunity to visit one of HF&G’s most beautiful but seldom seen gardens, the David G. Leach Research Station. Explore the gardens where towering rhododendron and other specialty plants bloom in a peaceful 20-acre woodland in Madison, OH. Discover thousands of hybrid plants from a breeding program that is evaluating the next generation of commercial rhododendron cultivars.  

Tours will be led by Connor Ryan, Rhododendron Collections Manager. Registration for a specific time is required. Groups sizes are limited, and guests are asked to wear as mask when social distancing isn’t possible. Directions will be supplied. 


 Wildflower Garden Tour: Spring Ephemerals -Sold Out!

Saturday, May 8| 9:00-11:00 AM 

Guide: Hilary Wright, Horticulturist for Holden Forests & Gardens

In-person tour 

Price: $15 per member, $30 per non-member

 Join us as we stroll through the Holden Wildflower Garden in peak season to better understand the spring ephemerals that make this garden so majestic. Your tour will start off with a brief history of the Holden Wildflower Garden before focusing on the 20+ species of spring ephemerals you’ll see during the rest of your tour. As you walk, you’ll learn how to recognize and name April ephemerals, the important role of each species has in this ecosystem and about their habitat and life cycles. This class will take place outdoors in rain or shine. Please come dressed for the weather. Nature journals are encouraged! Space is limited, masks required when social distancing is not possible.

Conifers for Residential Landscapes

Wednesday, April 28| 6:00- 7:00 p.m.

Instructor: Rob Dzurec, Horticulturist for Holden Forests & Gardens

Live, virtual program 

$10 per member, $25 per nonmember 

Explore the world of deciduous & evergreen conifers to better understand how these plants can aesthetically and ecologically enhance your property. This class with cover the basics of what conifers are and their characteristics. Once the basics are covered, you’ll learn how consider conifers in your landscape design and discover which selections of conifers are right for your property.

Companion Planting: Biological Pest Control  

Wednesday, May 5| 6:00-7:00pm 

Instructor: Alyssa Zearley, Nursery Technician for Holden Forests & Gardens

Live, virtual program 

Price: $10 per member, $25 per non-member

There are many benefits to companion planting and this class will take a deep dive into how companion plants can minimize insect damage to your garden, while simultaneously increasing the functions of beneficial insects.  In this virtual program you’ll learn about which insects can benefit your gardens and how to use plants to attract these to your gardens. The class will cover how to use companion plants to provide beneficial insect habitat, boost resources for pollinators, and trap harmful pests. Finally, there will be a virtual tour of companion plants in action from Holden Arboretum’s own nursery. 

Exploring Lantern Court Gardens  

Monday, May 10| 10:00-11:00 AM 

Guide: Dawn Gerlica, Lantern Court Horticulturist 

In-person tour 

Price: $15 per member, $30 per non-member

Explore the beauty and wonder of Lantern Court’s grounds to learn about what’s in bloom in the different gardens this spring and summer. Learn about the history, characteristics, and maintenance of the different collections of plants housed here from Horticulturalist, Dawn Gerlica. This program is outdoors and held rain or shine. Please dress appropriately for the weather. Masks are required outdoors when 6’ distancing is not possible. 

Mapping Residential Landscapes  

Part I: Tuesday, May 11| 6:00-8:00 PM

Part II: Tuesday, May 18 | 6:00-7:30 PM

Instructor: Greg Wright, Nursery Supervisor 

Price: Full course: $30 per member, $45 per non-member; Part II only: $10 per person

Whether you are building a new home or planning to improve an existing garden or landscape, landscape mapping is an important tool for assessing your property and ensuring the long-term success of your project.

Part I:  This program will teach one method for gathering dimensions of objects in your landscape and recording those objects in the form of a base map. Participants will learn through a hands-on approach utilizing the Long Science Center landscape and will then be able to utilize this method at home. This first step becomes a tool for future design and layout of any design changes for your landscape. 

This class is best suited to the small property owner less than .5 acres and a property that is relatively flat, no severe slopes, ravines, hills, etc. Some small group work will occur throughout this program. Please bring a mask as it will be required during this indoor program.  Please also dress for the weather as part of the class will be outdoors.

If possible, participants should come to the class with : a pencil, an eraser, a 100’+ measuring tape, a ruler, French curves, and a drawing compass. If you are unable to provide any of these items, some items may be provided for you; please contact the Education Coordinator with your supply needs.  

Part II(part one not required): Do you remember what plants you planted in your garden last year?  Do you love one so much you want to get more of it but you can’t remember the name of the plant? Keeping a record of your gardening activities builds a treasure trove of knowledge.  In this program we will discuss the value of keeping a record and what types of information might be useful to know for the future.  Whether you want to design new gardens, refurbish old ones or just let your friend know what the name of that beautiful plant they have been admiring, a garden journal will be a useful tool for that and much more.

Part I will take place at the Long Science Center on the Holden Arboretum Campus. Part II is a virtual presentation via Zoom. Registration for Part I is limited and includes Part II. Registration for Part II can be purchased on its own for those interested but unable to attend the first portion. 


Rhododendron Series  

Part I: The Basics of Growing and Caring for Rhododendron  

Saturday, May 15 | 10:00-11:30 AM

Instructor: Beth WhippleHorticulturalist  


Part II: Tour Holden’s Rhododendron Collection 

Wednesday, May 19 | 6:00-7:00 PM 

Instructors: Beth Whipple, Horticulturalist and Connor Ryan, Rhododendron Collections Manager 

Series Price: $30 per member, $45 per nonmember 

The first portion of this course will cover the basic information you will need to successfully grow and care for rhododendrons, including ideal site selection and characteristics, planting techniques, seasonal care and maintenance, the primary differences between Rhododendrons and Azaleas, and a demonstration on proper pruning techniques and timing.  

In the second portion of this course, participants will tour Holden’s multiple Rhododendron collections to learn about Lake County’s historical role in Rhododendron cultivation, the history of Holden’s collection, and view significant species within this collection.  

Both programs will take place outdoors, rain or shine. Please come dressed for the weather and prepared to be standing for a longer period of time. Please bring a mask as they are required outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible and a water bottle. Clipboards will be provided for taking notes.  

A Conifer Conversation–New HF&G Virtual Video Series

Part I: An Introduction to The Holden Arboretum’s Conifer Collection 

Pre-recorded video- approximately 12 minutes in length

Instructors: Ethan Johnson, Plant Recorder Curator & former Central Regional Director, President of the Central Region and President of the American Conifer Society & Margeaux Apple, Plant Recorder 

Free for members and nonmembers 

The winter months are the perfect time to ignite an interest in conifers for Northeastern Ohio landscapes. This introductory video featuring Plant Records Curator and former American Conifer Society Central Region Director, Ethan Johnson and Plant Recorder Margeaux Apple will provide the introductory context for a new series featuring a variety of topics covering the broad diversity of conifers featured on HF&G campuses. 

 This pre-recorded tour takes an in-depth looked at Holden Arboretum’s treasured Conifer Collection. Participants will learn what a conifer is, what characteristics define them, and where the Conifer Collection at Holden is. Johnson and Apple will highlight six species of conifers that are common landscape plants in Northeast Ohio, giving you tips for identification and facts about each plant that ​are sure to ignite your appreciation and affinity for conifers.

 Upcoming topics in this series include: 

  •  Dwarf cultivars and witches’ brooms  
  • Native Ohio Conifers in the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden & beyond
  • Cypress Family by Bole Woods – Cupressaceae
  • Conifers in the Core: exploring Michigan Hill, Squirrel Ridge, Spruce Knoll, & Ponderosa Pines
  • Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
  • and more added in the months to come.