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Home Gardeners School

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41st Annual Rutgers Home Gardeners School

Saturday, March 18, 2017   |    9:00am - 4:00pm   |   New Brunswick, NJ

Registration for 2017 Coming Soon!

Plan Out Your Day of Learning at Home Gardeners School!

The Home Gardeners School provides expert instruction in the most innovative gardening and landscaping subjects available.

Designed to provide "something for everyone," the Home Gardeners School offers 35 individual workshop sessions covering a wide array of horticulture topics. This format allows you to select the workshops that are most relevant to your gardening interests in order to create your own unique, customized schedule for this fun day of learning.

There are two morning workshop sessions (running 9:00am-10:30am and 10:45am-11:45am). Next there is a one hour lunch break and keynote presentation. Two afternoon workshop sessions (running from 1:15pm-2:15pm and 2:30pm-4:00pm) conclude the day.

Speakers from our commercial horticulture and landscape design programs will be participating along with Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) and School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) faculty and staff, providing you with the opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

These experts will teach you about landscape design, common problems and solutions, annuals, perennials, vegetables, bees, pruning, best management practices, and a whole host of other practical topics designed to prepare you and your garden for the spring and beyond. Participate in hands-on activities and spend the morning learning how to construct a small paver project, or participate in our fresh flower-arranging workshop in the afternoon.

Before registering, please review the workshop options below to determine which sessions you want to particpate in! You can also download a print-friendly workshop grid (PDF format).

Rutgers Home Gardeners School: 2-Minute Video Overview

Sorry, registration is not yet open for the 2017 offering of this course. Registration coming soon!

Would you like to be notified when registration opens for our next offering? 
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please reference "Home Gardeners School" or Course Code AH0201) 
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu

Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Register early to ensure your preferred workshop selection. If registering by mail or fax, please list your top three choices for each of the four listed time periods in case your first selection is full.

Workshop sessions are held in two buildings, requiring a short walk across a foot bridge. If you prefer to remain in one building for all workshops, please contact a member of our Registration Unit at 848-932-9271, option 2 to discuss.

Confirmation and directions will be sent VIA E-MAIL only.

Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities: If you require special assistance, please notify our office when you register or no less than one week before the course starts. Every effort will be made to accommodate reasonable requests.

Home Gardeners School Registration Fees
Early Registration Fee $60.00 Register on or before March 10, 2017 and save!
Registration Fee $75.00 After March 10, 2017
Master Gardeners Discount Fee $55.00 Register on or before March 10, 2017 and provide copy of certificate.
Box Lunch (Optional) TBD  
Additional Workshop Fee TBD  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.

Home Gardeners School Location and Parking

GPS systems may not recognize campus addresses. Even if they take you to the correct building, they will not take you to the assigned parking lot. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you use the directions we provide.

Hickman Hall
89 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Directions and Parking Information

Arrival: Check-in activities will take place in Hickman Hall between 8am - 9am. You will receive room assignments for your selected workshops when you arrive.

Parking: Please park your car in the Douglass Parking Deck. If you require handicapped parking, please call 848-932-9271, option 2 to reserve a handicapped parking space at Hickman Hall.

Home Gardeners School Meal Information

Breakfast is not provided; however, there will be coffee/tea available.

An optional box lunch will be available for $10.00. To order, include payment with your registration and mark the appropriate space on the registration form. Please indicate your sandwich preference: Tuna, Turkey, Ham & Cheese, Roast Beef, or Vegetarian.

Lunch will be served in the courtyard of Hickman Hall. There are no local food courts at this facility, but you are also welcome to bring your own bag lunch.

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.

View Photos from Past Offerings of Home Gardeners School!

Last Year's Agenda:
2016 Home Gardeners School Workshops

The Home Gardeners School is divided into four (4) time slots with multiple workshops available during each session. Descriptions for last year's workshops can be viewed by clicking on the titles below. As an added benefit for our valued attendees, we have made handouts and materials from many of our 2016 workshops available for download in PDF format. Click on the workshop titles below to see the related resources that we have received permission to share from the instructors.

Workshop details and registration for 2017 coming soon!

View All Workshop Descriptions | Hide All Workshop Descriptions | View Print Friendly Workshop Grid (PDF)

Session 1: 9:00am - 10:30am

1. Small Paver Project-Demonstration Workshop

Robert Belleck, Owner, Lily Pad Ponds, LLC
Come and learn the basic principles of constructing a small paver project! From design to install, topics include excavation, base layer, patterns, cutting techniques, and edging along with finishing techniques.

NOTE: This workshop is a double session that runs until 11:45am. If you register for this workshop, please do not enroll in a workshop for Session #2.

Download Presentation (PDF)

2. New Plus Tried-n-True: 2016 Annuals for the Landscape and Containers

Ira Grasgreen, Eason Horticultural Resources
With so many exciting annuals to choose from, this workshop will highlight some of the current top picks – including new plus tried-and-true varieties. We will focus on the use of annuals both in containers as well as in the landscape.

Download Handout (PDF)

3. Easy Drip Irrigation for Your Garden

Bob Dobson, Middletown Sprinkler Company
Drip irrigation is the most efficient way to water a garden and easy to install. Learn the basics to grow a bumper crop and conserve water at the same time.

Download Presentation (PDF)

4. The Dr. is "In:" Ask your Plant Questions

Steve Kristoph, Owner, Steven Kristoph Nurseries
Bugs on your Butterfly bush? Fungus on your Fothergilla? Bring in your plant-related questions and let an expert horticulturist do his best to identify the problem and offer you a solution.

(NOTE: All samples need to be in a plastic bag and kept moist. If you prefer to bring digital pictures of your problem, please put them on a flash drive for display on the big screen.)

Download Handout (PDF)

5. "What Plant, Where?" Planning Your Home Landscape

Peter Mahony, Landscape Architect
Avoid costly mistakes! This workshop will help you develop a game plan for arranging plants to create an attractive, functional landscape.

Download Handout (PDF)

6. Perennials for Four Seasons

Bruce Crawford, Director, The Rutgers Gardens
Most people visit garden centers in May and June and, as a result, pick up perennials that bloom at that time of the year. There are a huge number of perennials, however, that are fantastic for providing late summer, fall, and even winter color! Explore plants that will provide extended seasons of color, and learn how they can be most effective in the garden.

Download Handout (PDF)

7. Composting: As the Worm Turns

Virginia Lamb, Environmental Educator
Learn how to create and produce the soil amendments your garden craves – right out of your own kitchen! Take your love for gardening a step beyond, and turn waste into your garden's best friend. Learn which kitchen scraps are acceptable and what waste additions would be beneficial for great compost.

Download Handout (PDF)

8. Canning Fruits and Vegetables

Daryl Minch and Sandra Grenci, Family & Community Health Sciences (FCHS), Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties
This workshop will introduce the best practices for successful canning of fruits and vegetables. Various techniques and common mistakes will be demonstrated and discussed.

Download Presentation (PDF)

9. Proper Pruning Techniques

Ted Szczawinski, Certified Tree Expert; Adjunct Instructor, Rutgers - Newark
Believe it or not, proper pruning techniques will keep your plants healthier and happier, as well as extend their life cycle. A healthy plant is better equipped to resist diseases and stress damage. This is one workshop you will not want to 'cut!'

Download Handout (PDF)

Session 2: 10:45am-11:45am

10. Gardening in Small Spaces

Kirsten Soriano, Landscape Designer, Barlow's Flower Farm
Just because your area is small, it doesn't mean it can't be fabulous! This class will include container gardens, garden design ideas and other creative insights on making a large impact in a small space.

Download Presentation (PDF)

Download Handout (PDF)

11. Made for the Shade: Plants and Ideas for Woodland Gardens

Judy Glattstein, Garden Consultant
The seasonal changes of a woodland have powerful effects on a garden. Once you understand the influence of shade on plant growth, then plant selection follows in a logical manner. Consider the diversity of plants available for a shaded garden with a focus on when do they flower and do they also have attractive foliage. Design considerations, together with suggestions for plant combinations, assist in the creation of personal garden style in gardens that are made for the shade.

Download Handout (PDF)

12. Great Garden Day Trips for Your Hort Bucket List

Steve Kristoph, Owner, Steven Kristoph Nurseries
Although New Jersey is the "Garden State," and there are many beautiful gardens to visit here, there is so much more beyond its borders! Learn about some of the most beautiful public and private gardens for visiting outside the Garden State. Whether a same-day experience, or an overnight stay … can anyone say, "Road trip?"

Download Handout (PDF)

13. Great Soil, Great Gardens PART ONE: Basic Soil Science

Dr. Karen Plumley, Instructor, Lecturer
The 'foundation' of a great garden is the soil. While most people would never dream of building a house on a flimsy foundation, many people put in extraordinary effort to plant gardens on foundations that can't support them. Learn about soil basics and why soil 'ain't just dirt,' so you can begin building the garden of your dreams.

NOTE: Go beyond the basics with great soil tips in part two of the series - Great Soil, Great Gardens PART TWO (Workshop #22) - held in the afternoon during Session #3.

Download Handout (PDF)

14. Attracting Nature's Pest Control: Gardening for Beneficial Insects

Kim Eierman, Horticulture Consultant, Kim's Native Landscape Consulting
Put down the pesticide and pick up your gardening trowel instead! Learn how to reduce garden pests without the collateral damage from hazardous pesticides. Discover how to attract and support beneficial insects, nature's pest control, with the native plant habitat that they need.

Download Handout (PDF)

15. Early Spring Vegetable Gardening

Virginia Lamb, Environmental Educator
Does the long winter find you craving fresh vegetables? Now is the perfect time to start your spring garden. It's easy and can be done in a variety of ways, and in a variety of spaces, from beds to containers. You can start right away and will be eating homegrown peas, kale, lettuce and mesclun in May!

Download Handout (PDF)

16. Freezing Techniques for Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs

Daryl Minch and Sandra Grenci, Family & Community Health Sciences (FCHS), Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties
Do you want to freeze produce to enjoy all year? This workshop will cover equipment, techniques and good safety measures to ensure high quality frozen produce. You'll also learn about making freezer jam!

Download Presentation #1 (PDF)

Download Presentation #2 (PDF)

17. Trees and Their Care

Ted Szczawinski, Certified Tree Expert, Adjunct Instructor, Rutgers – Newark
Learn the fundamentals of tree care starting with plant selection, proper planting techniques and best management practices for optimum plant health care. Let our Certified Tree Expert offer years of experience and expertise to ensure that your trees grow healthy and happy.

Download Handout (PDF)

Lunch Break: 12:00pm-1:00pm

2017 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Exploring NJ Climate Variability and Change

Dr. David Robinson, Professor, Department of Geography, New Jersey State Climatologist, Rutgers University

New Jersey has recently experienced some of its wettest and warmest years in over 120 years of observations, along with a number of extreme weather events. This is similar to what is being seen globally, and can be attributed to significant human influences that are amplifying natural climate variations. This presentation will discuss this situation, including what may be ahead to challenge NJ gardeners in the years to come.

Read more about Dr. David Robinson and the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist.

Dr. David Robinson, 2017 Keynote Speaker

Session 3: 1:15pm-2:15pm

18. Repotting and Maintaining Orchids- Hands-On Workshop

Nicki Graf, Research Farm Supervisor III, Rutgers University, Floriculture Greenhouse
Learn the DO's and DON'Ts of potting and repotting orchids. Hands-on demonstrations will also highlight how to mount on bark and wood mediums. (Additional fee of $35 per person - 25 person limit)

Download Handout (PDF)

19. Designing with Ornamental Grasses

Bruce Crawford, Director, The Rutgers Gardens
Ornamental grasses have become increasingly popular over the past several decades due, in part, to the lack of interest by deer. They have a number of other benefits that enhance a garden's design, too! This workshop will evaluate a number of ways that grasses can make your garden more stunning, including methods for combining them with other perennials and woody plants.

Download Handout (PDF)

20. Gardening on the Rocks: Plants and Ideas for Rock Gardens

Judy Glattstein, Garden Consultant
Plants that thrive when growing among rocks should be considered for what may be a challenging garden site. Start by looking at true alpine plants and their habitat in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Although difficult at our lower elevation, there are some splendid rock gardens in the northeast worth exploring. This workshop will discuss placement of rocks, soil mixes, planned walls, and hypertufa troughs and highlight some easy care gems that happily grow among the rocks.

Download Handout (PDF)

Download North American Rock Garden Society - Watnong Chapter Membership Form (PDF)

21. All About Roses

Greg Wolek, Owner, Wolek's Garden Service LLC
Roses a garden favorite! Indulge your desire to use roses more in your garden by learning the basics as well as some advanced tricks and techniques, resulting in a successful flourish of flowers from our thorny friends. From landscape roses to hybrids, we will cover history, care, and design in a more relevant, discussion-type format.

Download Handout (PDF)

22. Great Soil, Great Gardens PART TWO: 10 Tips to Great Soil

Dr. Karen Plumley, Instructor, Lecturer
Proper soil evaluation can be mastered by gardeners of any skill level. It won't break the bank, and will likely save you money in the long run in the form of healthier, more attractive plants. We will review 10 concrete steps that you can take to improve your garden soil starting this spring!

NOTE: Learn soil foundation basics in part one of the series - Great Soil, Great Gardens PART ONE (Workshop #13) - held in the morning during Session #2.

Download Presentation (PDF)

23. How to Create a Pollinator Victory Garden

Kim Eierman, Horticulture Consultant, Kim's Native Landscape Consulting
Bees and many other pollinators are in serious decline. It's a problem that affects all of us, but most of our landscapes offer little in the way of habitat, nectar, and pollen. Learn how to create a Pollinator Victory Garden to win the war on pollinator decline. Every garden counts!

Download Handout (PDF)

24. Chickens in the Green Backyard Garden

Maria Brimat, 'The Green Chicken Lady,' Lecturer
Learn all about sustainable 'green' gardening in your own backyard with the pets that give back chickens! What could be more protective of the environment than avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides? Start going green for your 'greens.' Participants will learn basic care for chicks and chickens, how keeping chickens is integral to a 'green' garden, and when to expect first eggs.

Download Handout (PDF)

25. Plant Propagation Basics

Derron Dover, Rutgers OCPE Instructor, Lecturer
Ever want to grow more of that 'cool' plant in your garden, but can't find it anymore in your garden centers? Ever try to grow plants from seed with little to no success? Learn the DO's and DON'Ts of plant propagation in this fun and informative session.

Download Handout (PDF)

26. Garden Photography Meets your Smart Phone

Ken Karamichael, Senior Associate Director, RCE-Office of Continuing Professional Education
As cell phone cameras become more sophisticated, they are quickly overtaking point-and-shoot cameras as the most popular tool for taking pictures. A camera phone can produce truly compelling images! Learn interactive tips, apps and strategies to strengthen your garden photography skills.

Download Presentation (PDF)

Download Handout #1 (PDF)

Download Handout #2 (PDF)

Session 4: 2:30pm-4:00pm

27. Fresh Flower Arranging - Hands-On Workshop

Anthony Baradhi, Floral Designer, Flower Station - Somerset/Princeton, NJ
Learn how to decorate your home with fresh flowers. Basic techniques for flower arranging will be demonstrated. You will take home the beautiful arrangement that you make in class. Please bring floral clippers (and gloves if you prefer) to class with you. (Additional fee of $35 per person - 25 person limit)

Download Presentation (PDF)

28. Best Flowering Shrubs for your Garden

Bruce Crawford, Director, Rutgers Gardens
For most homeowners, a shrub consists of a relatively small palette of evergreens or spring flowering plants that leave little to the imagination. This workshop will provide a number of shrubs (for both sun and shade) that will provide spark and color for the garden not just in spring, but in summer, fall and winter, too!

Download Handout (PDF)

29. The Gardener's World of Bulbs

Judy Glattstein, Garden Consultant
Bulbs, those fantastic buried treasures with plain brown wrappers that conceal a rainbow of beautiful flowers. Everyone knows the tulips and daffodils of spring, but there are less familiar bulbs for year-round garden interest, and imaginative ways to combine bulbs with perennials and shrubs. It is important to know which bulbs thrive in which situation from sun to shade, spring through summer, and even fall. Buying bulbs, how to plant them and aftercare are all part of this in-depth look at the gardener's world of bulbs.

Download Handout (PDF)

30. Let's Wake Up the Lawn!

Joe Clark, Rutgers University, Research Farm Supervisor
Just like those of us who need our coffee and danish in the morning, turf also needs some assistance coming out of winter dormancy. We will cover what steps are needed to wake up a sleeping lawn after its long, winter nap.

Download Presentation (PDF)

31. Beekeeping Basics

Robert Hughes, Beekeeping Specialist, Past President, NJ Beekeepers Association
Welcome to the interesting world of bees and their benefits. Discussion will include life inside a colony, products that can be derived from an active hive, benefits to your garden, and plants that will attract them.

Download Handout (PDF)

32. Jersey Flies: What You Know That "Just Ain't So" About New Jersey Butterflies

Rick Mikula, Author, Environmental Educator, International Butterfly Consultant
There are many misconceptions about butterflies that are taken as 'carved in stone' truths. Let's unravel the many mysteries and myths of New Jersey's wonderful butterflies and learn how to entice them into your garden.

Download Presentation (PDF)

Download List of Suggested Butterfly Plantings (PDF)

Download List of Indigenous NJ Plants for Butterflies (PDF)

33. Growing, Harvesting and Preserving Your Herbs

Caren White, Master Gardener of Middlesex County, Herb Consultant The Rutgers Gardens
Learn how to plant and care for herbs in your garden or in containers. Discover when and how to harvest your herbs, as well as how to preserve and store your harvest.

Download Handout (PDF)

34. Conifers for the Garden

Walter Cullerton, Penn State Master Gardener
Conifers are the 12-month plant, available in a variety of shapes, colors and textures. While most require full sun, there are a few that tolerate some shade. They also come in a variety of sizes, namely miniature, dwarf, intermediate and large categorized by the rate of growth. Learn more about these architectural stalwarts.

Download Handout #1 (PDF)

Download Handout #2 (PDF)

35. Using the Internet to Answer Your Gardening Questions

Ken Karamichael, Senior Associate Director, RCE-Office of Continuing Professional Education
Facebook, YouTube and Twitter - oh my!! Learn creative ways to explore online resources to enhance your garden design and beauty. Expand your plant knowledge and acquire 'lightning fast' search skills during this "#" interactive session.

Download Presentation (PDF)

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Contact Us!

Senior Program Coordinator: Dalynn Knigge

Administrative Assistant:
Karen Tizzano


2017 brochure coming soon!


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