Home > Home Gardeners School @Home Edition > Prepare for a Blossoming Spring

Join Our Mailing List button

Home Gardeners School @Home Presents

Prepare for a Blossoming Spring


Course Code: AH0224WA21

Paver path walkway lined by tulips with flowering trees in the background

Bookmark and Share
Date & Time

PLEASE NOTE: All registrants will receive their virtual link to join the course on Friday, February 19. Workshop selections will made by selecting the Zoom breakout room of your choice during the event. You do not need to select workshops at the time of registration!

Last Held: February 20, 2021
8:30am - 12:30pm EST
Please join the online course at 8:15am EST (15 minutes before the start time).

View all upcoming Home Gardeners School @Home online events.


Student Reviews

"All of the instructors are knowledgeable and well prepared. It is great that you are able to ask your specific questions and get answers." - Testimonial from Maureen Curry, who has attended 10+ HGS @Home courses

Student Reviews

""I've really enjoyed the Rutgers HGS@Home series. It was a real gift to hear from the experts whose articles I've read in newspapers and magazines." - Testimonial from Sandra Johnson, who has attended 7 HGS @Home courses

Gardens add years to your life and life to your years. With a little education, increase the fruits of your loving labors. Whether you grow annuals, herbs, perennials, succulents, or vegetables, Rutgers Home Gardeners School @Home is an exciting way to learn about the most innovative gardening and landscaping subjects available from the comfort and safety of your own computer.

Designed to offer "something for everyone," our virtual Prepare for a Blossoming Spring event is made up of nine (9) workshops that will provide information on winter and spring garden preparations. Just like our annual in-person event, you will select the topics that are most relevant to your gardening interests to create your own customized schedule.

Session #1: 9:00am to 10:00am

  • Shade and Small Trees for NJ Gardens
  • The Pollinator Victory Garden
  • Designing and Planting an Herb Garden

Session #2: 10:15am - 11:15am

  • Early Spring Vegetable Gardening
  • Seedy Business: Plants that Do Best when Grown from Seed
  • Wildlife Gardens and Citizen Science; Let's Bring in the Birds

Session #3: 11:30am - 12:30pm

  • Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens
  • The Year-Long Gardener: Tips and Chores Throughout the Year
  • It Ain't Just Dirt: Soil Science Basics for Gardeners

Don't worry, there is no need to decide now. Day of, you can pick one workshop for each of the three time slots by selecting the Zoom breakout room of your choice. Plus, there is no concern for any topic filling up. For a greener thumb, register today!

Workshop Options and Schedule

Home Gardeners School @Home: Prepare for a Blossoming Spring Workshop Grid

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

Each attendee will choose one (1) of the workshops listed below to attend during session #1. Workshop selections will be made on the day of the event.

Session 1, Workshop #1: Shade Trees and Small Trees for NJ Gardens

Most people reduce their list of small trees to Dogwoods and shade trees to Maples without giving the topic any further thought. Fortunately, the palette of trees or even large shrubs that can be 'limbed-up' to serve as a tree is immense. Bruce will discuss the various plant options available within this palette that will extend your garden's season of interest well beyond spring, as well as some fun thoughts on how to design and incorporate these plants in your garden!

Bruce Crawford, Home Gardeners School @Home Workshop InstructorInstructor: Bruce Crawford, State Program Leader for Home and Public Horticulture, NJ Agricultural Experiment Station, Instructor, Rutgers University

A longtime proponent of unusual and fun plants, Bruce had his own design/build garden design business for nearly 25 years that specialized in plantings for year-round interest. One of those gardens was published in Fine Gardening Magazine! For 15 years, Bruce was the Director of Rutgers Gardens, the botanical garden for Rutgers University, and he is currently the State Program Leader for Home and Public Horticulture with the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station. He has also been an instructor in the Landscape Architecture program at Rutgers University since 1987. Bruce also lectures frequently to various groups and for continuing education programs.

Sesison 1, Workshop #2: The Pollinator Victory Garden

Many pollinator species have suffered serious declines in recent years. It's a serious problem for all of us since pollinators are responsible for the pollination of 80% of all flowering plants and at least 30% of the food that we eat. Unfortunately, most of our landscapes offer little in the way of appropriate habitat and forage for pollinators. With simple strategies, you can attract and support not just bees, but an array of pollinators that have different requirements. Learn how to create a Pollinator Victory Garden to help win the war on pollinator decline!

Kim Eierman, Home Gardeners School @Home Workshop InstructorInstructor: Kim Eierman, Founder, EcoBeneficial LLC, Environmental Horticulturist and Ecological Landscape Designer, Author, The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening

Kim Eierman is an environmental horticulturist and ecological landscape designer specializing in native plants. She is an active speaker nationwide on many ecological landscape topics, and she provides horticultural consulting and ecological landscape design services. In addition to being a Certified Horticulturist through the American Society for Horticultural Science, Kim is an Accredited Organic Landcare Professional, a Steering Committee member of The Native Plant Center, and a member of the Ecological Landscape Alliance and Garden Communicators International.

Session 1, Workshop #3: Designing and Planting an Herb Garden

Master Gardener Caren White will take you through the steps of designing and planting an herb garden that is unique to you. In this class, you will learn how to design an herb garden for optimal growth, the best place in your yard for it, how to amend your soil, fertilize your garden and then how to choose the right herbs for your garden whether you use them for cooking, teas, fragrance, crafting, or dyeing.

Caren White, Home Gardeners School @Home Workshop InstructorInstructor: Caren White, Master Gardener of Middlesex County, Herb Consultant, The Rutgers Gardens

Caren White is a Master Gardener and longtime volunteer at Rutgers Gardens, the arboretum and botanical garden of Rutgers University. She serves as the Garden Steward for the Herb Garden and is an active member of the Delaware Valley unit of the Herb Society of America. Affectionately known as "The Herb Lady," Caren is a regular instructor at Rutgers Gardens, the Rutgers Home Gardeners School, and the EARTH Center, which is the agricultural extension office for Middlesex County.

Session #2 - 10:15am - 11:15am

Each attendee will choose one (1) of the workshops listed below to attend during session #2. Workshop selections will be made on the day of the event.

Session 2, Workshop #4: Early Spring Vegetable Gardening

Jump start the season with an early spring vegetable garden! Topics include site selection and preparation, what to plant when, soil health and fertilization, cover cropping, companion planting, and how to protect your harvest. You'll be enjoying your own spring produce in early May.

Virginia Lamb, Home Gardeners School @Home workshop instructorInstructor: Virginia Lamb, Groundwork Education and Consulting

Virginia Lamb is an environmental educator with over 25 years of experience in recycling, composting, soil health, and organic gardening. She has a BA in Environmental Studies from Stockton University, and in 2019 received her MS in Soil Science from UMass Amherst. Virginia worked as recycling coordinator for many years for Galloway Township and Monmouth County, NJ and has been a freelance educator/consultant since 2000. Her clients include Rutgers University, Footprint Power, Honey Brook Organic Farm, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DeFeo Associates, and many municipal environmental groups and garden clubs throughout the region. Virginia is a member of the NJ Composting Council and lives with her family in Maplewood, NJ.

Session 2, Workshop #5: Seedy Business: Plants that Do Best when Grown from Seed

How many times have you thought, heard, or said, "I just don't do well with seeds….I prefer plants…"? WELL!!! It is time to rethink your stand on seeds, and this talk will inspire you to do just that. There are a number of situations where growing things from seed is not only advisable, it is preferable, much more fun, and much more rewarding. This is a beautifully illustrated slide show about the fruits and vegetables that do best when grown from seed and why that is the case.

Barbara Melera, Home Gardeners School @Home workshop instructorInstructor: Barbara Melera, President, Harvesting History

Barbara Melera is president of Harvesting History, a horticultural company founded in 2016 to provide its customers with the finest quality horticultural and agricultural products available today. For 13 years, Ms. Melera was president and CEO of The D. Landreth Seed Company, the oldest seedhouse in America. Ms. Melera has dedicated time as a community volunteer, holding the positions of trustee/director/officer of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Committee, the Maryland Science Center, the Baltimore Development Corporation, the University of Maryland Baltimore County Board of Advisors, and the Maryland Bioprocessing Center.

Session 2, Workshop #6: Wildlife Gardens and Citizen Science; Let's Bring in the Birds

Learn the basics for encouraging wildlife in your own backyard and contributing to scientific data right from your garden. Questions answered include, "What is a habitat?" and, "What makes a 'wildlife-friendly garden'?" We will explore the concept of citizen science and how the general public, even the novice gardener, can contribute to scientific research. This workshop will culminate with the opportunity to contribute to a citizen science project monitoring birds that visit our green spaces.

Dr. Neeti Bathala, Home Gardeners School @Home workshop instructorInstructor: Dr. Neeti Bathala, Faculty in Sustainability, Rosemont College

Dr. Bathala has over 15 years of experience in higher education, teaching Ecology and Environmental Sciences at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. An ecologist by training, Dr. Bathala’s research has brought her across the world. She has assisted in numerous conservation projects and continues to focus her efforts on increasing awareness of environmental issues and making science accessible and enjoyable to the public. Outside of her academic pursuits, Dr. Bathala is an avid gardener and a member of the Haddonfield Garden Club.

Session #3 - 11:30am - 12:30pm

Each attendee will choose one (1) of the workshops listed below to attend during session #3. Workshop selections will be made on the day of the event.

Session 3, Workshop #7: Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

This workshop will walk you through the pros and cons of raised bed gardens, some basic construction tips, and gardening techniques specific to raised beds.

Amy Cook, Home Gardeners School @Home workshop instructorInstructor: Amy Cook, Program Coordinator, Rutgers University, Owner, The Yard Farmer

Amy Cook is an experienced vegetable gardener, farmer, and agricultural educator with over 13 years of organic vegetable farming experience and over 20 years of organic gardening experience. One of her early experiences that instilled a love of growing food was when she served as an Agroforestry Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Madagascar. She currently cultivates vegetables, herbs, and berries at the Clinton Township Organic Community Garden in Hunterdon County and volunteers there with various activities for the Children's Gardening Program. Previously, Amy founded and operated a custom organic vegetable gardening company called The Yard Farmer.

Session 3, Workshop #8: The Year-Long Gardener: Tips and Chores Throughout the Year

This presentation offers a practical guide to gardening chores throughout the calendar year. Starting with the winter, Katie will elaborate, month-by-month, activities best tackled in the garden, including what to prune and when, digging and dividing perennials, and general garden maintenance.

Katie Bliss, Home Gardeners School @Home workshop instructorInstructor: Katie Bliss, Owner, Head Gardener, Bliss-Full Gardening Services

Katie Bliss is the owner and head gardener of Bliss-Full Gardening Services which provides garden design, plant installation, and maintenance services to clients throughout Essex and Union Counties, NJ. She and her crew manage gardens of all size, from pocket to estates. Her slide presentation is for gardeners of all levels gleaned from over 20 years in business (and far more in a garden). Katie has addressed GCA clubs throughout the tri-state area.

Session 3, Workshop #9: It Ain't Just Dirt: Soil Science Basics for Gardeners

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.

Dr. Karen Plumley, Home Gardeners School @Home Workshop InstructorInstructor: Dr. Karen Plumley, Instructor, Coordinator, Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

Dr. Karen Plumley has over 25 years of experience in the turfgrass industry and specializes in turfgrass disease and soil. With a bachelor's degree in botany, a master's degree in forest pathology, and a doctorate in turfgrass pathology, you might say she knows more than a thing or two about plants and the soil that sustains them. Dr. Plumley currently serves as Director of Leadership and Organizational Development for Rutgers Cooperative Extension and we are lucky to have her share her expertise with us.

Registration Fee TBD  
Master Gardeners Discount Fee TBD Discount only offered to Master Gardeners; must provide copy of certificate at time of registration.
Cancellation Fee TBD  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


No meals will be provided at this course.

Accessing this Online Course (It's Easier Than You Think)

This online course will be delivered via Zoom. New to online learning? No problem! Taking an online course is more user-friendly than ever.

Once you've registered, you will receive a link via email 24 hours before the start of the course. You will also receive directions on downloading Zoom, Zoom functions, and accessing breakout rooms to participate in workshop sessions. The day of the course, please log in to Zoom by 8:15am EST for announcements, directions on navigating to breakout rooms, and housekeeping details.

Please Note: All workshop selections will made by selecting the Zoom breakout room of your choice during the event. You do not need to select workshops at the time of registration!

Equipment You Will Need to Access This Training:

  • A computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • Microphone is not necessary (all students will be muted on entry; you can use the "chat function" to type your questions and interact with the instructor)
  • Webcam is optional but not necessary
  • Speaker is optional but not necessary (you will be able to listen to the presentation by dialing in on your phone if your computer does not have a speaker)

Program Coordinator Olga Welsh will be moderating the event and she will be able to assist participants, answer questions, and troubleshoot in case you experience any issues.


  • If this is your first time registering with us, please provide your own unique email address when registering; do not provide an email address that you share with anyone else who will be registering for this course.

  • If you have previously taken classes with us and have used an email address that you share with another person who will also be registering, you must update your account with a unique email address. Click the Register Online button below and sign into your account. On the left side toolbar, click My Account. On the drop-down menu, click Edit Profile/Password. Scroll down to the Email Address field (not the secondary email address field!) and enter your own, individual (not shared!) email address here. Click the Submit button at the bottom to save. If you need assistance updating your account, please email our Registration Department.

Note: Pre-registration with payment is required.

We're Here to Help!

Please feel free to reach out to Olga Welsh, program coordinator for this class, at any time with questions! We want to make this a fun, informative, and interactive experience for all participants and are eager to help you in any way we can.

Email: ow31@njaes.rutgers.edu


Please Note: All workshop selections will made by selecting the Zoom breakout room of your choice during the event. You do not need to select workshops at the time of registration!

Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified about future classes? 
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please choose "Home Gardeners School" as your area of interest.)
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu