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Rocky Mountain Gardening



Cancellation Policy: Cancellations more than one week prior to a class are subject to a 15% cancellation fee. Cancellations with less than one weeks notice are non-refundable; please consider your payment a donation to the Gardens.


3-1/2 Season Vegetable Garden: Extending the Garden Season in Colorado

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

This class will help you to develop your skills in succession planting and extending the growing season to get 11-12 months from your vegetable garden. Learn the importance of plant family names and how to group them successfully and rotate them, cool and warm season crops and when and if you can replant for another season of certain crops. We will also cover techniques and materials to extend the season successfully so you can plant early in spring and keep certain crops going until late fall and into winter.


Members $39, Non-Members $44


Instructor: Patti O'Neal



Beginning Rocky Mountain Gardening


Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

This course is designed for the Front Range gardener beginner. The basics of what is needed to adjust gardening skills from other climates to the Front Range’s finicky climate are covered. If you have never gardened here before or are looking for more success, this is the class for you! Learn the skills necessary to become an enthusiastic gardener. Annuals, perennials and vegetables are discussed, along with trees and shrubs that thrive in our climate, elevation and varying soils. Plant selection, planting and troubleshooting is discussed.

Subsequent weeks focus on the elements, water needs, fertilizers and organic gardening.

Please bring a glass jar of soil to class. (Must be see through glass jar to study layers of your own backyard native soil)



$80 member, $90 non-member.


Instructor: Patti O'Neal


Best Fall Planted Bulbs for Perennializing

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective


Want more than one year of spring bloom from your fall-planted bulbs? Come learn about the best bulbs and varieties for year after year of bloom in our area. Whether for perennial beds or naturalized landscapes, you will learn planting and cultural tips for maintaining long life. Discussion includes how best to use bulbs and design considerations with other plants and elements in the landscape.


Sign up now to discover the best cultivars of tulips and other bulbs that perennialize on the Front Range before purchasing bulbs to plant this fall. Taught by Carl Wilson, Denver horticulturist, speaker and retired CSU Extension Agent.


$26 member, $31 non-member


Instructor: Carl Wilson

Building my First Vegetable/ Kitchen Garden

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective


**This is a 2 part class with two 5 hour sessions.

This intensive workshop is designed for the first time vegetable gardener. Learn how to feed a family of four from one, 4’ x 6’ raised bed. Discuss succession planting, harvesting, season extension (early and late), tools, vertical space gardening using trellises, soil prep, space optimization, French kitchen garden design and more. Develop a customized design based on your garden situation and your family's needs. Learn how to build a raised bed and how to keep the soil thriving for future seasons. Instructor, Patti xxx, focuses on small gardens and containers, but this workshop also provides invaluable ideas and resources for improving year-round production in a garden of any size.

Participants have the opportunity to draw and plan beds with an intensive planting plan and start some seeds for the home garden. Handouts are provided for future reference.

As this class is five hours per session, please bring a sack lunch and snacks. Offshoots Café will be open to purchase food.



$145 member, $157 non-member.


Instructor: Patti O'Neal


Companion Planting

Have you heard of the Three Sisters of the garden? According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters that only thrive when planted together. Companion planting has occurred throughout the history of the earth. Nature knows how to grow by bringing complementary plants together and keeping antagonists apart. You can do the same in your garden and greatly increase the health and well-being of your plants as well as the yield. Roses love garlic and tomatoes love basil and there is usually more than one reason why. Come and learn the science and the lore and make companion planting a natural part of your garden. If you are a vegetable gardener, companion planting can help keep the food fully organic. Crop rotation and soil building, a vital part of companion planting, are also covered. From ancient techniques to recent experiments and 17 years of personal experience growing food, herbs and flowers together, Penn and Cord Parmenter discuss a range of beautiful, diverse and stunning combinations. Don't miss this one - it's never too late to plant companions!



Penn and Cord Parmenter.

Penn and Cord Parmenter are high altitude food growers. They live in the Wet Mountains in South Central Colorado and they apply a multitude of techniques to overcome the challenges of the high country. Their totally sustainable greenhouse provides food year round for them and their three boys.


Conifers for Colorado Gardens

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group II

Dwarf and unusual conifers add year-round garden beauty, yet require little attention once established. How do you choose from the fantastic array now offered at local nurseries? This class introduces you to a world of exciting options and reveals the secrets to conifer success in our local climate. From native species to exotic cultivars, we'll discuss practical, cultural and design considerations.

This Saturday class will include classroom time followed by a walking tour with a hands-on introduction to the Gardens’ conifer collections. Please come dressed for the weather. There will be a 30-minute break; please bring a bag lunch.


$95 member, $105 non-member.


Instructor: Pat Hayward


Converting Lawn to Xeriscape

Do you want to beautify your landscape and save water at the same time?


We will address some design ideas and go into detail about how to replace some of your Kentucky bluegrass lawn with Water-Smart perennial and ornamental grasses. We’ll get into soil types and irrigation adjustments requirements as well.


$20 member, $24 non-member


Instructor: Curtis Manning


Photo: Winger Photography

Ecology for Gardeners

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group I

Ecology is the study of interactions in nature. It seeks to understand the relationship between organisms to their environment and to each other. Successful gardening involves understanding and applying these principles. Basic principles of ecology will be explored in relationship to conditions in the Rocky Mountain region. Current environmental issues of the region will also be considered.


$81 member, $91 non-member.


Instructor: Sheridan Samano


Follow-on Vegetable Gardening


Do you plant start-of-season vegetables only to end up with vacant ground later in summer and fall? The late summer and fall/winter seasons can be productive for vegetable gardeners in-the-know for planting follow-on crops and for improving garden and soil health. This class will show you the possibilities including cut-and-come-again crops, quick maturing varieties, season extension, winter and cover crops, garden health improvement tips and more. Come learn what to plant in mid-summer and how to manage a Front Range vegetable garden through fall and winter. Presented by Carl Wilson.

Instructor: Carl Wilson

$26 member, $31 non-member


Image: Courtesy of interchangeableparts (Flickr)

Going Organic


It’s more than a trend. It’s the way our grandparents and the generations before them ate before the standards changed with the advent of “big ag.” So, how do we go back to healthy soil and clean food? This class will look at the best way to choose seed, prepare and care for our soil, develop a “less than waxed perfect” aesthetic for our plants and their product, develop a tolerance for a certain amount of insect pressure. We will look at the proper way to use organics as pesticides and insecticides and the efficacy of home remedies. We will look at the best place to start and a long range plan to switch over to the healthiest garden and the healthiest treatment for our little spot of earth.


$36 member, $32 member

Instructor: Patty O'neal


Hardy Bulbs for Colorado - Long Term Plants for Sustainable Gardens

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

Hardy bulbs effortlessly transform our gardens with their lively seasonal exuberance. Many of these low-input, high-return, ecologically attuned plants are ideal for the rigors of the Front Range’s climate. From the earliest winter and spring bloomers to the last autumn-flowering treasures, these no-fuss plants offer dependable beauty and color, year after year. Lauren will discuss the best performers and show ways to integrate them artistically into the garden. With this information you will be able to order a bevy of bulbs this spring for planting a bulb bonanza in the fall.

Visit Lauren's website at www.plantdrivendesign.com to see why her landscape designs and gardening books have earned her nationwide acclaim.

Lauren Springer-Ogden, nationally renowned designer and author of The Undaunted Garden and Passionate Gardening, designed the Romantic Garden and the Water-Smart Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens.


$54 member, $60 non-member.


Instructor: Lauren Springer Ogden


Image: courtesy of timwatson (flickr)

Home Fruit Trees for the Front Range

Fruit trees can be attractive landscape trees as well as producing delicious fruit for eating fresh, canned or frozen. Come find out the types of fruit trees that do well in our climate, what varieties are recommended, and how to plant, prune and manage for best results.


$28 member, $33 non member



Carl Wilson, Denver horticulturist, speaker and retired CSU Extension Agent.



How to Plant a Tree: Tree and Shrub Selection and Planting


Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

Trees and shrubs are one of the greatest property investments and can greatly increase a home’s value. Trees are also expensive, so learn how to determine what species is best for your yard, where and when to plant it plant and how to care for it. Evergreens, deciduous trees and shrubs have varying preferred planting times and care strategies.

This class also shares tips on what to look for when you go to the nursery, how to dig a proper hole to insure the best root spread in the appropriate amount of time and when and how to prune. Also learn how to properly care for your tree to avoid transplant shock or winter desiccation injury. This class can make homeowners more confident when choosing or planting trees and shrubs or when supervising contractors.



$39 member, $44 non-member


Instructor: Patti O'Neal


In the Field - Plant Conservation and Monitoring




Keys to Home Vegetable Gardening

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

Learn the keys to successful vegetable growing on the Front Range including tips and tricks to make your gardening life easier.

Colorado’s climate realities include a short growing season, dry air and spotty rainfall, hot summer days and cool summer nights, erratic late spring and early fall frosts. Soil conditions add another gardening challenge. The guiding hand of you, the grower, makes all the difference in modifying growing conditions to achieve results. Come learn when and how to make changes to produce the vegetables you want for fresh eating and preserving.


$28 member, $33 non-member


Instructor: Carl Wilson, Denver horticulturist, speaker and retired CSU Extension Agent.



Never-Fail Perennials

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group II

Learn to choose and plant a wide variety of easy-to-grow plants for years of low-maintenance enjoyment.

Shalene will demonstrate how to plan your perennial garden for a continuous succession of bloom. The final class will be a walk in the Gardens to view examples of perennials discussed in class, as well as a time for additional questions and discussion.


$122 member, $145 non-member.


Instructor: Shalene Hiller






Passive Solar Greenhouse Growing

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

Penn and Cord Parmenter have been growing food in their passive solar sustainable greenhouse for 12 years. Their expertise is shared in this class to help take some of the mystery out of something that should be easy and yet can seem so hard. Matching appropriate plants to the microclimates within the greenhouse is crucial. Often the plants are the best teachers in the greenhouse and together participants learn how to work within the unique greenhouse eco-system.

Favorite foods, herbs and flowers are discussed as well as forcing plants for seed production, over wintering potted plants and succession planting for a year round harvest.

The Parmenters share tips for keeping the greenhouse organically under control from bugs and disease. Preventative methods and what to do when an outbreak strikes are discussed.

Penn and Cord lead busy lives with three kids and a business and yet they manage to grow food year round in their greenhouses. When life gets in the way and you’re thinking of turning your greenhouse into a shed, don’t despair because there are answers for successful greenhouse growing.


$26 member, $31 non-member


Instructors: Penn and Cord Parmenter



See also "Sustainable Greenhouse Design" - offered on the same weekend!



Principles of Pruning

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group I

Pruning practices have evolved with advances in science, technology and tools. Improper trimming and cutting can damage your trees and shrubs, and make them more susceptible to damage from our unpredictable fall and spring snows. Enhance the beauty and strength of your trees by learning when, why and how to prune. You will be introduced to the theory of pruning and the tools you need.

There will be a 1-hour break for lunch. The last hour and a half of the class will feature a hands-on demonstration of proper pruning practices.  

Dress for an outdoor class. Bring water, a bag lunch and sunscreen.


$95 member, $105 non-member.


Instructor: Tim Buchanan


Putting Your Rose Garden to Bed


Just about everyone grows a rose bush or two.Congress designated the rose as America s national floral emblem in 1986.The popularity of growing roses began thousands of years ago and continues today.The rose growing series offered by American Rose Society Consulting Rosarians and experts from the Denver Rose Society will cover how to grow healthy, easy care beautiful roses for years to come. The series covers secrets to successful rose growing, no pain pruning, versatile shrub roses, fragrant roses, and winter care. Choose one class or take them all and come away with confident rose growing skills and greater appreciation for the  Queen of Flowers. 



Putting your Rose Garden to Bed

Preparing your roses for winter is the key to growing those fabulous flowers in the spring. Learn why fall and winter care keeps your roses healthy from year to year and how to prepare new rose beds for spring planting. Get tips on early transplanting or rearranging the rose bed. A recommended list of roses that do well along the Front Range and higher altitudes will be included to take home.



$27 member, $32 non-member.


Instructor: Peggy Williams




Rocky Mountain Horticulture II

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group I

Rocky Mountain Horticulture II is an introduction to general information on plant management. Each of these three classes will present an overview by an expert from the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Service. Topics include the identification and control of lawn and garden weeds, diseases and insects, and integrated pest management.


Thaddeus Gourd attended New Mexico State University where he graduated with a B.S. degree in Pest Management and Horticulture. He earned a Master³ Degree with thesis study in Entomology at New Mexico State University and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology with emphasis on plant parasitic nematodes at North Carolina State University. Thaddeus has worked over 19 years in the private sector of the plant science business and since 2000, has worked at Colorado State University Extension as an Agriculture Agent and Director for Adams County. He has extensive experience of gardening and greenhouse management and has been involved in the practice of Integrated Pest Management for over 30 years.

Instructor name: Thaddeus Gourd, Ph.D.



$135 member, $161 non-member.




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