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Botanical Illustration in Watercolor II- Online with On-site Component

Watercolor basics got you started; now develop your confidence as you work toward completing a finished plate from a live specimen in this most traditional of botanical media. The emphasis here is on bringing it all together. Learn and refine additional techniques through instruction, demonstration and practice, with special attention given to layering, shading and building form. Discover brush techniques and colors that enhance perspective and depth. Follow painting steps through completion, from broad washes to final detail. Learn how to fix mistakes and understand why watercolor is a forgiving medium.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Composition for Botanical Illustration, Perfecting Perspective.

Fee: Member $310, Non-Member $405

Date(s): Fri-Sat, Aug. 21-22, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

*All assignments are to be completed no later than Sep. 27, 2020*

Instructor: Constance Sayas


The Off-Site Learning Approach

Following the two-day concentrated classroom instruction, three internet sessions cover the remaining course elements. The successful completion of final artwork (a plate) one month (30 days) after the conclusion of the on-site session is the culmination of each of the distance learning courses.

 Students must use a scanner or digital camera to record their weekly achievements and email the high-resolution image to the instructor and the school manager. All student questions, as well as instructor answers, recommendations and suggestions are handled by email. The student must send a scan of the final plate to the instructor and the school manager in order to receive credit for the course.


Botany for Gardeners - ONLINE

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group I

This class provides an overview of basic plant biology, including structure, development, transpiration, photosynthesis and plant chemistry.

Students will gain essential knowledge for acquiring high-level pruning skills, for designing gardens based on specific plant requirements of the Rocky Mountain region, and for understanding interactions between plants and their microenvironments.

Required Text- Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon, found online or in most book stores.

This session will be streamed live online through Vimeo. Details on how to join the class will be emailed the day before the program.


Price: $255, $213 member

Instructor: Sheridan Samano


Botany for the Botanical Illustrator

What is the difference between a carpel and a pistil? Where can I find the stamen? The science of the subjects you draw determines what you see! Put away your pencils for this enlightening lab class designed specifically for students of botanical illustration. Take a close look at plant anatomy and learn to recognize botanical details that will make your drawings more accurate and realistic. Learn plant morphology through detailed instruction and supporting visuals. Your botanical art will improve when you understand the subjects.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $315 member, $370 non-member (18 hours).


Wed, Feb. 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18, 25, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski


Fri-Sun, March 6-8, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski


Tue, Sep. 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Jennifer Ackerfield


Cherokee Winter Nature Tour - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away.


Whoever says winter is the “dormant” season? Wise naturalists know that nature does not sleep, you can now SEE those birds flitting in the bare branches. Buds are set on everything, and there is much more than just bark, branches and berries to liven a walk. You can see two species of Chickadees and Nuthatches that never stop in their search for food and there are a few last lingering hints of flowers. You will be surprised at how many evergreens there really are; not just pines and junipers and Oregon Grape, but many of our native shrubs and forbs keep living foliage and rosettes through the winter: they are still hard at work chlorophyll pumping! You might also be surprised to know that some Dark-eyed Juncos fly all the way from the Pacific Northwest and even Canada to winter at Cherokee. Other winter species include Flicker, Woodpeckers and a resident Red-tailed Hawk. What better time and place than Cherokee Ranch in the bright, winter light. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored outside at Cherokee! This adventure is a walking tour, allowing time to observe and learn about the plants and birds found in this environment.

Price: $25, $20 member

* Plants do not really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors –i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants.

* Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure.

Children over10 years of age are permitted in this program.

Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike.

Tour location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135







Color Layering for Colored Pencil - ONLINE

Colored pencil presents a special challenge: mixing color directly on your drawing! Learn to use a simple color-mixing method adapted to the application of colored pencils. Two-, three- and four-color mixing will get you to the gorgeous greens, radiant reds and luscious lilacs you have been missing. Learn to determine shadow colors for vibrant results. Practice color matching with a variety of plant material as you create your own extensive color workbook to speed color selection and application for all future colored pencil drawings. ONLINE Zoom-session

No prerequisites.

Fee: $370 member, $420 non-member. Fee includes supplies (specified in the supply list).


Fri-Sun, Jan. 24-26, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi


Fri-Sun, July 24-26, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi


Fri-Sun, Sep. 25-27, 9 a.m.  2:30 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi



Color Mixing

The first step to watercolor painting is mixing colors. Learn a system for combining colors consistently to eliminate frustrating trial and error. Exercises, demonstrations and discussion will show you how to achieve the broadest possible spectrum. Learn about paint properties and important information about choosing pigments. Practice mixing colors to match a variety of plant material. You’ll gain confidence and skills to improve your color work.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.


Tue, Feb. 18, 25, March 3, 17, 24, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas


Tue, Oct. 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas


Colorado Cactus and Succulent Sale and Show

Volunteers from the CCSS and the RMC-NARGS will stage a sale with 10-12 vendors of indoor/outdoor cacti/succulents and specialty rock garden perennials. The sale is at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms in Littleton on Friday, Aug. 14 (9 a.m.   5 p.m.) and Saturday, Aug. 15 (9 a.m.   3 p.m.). Limited tickets for timed entry require pre-purchase or pre-registration (for Gardens members). Masks and social distancing are required and will be enforced. Included with Admissions


Colorado Ecosystems - ONLINE

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group II

Study the native ecosystems of Colorado that range from plains grasslands to the alpine tundra, mountain meadows to sub-alpine forests. Learn to gauge your elevation and location by looking at the plant communities around you and explore the complex relationships between the plants and wildlife of Colorado.

This session will be streamed live online through Vimeo. Details on how to join the class will be emailed the day before the program.


Price: $88, $78 member

Instructor: Sheridan Samano



Composition for Botanical Illustration - ONLINE

The arrangement of line, shape and color in artwork is itself an art form. The difference between a pleasant picture and amazing artwork is often found in composition. This course begins with a study of recognized masters and contemporary illustrators. Learn how to use compositional elements and principles in your botanical illustration. Create your own thumbnail compositions and develop insight and expertise to enhance your future illustrations.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.


Friday-Sunday, September 25, 26, 27 - ONLINE


Conifers for Colorado Landscapes & Gardens - ONLINE

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group II

Discover the beautiful and easy-care world of conifers in this three-hour online session. We will cover a wide range of species and varieties suitable to our Colorado conditions and climate, including their selection, planting and care. There will be opportunities for questions throughout, and at the end we will tie it all together with a short, interactive review. Our goal is to give each student a new appreciation for the diversity this group of plants can offer to our local gardens and landscapes.


Price: $48, $45 member

Instructor: Pat Hayward has spent 40 years in the Colorado horticulture industry, serving on boards of the Colorado Tree Coalition and the Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association, and was a two-time winner of the CNGA “Person of the Year.” Most recently she was director of Plant Select, a nonprofit organization working with Colorado State University and Denver Botanic Gardens to trial adaptable and beautiful plants for our high plains and mountain gardening conditions. She has taught the “Conifers for Colorado Gardens and Landscapes” class at the Gardens for 21 years, and lives and gardens in Masonville.

Skill level: A Rocky Mountain Gardening Certificate Group II required course, this program is also intended for landscape designers and nursery professionals.

Container Gardens Tour

Do you need fresh ideas for your pots and containers? Here at the Gardens, we have outdoor containers year-round that go beyond the expected with novel texture and color combinations. Explore the variety of fun and unexpected container gardens at the Gardens with a docent-led tour to learn how to create your own edible, fragrant or pollinator-attracting containers.


Price: $16, $12 member, $10 student


Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Masks are required.


Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation. For safety reasons, tours are currently limited to five participants.

Creating a Hobby Greenhouse

Come learn how to take your master outdoor gardening skills to the next level and extend your growing season and increase your green thumb skills. Is the next step in your horticulture experience maintaining a greenhouse? Before building or buying a greenhouse, learn the benefits and the liabilities of owning a greenhouse.

This program covers common questions and ideas surrounding the addition of a season extension structure, such as a greenhouse, to your property. During this session, the location, costs, logistics and practicality of each structure and device will be covered. The course is designed to allow the participant to explore their options with the use of a greenhouse or other season extending structures.


Price: $31, $26 members


Special Instructions: Please bring paper and pen to write down notes. No experience with greenhouses is needed.


Instructor: Thaddeus Gourd attended New Mexico State University where he graduated with a B.S. degree in Pest Management and Horticulture. He earned a Master’s 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 horticulture, gardening, weed science, entomology, plant pathology and greenhouse management and has been involved in the practice of Integrated Pest Management for over 30 years.

Derby Days - Floral Hat Design - ONLINE

Design your very own floral hat, the perfect topper for your Derby ensemble.The date may have changed, but the show must go on! Learn to attach floral ribbon, special mementos and silk flowers to keep your hat looking flawless well beyond race day.


This session will be streamed live online through Vimeo. Details on how to join the class will be emailed the day before the program.

A full material list is provided below, and will be sent to participants again, prior to the program. This way, you can follow along from the safety of your home!


Price: $45, $40 member

Instructors: Lisa Weddel and Laura Tonner



  • 1 hat, of your choosing - many inexpensive options are available from online retails
  • Large silk flower bloom (at least one)
  • Approximately 3-9 additional smaller silk blooms
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue (or a similar adhesive)

Optional: feathers, baubles, sparkly picks, etc.


Lisa Weddel AIFD PFCI has been in the floral industry for over 30 years.  She has been active in all areas of the industry from designer, teacher to owner of several businesses. Lisa has a floriculture degree, is an Iowa Master florist, as well as being an accredited member of the American Institute of Floral Designers organization where she currently holds the position of President of the South-Central Chapter.  In addition, Lisa has served on the Board of Trustees of the Professional Floral Communicators International as Chairman.This is an organization under the umbrella of the Society of American Florists.

Past floral accomplishments include designing at the prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA for over 16 parades as a designer as well as a team leader.  She designed on the floral team for President George W. Bush's 2005 Presidential Inauguration, designed at the 2019 Kentucky Derby and has the same honor this coming May.


Laura Tonner has enjoyed working in the floral industry for five years. Her favorite part has been designing for weddings and events, but she has done just about everything in the floral industry. She has experience in retail, deliveries and the day-to-day operations of a small flower shop. All of this has led to her latest endeavor as the co-owner of Designs Inspired by You, the first of its kind floral experience studio.

Laura has a floral certificate from a local design school, won an academic scholarship from FAR (Floral Association of the Rockies) and has attended the Rose Parade as a designer for two years.

Early Morning Sunday Strolls

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of the high plains shortgrass prairie through a guided nature hike. Experience the prairie in the soft morning light while catching some breathtaking views of the Colorado front range and the chance to view resident wildlife.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Price: $5

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Phone 303-326-8380


Ecology for Gardeners - ONLINE

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.

This session will be streamed live online through Vimeo. Details on how to join the class will be emailed the day before the program.


Price: $91, $81 member


Instructor: Sheridan Samano


Embossed Botanicals

Embossing is an art form used to raise a shape from the surface of paper. The embossed shape casts a delicate shadow and, when combined with color, creates an elegant effect. We provide decorative letter and flower patterns, and you learn how to design, cut a stencil and choose the best paper surfaces for embossed subjects. Finish your project with ink or colored pencil accents and leave the class with an elegantly embossed design.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $$290 member, $$340 non-member.


Wed, April 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen


Evenings al Fresco

Awash in the golden light of the evening, this collaborative series enhances the beauty of the Gardens with musicians, dancers and other performing artists from the SCFD community. Unlike a traditional concert setting, visitors strolling through the Gardens encounter small, socially distanced ensembles performing works designed to underscore and bring delight to their evening visit.


Denver Botanic Gardens is proud to partner with the following SCFD organizations to produce this series. Ticket sales from each evening will equally support the Gardens and the partner organization that is showcasing their work.


July 16 – Colorado Symphony

July 23 – Colorado Symphony

August 13 – Swallow Hill Music

August 27 – Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

September 10 – Swallow Hill Music


Free for children 2 and under (no ticket required)

Explore the Galleries and Living Collections (Charcoal)

Drawing at a large scale can be daunting, but with charcoal it is surprisingly quick! Charcoal is easier to control than most media, and in this class you will get your hands dirty while we complete four large, loose drawings. Modeled after a classic figure drawing class, we will work at standing easels (perhaps working up to 22” x 30”) and focus on single central subjects in the newly opened Freyer-Newman Center galleries. Afterward, we will go outside and concentrate on the Gardens’ conifers.

Note: We will be standing for the entirety of each three-hour class (no drawing horses are available for seated drawing).

No prerequisites.

Fee: $275 member, $325 non-member.


Wed, Sep. 9, 16, 23, 30, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Meredith Feniak


Fantastic Fungi Film

81 mins | Rated Not Rated | Documentary
Directed by Louie Schwartzberg
Starring Paul Stamets, Tony D. Head, Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and Dennis J. McKenna,

Fantastic Fungi  is a descriptive time-lapse journey about the magical, mysterious and medicinal world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth that began 3.5 billion years ago.

Narrated by Academy Award-Winner Brie Larson,  Fantastic Fungi  takes us on an immersive journey into the magical earth beneath our feet: an underground network with the potential to heal and save our planet. Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic and environmental challenges.


Flavor in Full Bloom - Cooking with Edible Flowers - ONLINE

Join Monica Michelle Manley, the Founder of Sweet Fleur, and learn how to add edible flowers to your culinary creations! Sweet Fleur is the only vegan dessert company where flavor is always in full bloom and each creation is made with the delicious and curative supporting power of flowers. Because Sweet Fleur is on a mission to help educate people on edible flowers and their many benefits, we have decided to create a short course on how you can bring a bit of flower power to your kitchen. Now, you too learn about the different types of edible flowers, their flavor profiles, health benefits, and how to incorporate them into unique and beautiful plant-based dishes that will wow your guests.


Price: $45, $40 member

Instructor: Monica Manley


**Special Notes**

This program will be held entirely online. Details on how to join the class will be emailed the day before the program.

Cost of the program includes a kit with necessary supplies, available for pick-up at Denver Botanic Gardens York Street. Details for the pick-up will be sent to participants at least one week prior to the program.


**Registration will close on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.**


Monica Michelle Manley is a business leader, and the Founder of Sweet Fleur, an upscale vegan floral confectionery located in Denver, Colorado. With a degree in Business and Communications from Johnson and Wales University, Monica Michelle has made it her mission to create a business that combines her love of food and flowers with her passion for conservation and plant-based living. She hopes to bring more value and education around the many health benefits and creative uses of edible flowers, to people across the United States.

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