We who tend the land and garden are not to be underestimated. We collectively have the power and ability to nourish the body and soul; create beauty around us; heal an environmental wound; create school, memorial, dedication, guerrilla, teaching and public gardens, to name a few; return an area back to it's natural state, add value to properties; delight children and adults alike; create habitats for many living creatures; create retreats and places of meditation as well as playgrounds and community parks; address erosion and water problems and help to ward off famine. Gardening, like music, is one of the few common languages throughout the world and helps to unite us all. Margo 

Plant Knowledge for Organic Gardeners

Locations, Schedules and Registration



Organic gardeners focus on the creation of plant and landscape health.

Plant health starts with the right growing conditions. Most of the plants used in our ornamental gardens did not evolve in our climate – are we able to provide them with the soil, water and climate conditions they need to flourish? What about companion plants?

Over the course of several months you will learn to identify approximately 300 plants. For each plant you will explore its ecosystem of origin, and under which conditions it thrives best, or just marginally survives.  You will learn how it adapts to our environment, and how you can provide it with optimal care. Finally you will learn about its non-ornamental uses, such as food, medicine, fiber, etc.

Over three seasons (March - September), plants are viewed in garden settings, focusing on ecologically sound and successful plant combinations.

You will also learn about plant physiology, world biomes and native ecosystems, weeds and invasive plants, gardening with native plants and much more.

This course is open to all who wish to learn more about plants. No prior knowledge or experience required.

Landscape professionals earn generous pre-approved Continuing Education Credits to maintain industry certifications (ISA, CNLA, BCSLA, SOUL).

To receive a Certificate of Completion students must attend at least 90% of all classes and satisfactorily complete all quizzes and assignments.

This program partially satisfies the requirements of the Diploma in Organic Land Care

 Download a Brochure


Student Comment

I learned a lot during this assignment. I’m new to the world of plants and I’m so overwhelmed and humbled by what I don’t know. I feel like there’s a whole world out there I have yet to discover, which is exciting! I’ve learned plants are not ornaments! This has been a huge wake up for me. Plants are members of fascinating interdependent communities that we ‘play god’ with when trying to design ornamental landscapes. Therefore, it is so obvious to me now, which it wasn’t before, that to have success in building ornamental landscapes one needs an understanding of the physiology and culture of the plants; one needs to understand where the plants come , and their environmental needs.. Again I have so much to learn. I think designing an ornamental landscape is about creating a context for the chosen plants to live up to their potential, while also meeting the needs of a variety of players, which includes the stewards of the garden, birds, insects, animals, other plants and wider ecosystems. Julie R., Victoria

Fees: $ 695.00

Fees include:

  • Printed and (primarily) on-line handouts 
  • Unlimited access to our on-line plant database
  • Unlimited access to our on-line course resources, community center, including resource library, discussion forums and much more.

There will be additional expenses for entry fees to public gardens.  Students are responsible for their own transportation on field trips – carpooling is encouraged.

Payment Options

By Mail On-line
Cheque drawn on a Canadian bank
Money order in Canadian funds

At this time, there are no prerequisites for this course.

To receive a Certificate of Completion students must attend at least 90% of all classes and satisfactorily complete all quizzes and assignments.

There are no required texts. Handouts will be provided on-line at the course website. In addition, students will have unlimited access to our on-line resource library and plant database.

Computer access and an e-mail account are essential. All class communication are via the class discussion forum.

This is a paperless course.

Attendance at this program earns you the following Continuing Education Credits (CECs):

  • International Society of Arboriculture: Certified Arborist
    14 Credits

  • International Society of Arboriculture: Board Certified Management Arborist
    14 Credits (Practice)

  • B.C. Society of Landscape Architects
    As per Society guidelines

  • SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional
    Full required credits for 3-year certification renewal

  • Canadian Horticultural Technician
    Full required credits for yearly certification renewal