Typically ornamental plants are grouped for aesthetic effect with little regard for plant compatibility or - for that matter - suitability for their growing environments in geographical areas far removed from their origin. Plants are a product of their native environment, having adapted to specific soil, water and climate conditions. These are complex relationships, and to create thriving landscapes we need to have a good understanding of the growing conditions in the plants' native range.
The plant identification component of this course emphasizes ornamental landscape plants including annuals, perennials, shrubs, deciduous and evergreen trees, which are commonly used in the ornamental landscape of the temperate and cooler northern hemisphere. Weed identification and arboriculture practices such as pruning: what, when and how, will also be covered as it relates to the different plant types.
Self-guided field trips and research enrich and personalize the experience.
Here are some of the topics you will explore:
I wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience over the course of this journey into plant science and how important it is to maintain or help restore the delicate balance necessary for the environment we depend on to survive. I've become addicted to learning more. On a personal note, since September when the Ornamentals course started I have experienced a series of unfortunate and even bizarre events. Through it all however, your course work was my comfort and confirmation of a much bigger world out there.
By Mail: Cheque drawn on a Canadian bank; Money order in Canadian funds
On-line: Visa, Mastercard
Ecological Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives (Online) is a pre-requisite for this course.
Additionally, students must
There are no formal exams in this course, as the emphasis is on developing practical skills and the ability to synthesize information.
To receive a Certificate of Completion students must contribute to all on-line discussions and satisfactorily complete all assignments and quizzes.
Recommended (the definitive Plant Catalogue) – maybe also available in local libraries:
This program is eligible for Continuing Education Credits (CECs) with the following:
Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA)
Also applies to B.C. Landscape & Nursery Association and Landscape Ontario
National Association of Landcare Professionals (NALP) – American
International Society of Arboriculture: Certified Arborist
International Society of Arboriculture: Board Certified Management Arborist
10 Credits (Practice)
International Society of Arboriculture: Municipal Specialist
International Society of Arboriculture: Tree Worker/Aerial Lift
B.C. Society of Landscape Architects
As per Society guidelines - eligibility of this program has been confirmed
Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc. (MGOI)
Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
Pre-approved: 6 Credits
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Canada
Pre-approved: 3.02 Credits
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
Pre-approved: 4 Credits
This course partially satisfies the requirements of:
Studying on-line is very different from learning in a face-to-face classroom setting. It may be more convenient – or for some it may be the only way they can take our courses - but it is definitely not easier.
The University of Illinois has provided some excellent pre-assessment information for potential on-line students. Please complete the online Self Evaluation:
And please read the article entitled 'What Makes A Successful Online Student?'
If you have any doubts about your ability to dedicate 6-10 hours per week to this course then it is probably not for you. Those who are able to commit themselves to this experience rest assured that our instructors are not only experts in organic horticulture, but are also experienced on-line facilitators. We will do our absolute best to ensure you have an interesting and fulfilling learning experience.
The question may arise why we are offering this course over a specific time frame, rather than letting each student study at their own speed. Our experience is that without firm deadlines most students do not finish the longer online courses - and we really want you to succeed!
So, for optimum student success, this course is being offered in an interactive online classroom format. The “virtual classroom” includes group interaction in structured activities such as discussions, experiments, and demonstrations, yet still maintains flexibility for the individual.
Our vast learning resources and networking facilities are always available to students, even after completion of the course. So if for some reason you are not able to complete the course on time you will still retain access to the information to review it at your own pace. However, to earn the Certificate of Completion all course work must be completed by the end of the course term.
That is indeed a challenge, but frankly, allowing "enough" hands-on experience is always difficult even in a classroom course. So the hands-on portion of the course has been incorporated into the assignments, where students get to put their newly acquired knowledge to practice. This is even more fun if you can get a friend to take the course with you!
Depending on the course, some of these activities may require access to soil and composting materials. Students living in climates where the ground may be covered in 2 feet of snow for the duration of the course have the option to choose an alternative assignment, or take the course at another time of the year.
You can find some Frequently Asked Questions about preparing for online courses here.
Read our Preparing for Your Online Course page to find some Frequently Asked Questions.