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:
- World biomes
- Plant nomenclature
- Factors in successful plant groupings
- Weed identification
- Plant maintenance including specialty pruning
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.
Please download the course outline here: Ecological Plant Knowledge 2 – Ornamentals Course Outline.
Students can expect to dedicate 6-10 hours per week to successfully complete this course.
As well, our courses are offered in the continuing education realm and are designed so students can complete them according to their own schedule. The work is divided up into 14 weekly topics and students are expected to complete their assigned work and quizzes by the given deadlines.
Our courses do not use online meetings, so we are not using Google Meet, Zoom or other online meeting applications.
If you have any questions about studying online with Gaia College please see our FAQs page
- 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.
By Mail: Cheque drawn on a Canadian bank; Money order in Canadian funds
On-line: Visa, Mastercard
Please be sure you are familiar with our policies.
Ecological Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives (Online) is a pre-requisite for this course.
Additionally, students must
- be proficient in English (written)
- be comfortable with current computer and internet technology, including spreadsheets and word processing programs
- have an email account capable of receiving a large number of messages for the duration of the course
- have access to high-speed internet
- have access to a computer capable of running a current version of FireFox or Chrome. Tablets and phones are not supported at this time.
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:
- The Botanical Garden Volume I Trees and Shrubs. Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix. Firefly Books Canada, 2002 – ISBN 1-55297-591-6.
- The Botanical Garden Volume II Perennials and Annuals. Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix. Firefly Books Canada, 2002 – ISBN 1-55297-592-4.
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
Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC)
Pre-approved: 42 Non-core LUs
This course partially satisfies the requirements of:
How to Apply for Your Continuing Education Credits
For information on obtaining your credits please see: How to Apply for your Continuing Education Credits