Ecological Plant Knowledge for Organic Gardeners

Schedules And Registration

Course Overview


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 (SOUL, CNLA, NALP, ISA, BCSLA, MGOI, IPM Canada, NOFA).

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

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