This website refers to the previous 2017 Workshop.
See Whidbey Gardening Workshop for newest information.
Session A 10:45-12 noon

A.1 Gardening on Whidbey is Different

New to Whidbey and challenged by our weather, soil, and wildlife? This class presents methods for responding to these challenges, and a discussion of alternatives recommended by local gardeners with a focus on vegetables. Kate Rowan

A.2 Establishing a Four Season Cutting Garden on Whidbey Island (NEW)

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. An amazing variety of flowers that bloom in all seasons can grow on Whidbey Island. It can be difficult to know which plant varieties will do best in the many micro-climates and soil conditions that exist on your property throughout the year. A garden that is full sun and dry in June might be soggy and shady in April and September. This class will help you plan a garden that will give you gorgeous cut flowers and foliage throughout the year on Whidbey Island. Melissa Brown, Benjamin Courteau

A.3 Basic Pruning for Healthy Landscapes

Happy Little Trees Ahead: Basic pruning for healthy landscapes. I will discuss how, when and why we prune trees and shrubs, beginning with basic plant physiology. I will go over pruning safety with the proper tools. Also when it is a good idea to call a certified arborist, and how to select one. I will also talk a little bit about how to enhance wildlife habitat within your gardens. Martha Hollis

A.4 Landscaping Your Drain Field

Your drain field is a critical part of a healthy home environment. Learn how your septic system works and what you can do to protect your drain field. Where could I plant a vegetable garden? What about tree roots? How does irrigation affect my septic system? Bring your gardening questions and site plans. Maribeth Crandell

A.5 Understanding Your Garden Style (NEW)

Before you call the designer, landscaper, or go to the nursery to purchase a cartload of cute plants, you need to understand your garden style so you can effectively achieve your goals. A garden should work with the style of your home, your entertainment needs, wildlife, water issues, maintenance considerations, pets and so much more. A well thought out plan can bring joy to your garden experience. June Davis

A.6 Sustainable Garden Design: The Mediterranean Garden

Mediterranean gardens are water-wise, low-maintenance and a pollinator favorite. They remind us of blue sea, clear sky, and life at a slower pace. This class will explain why they are well suited to our climate and what design elements and principles to apply. Everett Chu

A.7 The Finer Points of Garden Design (NEW)

Good garden design doesn't need to be that complicated. Come and learn how simple principles underlie great design and how you can make the most of your landscape. Frank Simpson

A.8 Climbers, Climbers, and More Climbers (NEW)

Explore the world of good northwest climbers from disease resistant roses to clematis to honeysuckles and more. Eric Studebaker

A.9 Pots of Bold: Designing with Containers for Drama (NEW)

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. Container gardens are the MOST practical option in the expensive world of landscape design. This class shows you fabulous design ideas based on the use of incredible foliage as the springboard of ideas for your horticultural "Holy WOW!" displays as well as how you can get the most value from your nursery dollars. Join Christina Salwitz, "THE Personal Garden Coach" as she takes you through the year with Fine Foliage in your containers! Christina Salwitz

A.10 Vermicomposting "Worms Eat Our Garbage" (NEW)

Transforming Food Waste to Black Gold! Learn how to Vermi-compost using Red Worms. Vermitech Specialist Todd Spratt designed the BugaBay in-ground Cedar Worm Bin to be as easy as Dump, Cover, you're Done. This system is designed to have the worms do all of the work. The average American discards 8 to 10 pounds of food waste per week, 400 plus pounds in a year and 16 tons or more in a lifetime. Todd will demonstrate how easy and beneficial it is to Vermi-compost and transform your food waste into the richest, organic soil amendment available--Worm Castings. Worm castings have more micro nutrients, plant friendly bacteria and other beneficial soil organisms than any other soil amendment. Studies have shown higher crop yields and nutritional value using worm castings; this is why they are so highly valued, sought after and expensive. All class participants will receive the educational DVD "Garbage to Gold" (a $12.95 value) for Free! Todd Spratt

A.11 Bats: Why You Want Them, How to Keep Them

Bats are among a gardener's best friends and help to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Learn more about these useful mammals and how to create an attractive environment for them so they can do their best for you. Sarah Schmidt

A.12 Sustainable Principles in the Garden and Orchard (NEW)

Gary Ingram will demonstrate how he manages his large organic orchard and vegetable garden using his farm animals and how they all tie together. Gary has 22 fruit trees and 13 large raised beds, 35 chickens, ducks, and a heard of milking goats. Gary Ingram

A.13 Eating from Your Garden Year Round

With our temperate maritime climate and a little work and inventiveness, it is possible to get vegetables year round. Learn when to start cold weather crops, how to protect them from frost, and which varieties are best suited for cold season growing. Linda Bartlett

A.14 The Food Lover's Garden

If you ever wondered, "Why grow it if you can't eat it?", then this class is for you. You know the rewards of growing your own food, but you may want to consider: how much, what varieties, how to take advantage of the small space you have for growing, what crops grow best in our climate, and how you can eat year round from your garden. These are the horticultural questions we will address. We will add lots of food prep ideas and recipes. Nettles pesto anyone? Anza Muenchow

A.15 Herbs in Your Garden, Caring for and Curing Herbs A-Z

Have you wanted the perfect herb garden that is both functional and ornamental? In this hands-on class you will explore various plant samples and learn from an herbalist all about growing, caring for, harvesting, preserving and using herbs and how they can do double duty for culinary and medicinal purposes. Toni Grove

A.16 It's the Berries and More

Learn about the production of small fruit crops in the home garden, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, and grapes. Topics covered will include cultivars, general production practices and pest identification and management. Jim Kropf

A.17 HAS BEEN CANCELLED -- How to Grow Garden Giants (NEW)

Want a 200 pound jack-o-lantern on your front porch this fall? Get basic information and special tips on growing various giant vegetables in the Pacific NW. Free seeds available for class attendees. Lee Roof

We regret this class has been cancelled


Session B 1:00-2:15

B.1 Identifying and Using Native Plants in the Landscape

Native plants offer great environmental diversity to your garden landscape. Learn why they are so valuable, how to identify the common ones and how to use them to improve your landscape. Don Lee

B.2 Introduction to Plant Propagation

This class will go over the basics of plant propagation including seed starting, simple division, cuttings and air layering. Deb Mitchell

B.3 What Is All the Buzz About?

Bees are not just for fruit production. Did you know you can help clean the air by hosting native pollinators? Come join us and learn all you need to know to host and/or raise your own mason bees. Speaker Missy Anderson, aka Queenbee, will offer fun facts and even suggest a way to give mason bees as gifts. All are welcome. Missy Anderson

B.4 Water Features in the Landscape Design

Water embodies an elemental counterpoint to everything else in the garden yet is often used poorly. From waterfalls to birdbaths to fishponds, each choice brings technical demands that can frustrate and overwhelm the beginning aquatic gardener. Beginning with a survey of the aesthetics of water features in gardens: sight, sound, and smell, we'll explore fish and plant options and care as well as resources for the questions and problems that arise. We will also begin to explore technical specs necessary to achieve a satisfying harvest of all that water can bring to the garden. Sam Mitchell

B.5 Keeping Up in the Garden Pt.1: Small Trees and Shrubs

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. This is a two-part class for enthusiastic gardeners who want to simplify their garden work so they can spend more time outside relaxing. The focus is on choosing and planting great plants with multi-season interest that do not require a lot of fussy maintenance to keep them looking great. Many of these plants have the additional bonus of requiring less water for their upkeep. Trees and shrubs create the backbone of the garden and if chosen correctly are easy to maintain. Good plant choices keep pruning needs at a minimum while maximizing season interest. June Davis

B.6 Perma What? Design Your Garden with Practical Permaculture

Can you imagine an Eden or paradise in which your thriving garden nourishes all of your needs? It is not only possible, but you will be offered easy step-by-step instructions on how to do it! Learn about making your garden dreams come true with award-winning designer Jessi Bloom, co-author of Timber Press's best-selling book Practical Permaculture. Jessi Bloom

B.7 Renovating an Overgrown or Uninteresting Garden

In this class you will learn how to identify problems with the landscape and suggestions on how to improve it. There will be slides to illustrate some common problems with before and after photos. Pat Roome

B.8 Using Edible Native Plants in the Garden Landscape (NEW)

Pacific Northwest native plants provide the gardener with an opportunity to both infuse beauty and to protect natural resources in the garden landscape. To the adventurous gardener native plants also can serve as a food source themselves. Come learn from fifth generation Whidbey Island native Kelsi Franzen about Pacific Northwest native plants in your garden. Learn to identify common native plants and how you can include them in both your garden and as part of your next meal. Kelsi Franzen

B.9 Growing Gorgeous Peonies (NEW)

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. A photo-filled talk covering where and how to plant peonies, disease control and how to grow the largest blooms. The four types of peonies will be reviewed with a guide to landscape friendly peonies that don't tip in the rain. Carol Adelman

B.10 Butterfly Conservation

In this session you will learn the life histories, biology and conservation of Pacific Northwest Butterflies with a focus on practical methods of attraction and conservation in the home garden. David G. James, PhD

B.11 Heaths and Heathers for Year-round Color (NEW)

Heaths and Heathers: Explore the wonderful variety of color and form of these wonderful garden friendly plants. Frank Simpson

B.12 Water Wise Strategies for Dry Times

In this class we will discuss how to manage our soils and water to better deal with our dry summers. Topics will include estimating soil water holding capacity, improving soil quality and resilience to drought, and managing stormwater to maximize infiltration and retention. Rob Hallbauer

B.13 Slug University

In this workshop you will earn your degree in "Slugology" by learning the fundamentals of slug life which includes how to get slugs to work for you and not against you in your garden. Join the slug fun! Cori Carlton

B.14 Build an Easily Managed Vegetable Garden

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. This class is a photographic presentation of the creation of a vegetable garden from grass field to raised beds with low tunnels, irrigated and mulched for easy maintenance. See how this highly productive form of food growing can be customized to any size yard to produce edible crops year-round. Pam Mitchell

B.15 Tricks of the Trade: Gardening Made Easier

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. In this class the instructor will share ingenious devices, tools and techniques developed over a lifetime of gardening that makes the work more like fun. Or at least, less work. Lots of new stuff this year! Dave Thomas

B.16 Renovating Old Fruit Trees (NEW)

This class will cover the science behind the art of reclaiming old fruit trees that have not been managed well, or at all. Imparts understanding of "why" to do something, which makes the "how" easily achieved. Randy Lee, PhD


Session C 2:30-3:45

C.1 Island County Groundwater-- Is There Enough to Water That Garden? (NEW)

You will learn about the genesis and function of our aquifers and aquitards. You will also learn about the risks to our water resources such as contamination and over use, and how government agencies work to protect our water resources. This class will provide details regarding local groundwater availability and issues. Doug Kelly

C.2 Whidbey Island Soils: How to Maintain and Improve This Precious Resource (NEW)

We will explore the types of soils on Whidbey Island and discuss some techniques to improve soil productivity by employing the soil food web. Gary Ketcheson

C.3 Nature's Balance: Understanding and Attracting Beneficial Insects

This class will introduce management practices to attract and maintain beneficial insects in your yards and gardens. Learn to identify native beneficial arthropods and also exotic pests currently threatening our region. Beverly Gerdeman, PhD

C.4 Water Conservation Made Beautiful (NEW)

In this class learn how to manage water run-off and make it beautiful. The class introduces the values and concepts of water conservation with a brief outline of hydrology, demonstrating the need for better water management. Numerous real examples are provided on how to design and manage run-off with ponds, ferns and wetlands and create beauty on your property. Brad Hankins

C.5 Keeping Up in the Garden Pt.2: Perennials, Grasses, Ground Covers and Annuals

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. This is a two-part class for enthusiastic gardeners who want to simplify their garden work so they can spend more time relaxing outside. The focus is on choosing and planting great plants with multi-season interest that do not require a lot of fussy maintenance to keep them looking great. Many of these plants have the additional bonus of requiring less water for their upkeep. Perennials, Grasses, Ground Covers and Annuals: In part one we looked at the backbone plants, trees and shrubs, now we turn our focus on the embellishments that provide texture, color and seasonal interest. If chosen wisely, these plants complete the garden without adding a lot of extra work. June Davis

C.6 Using Edible Native Plants in the Garden Landscape (NEW)

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. Pacific Northwest native plants provide the gardener with an opportunity to both infuse beauty and to protect natural resources in the garden landscape. To the adventurous gardener native plants also can serve as a food source themselves. Come learn from fifth generation Whidbey Island native Kelsi Franzen about Pacific Northwest native plants in your garden. Learn to identify common native plants and how you can include them in both your garden and as part of your next meal. Kelsi Franzen

C.7 Growing Camellias in the Pacific NW (NEW)

Normally thought of as a Southern plant, Camellias are actually well suited for the Pacific NW. Come learn about growing and caring for these beautiful evergreen shrubs that have the added bonus of fall and winter flowering times. Tricia Heimer

C.8 Conifers in Gardens: Giant, Dwarfs, and In-betweens

Maybe our forests intimidate, frustrate, or bore us into failing to see unmatched structure, texture, color, form, variety, and counterpoint conifers offer in all sizes. Let's overview the plants we often overlook. Sam Mitchell

C.9 Fragrance in Your Garden - A Focus on Scented Shrubs (NEW)

THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED. Scent is remembered far longer than sight, sound, taste or touch, registering deep down in our consciousness. Fragrances often evoke remembrances of special times and places. They welcome you into gardens even before you know what plant it is. This class will cover fragrant shrubs for every month of the year and how to use them to the best advantage. A list of fragrant perennials will also be included. Diana Wisen

C.10 Successful Hot Composting: How to Create Usable Compost at Home in as Little as One Month (NEW)

Composting is a natural process by which organic material is broken down under controlled conditions to form humus - a fully decomposed and stable soil amendment. The addition of compost to garden soil can improve the soil texture, or tilth, adding valuable pore space to aid a plant's ability to get oxygen to its roots. In addition, compost can increase a soil's ability to hold onto moisture and nutrients. In this class, participants will take part in a hands on demonstration of hot composting. Topics to be covered include: What organic materials work the best, tool and space requirements, and physical labor involved. Those attending should leave with enough knowledge to build their own successful home hot compost pile. Thomas G. Vincent

C.11 My Plant Needs Help! Diagnosis and Treatment for Common NW Problems

Learn how to diagnose common plant pests and diseases encountered in regional ornamental gardens, and treatment options that are effective and sensitive to our environment. Marcia Nelson

C.12 Wrong Plant Anyplace: A Strategic Approach to Weeds

Gardening is fun, weeding is not. Don't let the shot weed get the best of you. Gain the serenity to accept the weeds you can't get rid of, learn tips and techniques to effectively control the weeds you can, and the wisdom to know when to use an herbicide. Toni Grove

C.13 Slug University

In this workshop you will earn your degree in "Slugology" by learning the fundamentals of slug life which includes how to get slugs to work for you and not against you in your garden. Join the slug fun! Cori Carlton

C.14 Fruit Trees

This class will go over the basic considerations for growing fruit trees with a concentration on apples/pears and plums/cherries. Pictures of pruning problems and a demonstration on a young fruit tree will be covered. If time allows, more detailed information will be given in response to questions. Deb Mitchell

C.15 Gardening with Children (NEW)

Getting kids excited about eating vegetables starts in the garden. This class presents tricks, favorite recipes, and activities for how to encourage kids to engage in gardening based on the instructor's experiences in building and maintaining public school gardens in elementary schools. Anza Muenchow

C.16 Dormant Season Fruit Care (NEW)

In this class you will learn the things to do in your home orchard during the off-season. This includes what you should be doing when it seems there is nothing to do with your fruit trees, grapes, berries/canes, and ground dwellers. Randy Lee, PhD

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