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Texas Gulf Coast Gardener


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Horticulture Education Program

2014 Winter Session: Tier III

Registration: Now through January 20
Tuition: $100 TMS members;
$115 non-members

Classes held each Monday from
January 27 through March 3

The Texas Gulf Coast Gardner (TGCG) curriculum was developed by Mercer staff with guidance from Dr. David Creech, professor of horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State University, and staff from Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches.

Program descriptions and class information includes:

Tier-I

This is a 12-week course e led by Mercer’s Education Director, Scott Meadows, and a talented group of experts who will present lessons and workshops covering the most important aspects of home gardening and horticulture in the Houston region. Classes begin September 17 and will be held every Tuesday through December 10 (except the week of Thanksgiving).

The tuition fee for Tier 1 is $200 for members of The Mercer Society (TMS) and $225 for non-members, and includes a textbook, T-shirt, and one-year membership to TMS. Please see the TMS website for membership benefits.


Course Descriptions:

Introduction to The Gulf Coast Gardener Program and Houston Issues
This introductory course includes a history of Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (MABG) and a tour of the grounds. The second half of the lecture covers horticultural issues specific to the Houston region such as climate and soils.

Site Development
Instructor: John Ferguson
During this two-part presentation, learn about various types of mulches and soil amendments, and then learn how to produce high quality compost.

Botany for Gardeners
Instructor: Scott Meadows 

This lecture and lab will cover the basic elements of botany where students will be introduced to a scientific perspective on plants, which will allow them to appreciate their gardens and landscape in a whole new dimension.

Plant Types and Identification
Instructor: Anita Tiller
This practical class offers an introduction to the plant kingdom through plant identification using specimens native to southeast Texas. Students will also learn about conservation work carried out at MABG.

Water-Smart Landscaping
Instructor: Christine LeChance
Learn smart, effective, and sustainable methods for irrigating home gardens and landscapes, along with suggestions for plants that thrive on lower watering regimens.

Pruning and Plant Care
Instructor: Suzzanne Chapman
Through this lecture and demonstration, discover the various pruning needs for a variety of landscape plants and the proper methods used to attain the best results.

Propagation
Instructor: Angela Chandler
This hands-on, intensive workshop highlights various techniques of plant propagation using seed and cuttings, seed collection, and storage of heirloom plants.

Plant Diseases
Instructor: Paul Winski
Learn about the plant diseases that afflict gardens, plus how to identify, prevent, and control them.

Garden Insects & Pest Management
Instructors: Will Isbell & Mark Bowden
The first segment of class highlights the variety of beneficial, harmful, and nonthreatening insects found in the garden. During the second portion, learn about the natural methods to keep potentially harmful pests in check and how to manage them with minimal chemical use.

Lawn Care
Instructor: Michael Potter
Find out about the turf grasses best adapted for home lawns in Harris County and surrounding areas. Pest and disease problems, and maintenance of each variety, will also be discussed.


Tier-II

This is a 12-week course led by Mercer’s Education Director, Scott Meadows, and a talented group of experts who will present lessons and workshops. Each week will focus on different plant groups that can be incorporated into Houston regional landscapes and gardens. Classes begin September 19 and will be held every Thursday through December 12 (except the week of Thanksgiving).

The tuition fee for Tier 2 is $200 for members of The Mercer Society (TMS) and $225 for non-members, which includes a textbook, tote bag, and one-year membership to TMS. Please see the TMS website for membership benefits.


Course Descriptions:

Trees & Shrubs
Instructor: John Ross
Learn all about tree care, plus the best way to plant trees so they will have a long and happy life.

Vegetable Gardening
Instructor: Gary Edmondson
This hands-on class highlights the many conveniences of a home garden, including the best variety of vegetables for our region.

Perennials
Instructor: Gudrun Opperman

Learn all about the beautiful and exciting perennials that thrive in the local climate, with an added emphasis on native perennials.

Cacti & Succulents
Instructor: Wally Ward
Find out which cacti and succulents are best suited for the central gulf coast’s not-so-arid climate. Students will learn about the best cacti and succulents to incorporate into home landscapes through a cacti propagation workshop.

Fruits & Nuts
Instructor: Tom Leroy
Discover the best fruits and nuts that grow well in our region during this in-depth and engaging class.

Ferns
Instructor: Darla Harris
Investigate this ancient and interesting group of plants: the ferns. Learn about the varieties that thrive in Houston’s heat and humidity through a fern horticulture and propagation workshop. 

Herb Gardening
Instructor: Jeany Dunnihoo
Herbs have long been grown for their medicinal and culinary uses as well as their beauty. Increase your knowledge of herb gardening in Houston by learning how to grow and use herbs that are old favorites and new introductions.  

Additional Topics
Information about more plant groups will be presented by MABG staff along with other experts. These topics include Annuals, Bulbs, Tropicals, Gingers, Vines, and Ground Covers, and all are specifically geared towards gardening and growing plants in the southeast Texas environment.


Tier-III

This is a six-week course led by Mercer’s Education Director, Scott Meadows, and a talented group of experts who will present lessons and workshops. Each week will focus on landscape design, the use of hardscapes and water features in the landscape, and sustainable design practices. Classes begin January 27 and will be held every Monday through March 3.

The tuition fee for Tier 3 is $100 for members of The Mercer Society (TMS) and $115 for non-members, which includes a textbook and class supplies. Please see the TMS website for membership benefits.


Course Schedule:

Introduction: Seven Principles of Landscape Design
Instructor: Shawn Kelly
Monday, January 27

Mixed Border Design
Instructor: Dawn Stover
Monday, February 3

Incorporating Food Into the Landscape with Design Principles
Instructor: Margaret Robinson
Monday, February 10

Native Habitat Restoration for Home Landscapes
Instructor: Mark Bowen
Monday, February 17
 
Appreciation of Public Landscapes and Incorporation of Their Elements Into the Home Landscape
Instructor: Doug Shannon
Monday, February 24

Methods and Techniques for Water Conservation in Home Landscapes
Instructor: Carol Fraser
Monday, March 3

 


Comments from past class participants:

“Friendly, intelligent, and knowledgeable staff were eager to share their wealth of information.”

“I was very impressed with the class presenters.”
           
“I think the course was outstanding.”

“Great speakers who impart their love of plants and enthusiasm for gardening.”

“Added to the knowledge that I have previously gained. I have yet to feel I know too much!!”  

“Relaxed and fun atmosphere.”

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In keeping with its educational directive, Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens and The Mercer Society (TMS) present a series of horticulture classes on successful gardening practices in Harris and surrounding counties. This program was developed for beginning gardeners, advanced gardeners, and individuals working in the horticulture field wishing to expand their plant and horticulture knowledge. Classes are taught by Mercer staff and horticultural experts.

Mission of the Program
To provide horticultural classes combined with labs and hands-on volunteer work in the gardens while creating a personal experience for students by building their confidence and expertise. The program curriculum addresses basic horticultural skills; plants that adapt, survive, and thrive with the constantly changing seasons along the Gulf Coast; and the techniques used in successful landscaping.