URI expands offerings of gardening classes at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

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Register now for one-day seminars, multi-day workshops,

Master Composter Program, free events

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – March 11, 2008 – In the second year of its partnership with the City of Providence, the University of Rhode Island has expanded its offering of gardening classes and related educational programs to be held at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center this spring.

“There are no prerequisites for any of the classes other than a desire to become a better gardener,” said Jo-Ann Bouley, who coordinates the programs at the Botanical Center “We are offering a variety of courses to suit almost every gardener’s needs. What could be better than some good, clean, gardening fun.”

More than two dozen courses will be offered, mostly one-day seminars lasting one to three hours, beginning with an outdoor workshop on basic pruning principles for trees and shrubs on March 22 and culminating in a session on tropical container gardens on June 8. In between are one-day sessions on rose gardening, orchid growing secrets, table-top gardens, window boxes, carnivorous plants, perennial gardening, organic vegetable gardening and many more.

Gardeners interested in a more comprehensive workshop will want to register for a three-session workshop on the basics of garden design, which runs on March 29, April 12 and April 26. Those with a passion for maintaining the perfect lawn will be interested in a four-part course called “Lawns Done Right” on April 1, 8, 15 and 22. A five-week course called “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Planet” will emphasize sustainable gardens, healthy soils and fertilizers, and sound management practices. It will run on May 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.

April 3 is the beginning of the seven-part Master Composter and Recycler Program, sponsored in cooperation with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. and modeled after the URI Master Gardener program. This unique certification program is geared toward local residents, municipal public works staff, conservation commissioners and others who are interested in becoming experts at composting and recycling.

The Master Composter program will include discussion of such topics as the importance and benefits of composting and recycling, starting a backyard compost process, compost science, worm and innovative composting methods, and community outreach. In addition to five Thursday night classroom sessions, two Saturday sessions are scheduled to visit the state landfill in Johnston and Earth Care Farm, a commercial composting facility in Charlestown. The class will also tour Southside Community Land Trust’s City Farm.

For further information or to register for these courses, visit www.uri.edu/cels/ceoc or call 401-874-2900. The registration fees for the one-session courses range from $15 to $60, while the multi-session courses range from $50 to $110.

In addition, a number of free programs are also offered. These include “Orchid ER,” in which orchid experts will diagnose unhealthy orchids brought in by the public; a composting workshop on April 6; and the “Easy Does It Gardening Clinic, “ on May 31, presented by Gardening For Good, which demonstrates how participants can use gardening as therapy. These events are free with regular admission to the Botanical Center — $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 12.