CCE’s Spring Garden School expands

Pictured above: A scene from Rick Darke’s garden, part of ‘The Living Landscape’ book, co-authored with backyard habitat guru Doug Tallamy.

An annual tradition for more than 30 years, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Master Gardeners Spring Gardening School sprouted this spring into a three-part set, “Spring Garden Trio,” which includes a virtual opening program, the annual school spring gardening and in-person workshops on three Saturdays in spring 2022: March 19, March 26 and April 30.

“The legacy of more than three decades of Spring Gardening School’s background evolved in 2022 into Spring Garden Trio, a three-part presentation of lectures, talks and workshops,” said Roxanne Zimmer, head of the community horticulture at CCE Suffolk. “CCE Suffolk’s mission has always been to educate and serve the residents of Suffolk County about home gardening and community efforts to grow more food. Given the importance of serving the gardening public in these times, we are able to expand programs and engage garden enthusiasts and green thumbs everywhere.

Here is the Spring Garden Trio online brochure.

On the first Saturday, March 19, Rick Darke, landscape designer, author, and horticulturist, opens Spring Garden Trio with his Garden Lens virtual lecture, “Dynamic Design & the Art of Observation,” at 10 a.m. General admission is $10 and the fee for landscape architects participating in the credit is $25.

“The ability to see deep into focus is critical to the design, enjoyment and stewardship of a landscape,” according to Mr. Darke’s presentation. “This skill is especially important when designing landscapes that support regional ecologies.”

Here’s where to register for the Garden Lens conference.

Then, the following Saturday, March 26, Spring Gardening School kicks off with blogger/podcast host AwaytoGarden and New York Times Keynote address by Margaret Roach, Garden Editor, “Plants Nonstop: A Garden for 365 Days” at 9:30 a.m. Ms. Roach will be joined throughout the one-day virtual event by nine other horticulture experts who will talk about native plants and good 2:30 p.m.

Discussions include designing regenerative gardens to support biodiversity, botanical science methods, creating a “lawn” of native plants, the four-season garden, attracting pollinators, rare edibles, nightmares invasive herbs and spices and the heritage of the Olmsted brothers’ design of the park.

Here’s where to enroll in Spring Gardening School.

On Saturday April 30, gardeners who want to get their hands dirty will take part in workshops ranging from bonsai to drip irrigation, chicken farming to beekeeping, at the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank.

Workshops begin at 9:15 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Panera sandwiches will be available for $15 or bring your own lunch. Admission to April 30 workshops is $35, although some individual programs have materials fees.

This is also the first year that the Master Gardener Plant Sale, with plants from well-known local gardening suppliers, will be open to the public at the Suffolk County Farm from 8.30am to 2.30pm.

For The Garden Workshop registration form, contact Sarah Osborn for registration and questions at 631.727.7850, ext. 207

Full details are online at

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