Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Winter gardening withdrawal

The holiday festivities are almost over, but Norfolk Botanical Garden has plenty to keep your spirits bright in dreary January and February.

Though you can't start digging in the ground for a few months, you can plan and dream to your heart's content.

The garden is offering a wheelbarrow full of education classes in January and February for the frustrated winter-bound gardener, the neophyte gardener and even the armchair gardener.

Choose from classes such as "Introduction to Landscape Design," for the person who really wants to re-make a portion of their yard into something beautiful, or "Gardening From Scratch," for the person who wants to start, say, a vegetable garden or butterfly garden.

There's even a program called the "Language of Love," where you can learn about the hidden meaning behind certain flowers.

Other programs and classes include everything from "Botanical Origami" to "Hobby Greenhouses," from "Orchids 101 " to "Care of Houseplants." Classes in photography, art, yoga and dancing are among other choices.

Betty Ann Galway, the garden's lifelong learning manager, is especially high on the "Introduction to Landscape Design" class that the garden offers twice a year.

Led by senior gardener Linda Saunders and director of horticulture Brian O'Neil , the class will help students start from scratch to draw a plan for part of their own yard and learn the principles behind what kinds of plants to put where.

The program is complete, Galway noted, from learning how to draw up plans on a grid to understanding what kind of plant will work in different habitats, such as flat, shady and moist areas.

"It's a thoroughly wonderful program," she said.

Students will not only learn how to design and carry out their own plans, but they will also learn from each other's garden scenarios, which could be anything from how to hide a garbage area to how to work around a tree, Galway noted.

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