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Email anytime for more information on our services and gardening classes -

Evelyn @ GardenPossibilities. com

 

 

  

Some helpful articles to explore -

Coping with the 
dastardly Lily beetle.

Shrub Pruning Tips

Black Walnut allelopathy
and the toxin, Juglone

Winter Garden Protection

Seed starting 

Correct planting of 
new trees & shrubs

Increasing Drought Tolerance.

"Low"maintenance gardening?

 

 

 

Gardening classes and workshops with a difference!
                        ... teaching not just the when and how, but WHY.
 

Gardening is an endlessly rewarding craft that brings together old and young, rich and poor, philosopher and farmer, old world and new.  Few leisure pursuits bridge as many divides or has the potential for richer pleasures. 

A gardener's education never ends - there are new curiosities and creative possibilities to explore with every turn of the season and year.   

The gardening lessons I've developed have the goal of helping gardeners integrate the art of garden design with the science at work in the plants and the soil that supports them, without forgetting that gardening can be - and should be - tons of inspiring and creative fun, not "work"!      Using a common-sense, creative, and no-dummies approach, I strive to help gardeners finish each lesson with a "now-I-get-it" moment that leads to confident practical decisions and inspired design ideas to take home to their own garden.      The underlying fact that even the smallest garden should be a private playground, where endless creative possibilities and natural curiosities can be explored in real time, is the overall spirit of my gardening philosophy and guides all of my gardening lessons. 
 

Gardening isn't just about an
end goal, but is an on-going process that -

               - feeds the creative spirit,

                 
   - engages a curious mind,                          - and nurtures the soul.                   
      
The possibilities and rewards are endless!  Join us for 2018 classes.   
                                                                
Evelyn Wolf      

 

 

Gardening classes since 1995, where my passion for plants, gardens, and the joy they can bring to our lives is always evident.

Evelyn Wolf
Garden Consultant

2018 dates for our
7 week Perennial Gardening Essentials course,
  "THINK LIKE A PLANT!"
(Dates Times Cost)

covering all the essentials for garden success. 

All classes take place at our display garden in Queensville (East Gwillimbury), on the corner of Leslie St & Queensville Sdrd, just north of Newmarket.

Format Options ~
 

COURSES
 
integrated series of seven 2½ hr lessons combining - instruction, discussion, demos, slide show, outdoor hands-on experience when possible, and detailed lesson notes to take home Maximum 8 participants. Course run in late winter / early spring, before the active gardening season. 
some basic tree anatomy & pruning talk for a local Horticultural Club
WORKSHOPS
 In-depth 3 hr demonstrations and lesson focused on hands-on learning, with detailed take-home notes .  Maximum 6 participants.  Workshops run through the active gardening season May to Oct, outdoors, at my display garden in Queensville, just North of Newmarket. 

Questions, or to inquire about customized lessons or seminars geared to landscape crew training, email anytime. 
          Cheers!
Evelyn

 

 Courses - a series of integrated 2½ hr lessons combining - instruction, discussion, demos, and slide show, plus a detailed printed lesson handout to take home.    Lessons are designed to build on each other rather than stand alone.  The result is a more in-depth learning experience that ties together the many elements constantly working together for a happy healthy garden and gardener.

Perennial Gardening Essentials or "THINK LIKE A PLANT"!  A comprehensive course on Perennial and Shrub gardening that will have you gardening with confidence.  
7 lesson course.  Feb - Apr 2018  $360.00  (15% off for early registration ends Feb 14th 2018)   
Gardening involves thousands of details and choices, but there are basic rules in the natural world which everything follows from. This course covers these essentials thoroughly, with an entire lesson devoted to each important topic, and lots of out-in-the-garden demonstrations.  This is our comprehensive course we've been running for many years that takes participants from soil preparation to garden design through an integrated series of lessons, complete with hand out notes and follow up. 
FULL DETAILS BELOW

GET GROWING!  Gardening Basics for complete beginners.
3 lesson course.  Fall 2018
If you're a complete newcomer to gardening, perennial garden plants, and the language of gardening, you may find our main Essentials course just too hard to follow.  By popular demand, we've now developed a beginner's course to get you started down the exciting and creative path of gardening with perennials.  The cost of the course will be quickly recouped by avoiding even just one of the many common beginner's mistakes.

 

SUMMER MAINTENANCE CREW CRASH COURSE TRAINING. 
3 lesson course.  (time and dates customized to suit, and can take place at my location or yours. Price negotiated.).  Similar to my course "Gardening for Beginners" above, but focusing less on learning the horticultural details and more on general rules of thumb on what to do when, and the general essentials of garden care.  The emphasis is on learning about the different types of plants and how/where/when to  - pinch for fullness and height control;  deadhead for continuing bloom;  basics of correct shrub pruning;  types of mulch and applying correctly;  identifying different types of weeds and which ones pose the worst control problems;  when and if fertilizer is needed;  etc.  The focus will be on learning the basic how-to skills necessary to care for a mixed perennial and shrub garden with some annuals and containers. 
 

RETHINKING THE FRONT LAWN  3 week course.
Fall 2018

Keeping a nice lawn means engaging in a costly, tedious, and environmentally un-friendly battle with grubs, fertilizers, lawnmowers, noise, and a weekly maintenance grind.  Why not reduce or eliminate that high cost green carpet and catch the popular wave of establishing a full front garden instead!  Think outside the garden box and learn how to apply basic design rules and how to prepare a garden that's lower-maintenance with lower water needs.   In step-by-step lessons we’ll first showcase the many possibilities through a slide show and deconstruction of different looks and styles;  review some of the reasons a full front garden is a desirable option over turf;  and cover all the practical matters of creating your full front yard garden such as soil & site analysis, bed preparation, design rules to follow, planning for reduced water needs, low-maintenance / low water plant choices, etc. - all with earth friendly methods as a focus. 

This short course is the first step down the path of a garden that virtually looks after itself in comparison to turf! 

 
   

 

Hands-On, Summer Workshops  - 3hr in-depth lessons & hands-on learning, with demos & take home notes - your location or ours.   Designed for a maximum of 6 participants.  These run outdoors through the active gardening season at our display garden in Queensville.   (Dates not set yet for summer 2018)

STOP THE TORTURE! 
Shrub & Young Tree Pruning
.                          
3hr slide show / demo / hands-on.  
How to prune completely depends on why you’re pruning, and why you’re pruning leads to when to prune.   All these how’s, why’s and when’s are covered in this essential workshop.  One of the true arts of gardening, correct pruning is a rewarding and creative investment in time with results that can't be bought at any price - beautiful, healthy, mature plants strutting their very best stuff. 
Pruning is probably the most misunderstood, and usually incorrectly executed garden task. The haircut trim that all too often passes for pruning is exactly the wrong way to prune and leads to weak, twiggy, non-flowering, plants with “bare legs”, and often a long slow diseased death.  AND, For most shrubs the traditional fall timing of this haircut trim is exactly the worst time for any pruning - correctly done or not!  The “haircut” is literally plant torture!  Through hands-on demos and a 24pg lesson manual, you’ll learn how to prevent structural tree defects, maintain a shrub's blooming power, rejuvenate an old hedge, maintain a large plant at a small size, or even create your own topiary or outdoor bonsai. 
 MORE DETAILS

Creating GREAT PLANT COMBINATIONS  Designing complimentary plant partnerships for fabulous all season interest and a "wow" factor whether plants are in bloom or not. 
3hr slide show / demo / hands-on.
The huge assortment of plants available today is overwhelming and it's easy to end up with a cluttered mess instead of the beautiful spring-to-fall garden you envisioned.   Designing a planting that has something of interest happening in all seasons, including winter, while balancing your favourite's list and your site conditions, can be a brain numbing exercise, but there's a formula to follow that will help you to create partnerships that work.  
In this workshop you'll learn how to think of your plants in complimentary partnerships through a hands-on mix 'n match demo, a slide show of  plant combinations that work well, and a fun bit of audience participation!  Most importantly, you'll learn WHY particular partnerships work so you can duplicate the ideas using your own favourite plants, in your own sun/shade, dry/wet, clay/sand, site conditions by applying a few rules. 
After an initial design theory lesson and slide show of the many possibilities, we'll get out into the garden and put into action the learned rules of thumb and create complimentary groups using potted perennials.   I'll have a wide assortment of plants on hand for each participant to join in and put the learned design rules into a practical exercise.  We'll then critique each, and learn together just how widely these plant partnership rules can stretch. Should be tons of fun!
 

 

Space is always limited to 6 people and "first come, first served" is the operating rule!

Email to get on the list for the 2018 run of these workshops.

Rules of Thumb for A WELL DESIGNED GARDEN
This workshop will give you the creative tools for outside the box thinking to apply to the development of your own unique landscape design and garden beds.

We’ll go step-by-step through the process of learning, and then applying, some fundamental rules that go into the creation of a landscape that comes together as a unified whole instead of individual attractive elements.  Through a slide show and lesson on themes and styles we’ll talk about each element that goes into the planning of any good design and see how it was applied, then “create” a garden design plan of your own. 

How to go about sketching a rough plan and refining it;
understanding the role of mass, balance, scale, line.; 
structure and hardscape choices; and more. 

Bring your pictures and basic yard measurements to use in a hands-on landscape design exercise as we work together on applying design rules to shape and expand on your own ideas and style.  

LIFTING & DIVIDING PERENNIALS
3hr, hands-on demo, with lots of take home starter bits!  Whether you’re rejuvenating an old Iris or simply want to multiply favourite plants to spread around a larger area or share with friends, dividing perennials gives them renewed vigor and is an inexpensive way to expand your garden.
In this workshop we’ll go through an overview of the different types of root systems and where to look for new growth points, how to determine the best timing for particular plants, and a hands-on demonstrations of different perennials to show exactly what you’re looking for when dividing their roots. You’d be amazed at just how many divisions can be made from just one overgrown patch of daylily, hosta, coral bell, Iris, Dahlia, or ornamental grass!   You’ll take home dozens of new starter sized plants from the plant divisions I'll be creating in the demonstrations, and gain the know-how you need to create hundreds of dollars worth of new plants from the ones you already have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LIVING EARTH
a 3 hour workshop .  Most garden problems are rooted in incorrect soil preparation, neglected soil health, or lack of attention to the effects of many garden products we routinely apply. Learn more about the fascinating world that is life underground in your garden, and how to maintain soil health in both the short and long term.  

Various approaches to starting a new bed; 
understanding pH; 
different mulches and when to choose which; 
weed/pest control;   fertilizing; 
compost, triple mix, top soil, loam ... what's the 
difference and why it matters to choose correctly; 
determining your soil type and how to improve it;

If you have time for no other class, this one is a must.  Everything starts with the soil and mistakes or neglect here can at best cause a garden to be much higher maintenance than necessary, and at worst cause costly plant stress and death.    

     

 


 

 Perennial Gardening Essentials, 7 week course.
Our comprehensive course that will lead you to growing with confidence.

" Think Like a Plant! "

A 7 lesson course (2 1/2 hrs each lesson) that takes us through all of the what's, why's and how's of establishing and caring for a mixed perennials & shrubs garden.  In-depth, integrated lessons, with plenty of time worked in for lots of Q&A, plus take home notes with deeper detail.  The goal is to have you gardening with confidence as you work through the ups, downs, and the many choices of - design, maintenance and troubleshooting, whether you're gardening with perennials, shrubs, trees, or just a fresh planting of annuals each spring.  2018 Dates and Times 

Gardening involves thousands of details and choices, but there are basic rules in the natural world which everything follows from.   This class covers these essentials thoroughly, with an entire lesson devoted to each important topic.    By the end of the course you’ll understand why such and such is done in the garden, not just when and how.     Armed with this background knowledge, you'll have the confidence to make the thousands of individual decisions on products, plants, and methods that go into creating a healthy beautiful garden that satisfies both the eye and soul.    (... and the budget too!)  EVERYTHING you do in a garden is interconnected. once you've completed this comprehensive course, you'll understand how one action leads to another, and how one choice dictates the next. 

ABOUT ME:    I've been running this course for over 15 years and have received many accolades on my approach to teaching what can sometime seem like a complicated topic.  Underlying each lesson is not just horticultural knowledge but my own decades worth of experience in my own gardens.   I caught the gardening bug while in my 20's and, (at the risk of dating myself), it's now a few decades later yet my enthusiasm for the possibilities of plants and gardens, and learning more about how they grow, continues.   No formal training is under my tool belt, but over the years an incessantly curious nature led me to research and explore every success and failure to learn from it.   Then came operating a garden specialty bookstore where each curiosity could be thoroughly researched.  More hands on experience came my way over the past 10 years through my garden design and maintenance service where I've been exposed to different garden conditions and design tastes that help me clearly understand just how much all the variables of sun, soil and a gardener's wish list dictates an outcome.    In a nutshell, I'm a plant nerd!  That's really the only way to say it.   To this day, I still get a rush of excitement when meeting a new plant to play with, or a new garden to play in.   My approach to teaching new gardeners is just as much about instilling an excitement over the gardening experience as much as it is about teaching the how-tos.
ABOUT THE COURSE:  I've developed a non-dummies approach with integrated lessons that focus on helping gardeners really understand some of the basic plant science at work, so common-sense decisions come naturally.   There's lots of conflicting advice and information out there in the gardening marketplace and this course helps cut through the jargon and enables you to make the right choices for you and your own garden's site conditions.   Once you're at the end of the course and out in your own garden this season, you'll be able to juggle all the facts and variables yourself and have all the ammunition to feel confident about what to do.   An agenda of topics covered is below.

Understanding plants' seasonal  life cycles ... developing maintenance routines ... designing great plant combinations ... seeing your own garden site's limitations and strengths ...  tweaking zone hardiness ... correct shrub pruning ... dividing perennials for either health or sharing ... lowering maintenance and water input ... organic soil care ... starting a new garden ... general organic choices ...  appropriate plant selection ... organic pest control ... landscape design rules ... mulching choices ... weeds control ... and more.

beginners learn how to avoid common mistakes,
average skilled gardeners leap to a whole new level of expertise and enjoyment, and
even veteran gardeners report they’ve filled in many knowledge gaps.
(Email anytime if you have questions about whether the course is right for you).  
                        Cheers!  Evelyn Wolf

2018 Dates and Times  - 
Feb 28th - Apr 11th afternoon 12:00 - 2:30    
*$360.00
(plus hst)
condensed version (see note*) March 29 - April 19 evenings 6:00 - 9:00    
*$300.00
(plus hst)

* NOTE:   I've added this condensed version to accommodate travelers who may be away in March.  The Design portion of the course will be minimized and other topics shortened a bit to squish them into a single 3 hour lesson.)

Class size is limited on only 8 people so register soon!  Email to reserve your spot. evelyn@GardenPossibilities.com
*15% early registration discount!  (Cheque or cash received by Feb.14th) 

Course agenda.  (each lesson has its own detailed take-home notes offering additional information) -

The Language of Plants. What exactly is a Perennial, Annual, Bulb, Shrub, etc. and why it matters to know.  This may sound like a somewhat irrelevant and boring topic, but without at least a basic understanding of plant and gardening terminology, no one would ever be able to build on their knowledge, so this is the lesson that starts us off right.  Understanding how the plant groups differ determines everything that follows for their best care, what to expect from them, how far you can push them, when and how to propagate, essential maintenance, etc..

Hardiness Zones Hardiness zones and what determines a plant's hardiness ... what it means to plant selection, handling and how to push the boundaries.

Thinking Like a Plant.
Plant life cycles and how each plant’s personal growth/dormancy routine dictates the ebb and flow of energy, nutrition needs, and maintenance.  This lesson provides many "ah ha" moments where participants begin to understand what's behind some of the occurrences in their garden.   Successful gardening is 100% about advance planning and this lesson makes clear all the natural forces we're working together with to achieve our end goal. 

The Living Earth.  A thorough look at the underground ecosystem and it's importance to a healthy garden ... repairing or working with the soil you have ... long term soil care that offers plants what they need, when they need it ... compost, organic matter and composting ... understanding pH (soil acidity or alkalinity) and what it means to the availability of nutrients ... mulching choices ... fertilizers.

Lawn Care.
Routine maintenance, and organic methods for weed control and general health. 

Stop the Torture!   Shrub & small tree pruning.  A lesson in the botany of woody plants and how they react to pruning ... how to make healthy cuts ... working together with their instinctive response to pruning to achieve particular goals such as size reduction or topiary ... when and how to prune a shrub completely depends on why it is being done in the first place ...

Basic Principles of Design and Creating Great Plant Combinations.
This is a topic that could take all 6 evenings in itself, but we'll discuss some basic design rules to guide your creative explorations.  Working with your site conditions ... form & texture ... balance and scale in overall landscape design ... creating fabulous all-season plant combinations ...

Pests & Diseases. Good guys and bad guys—achieving pest control, not elimination is the goal. Organic protection and prevention techniques.

Early Spring / Late Fall to-do list.   ... freeze/thaw protection... when and how to keep a garden clean of debris ... when, why and how to use mulch ... realities of our climate ...   A walk through the season and all the different things that should be on your to-do list to keep ahead of problems.

General Garden Maintenance. Identifying wish-list factors that determine how much work you need to do—low-maintenance/natural? manicured perfection? ... different types of care and their goals or end results ...  manipulating perennials - shorten floppy plants,  deadheading, stagger or delay bloom, prompt repeat bloom, preventing late summer foliage decline, weed control, lawn maintenance.

Now what!  Pulling together all the pieces and learning how to apply the information learned to some real world scenarios through exercises, lots of Q & A, and some hands-on work out in the garden.   Your questions, photos, and particular problems addressed.  General discussion where I’ll follow where your questions lead with detailed explanations and take home notes.

Moving, Dividing, or buying Plants. Different types of root systems, how they’re best divided, and when ... demonstrations of a few different types ... new perennials can cost anywhere from $5.00 to $20.00 or more—which ones are worth it and why such a difference ... how to select a healthy plant at the garden center ... best moving or dividing time... 

                            
                                                           Cheers! 
                                                                Evelyn

 
More details on some of the workshops  -


SHRUB PRUNING -  STOP THE TORTURE! 
3 hour hands-on workshop, lesson, & take-home 24pg lesson manual. 

From essential pruning in youth to establish a strong framework, to rejuvenating that overgrown lilac or sculpting a topiary, all pruning situations are covered in this in-depth workshop.

Pruning is probably the most misunderstood and usually incorrectly executed garden task. The haircut trim that often passes for “pruning” is the best example I can think of exactly how NOT to prune.  At best it leads to weak, twiggy, non-flowering plants with “bare legs” and, at worst leads to a long slow diseased death. The “haircut” trim method is literally plant torture!  After this workshop you'll clearly see why.

Most of the damage bad pruning leads to, stems from a misunderstanding about what happens inside the branch that has been cut.  Pruning stimulates growth in the exact spot where the pruning cut is made, when most often the gardener is attempting to reduce growth.  The more you prune the stronger the plant will respond at the pruned spot, most often at the expense of growth elsewhere on the plant.  The result?  Weak twiggy tips with bare worn out branches at the base.

Quality trees and shrubs can cost a lot of money, but it's skillful training and knowledgeable pruning that makes the investment worthwhile by keeping them strong, healthy, and sculpted. Only with either a stroke of very good luck or through proper pruning, will ordinary trees and shrubs become beautiful specimens.  An expensive Japanese Maple will be a pretty, red leaved, addition to your garden but with skillful pruning it can become that gorgeous layered sculpture you see in pictures. 

This workshop helps gardeners understand what is going on when woody plants are pruned.  Learning to work together with the plants' predictable natural response is key.  Anything is then possible - espalier, topiary, a trained rather than grafted standard, maximum blooming each season, healthy full hedges without bare legs, trees with billowing grace rather than a dense mop top, a rejuvenated old shrub with dignity and maturity rather than having to rip it out for something new. 

The workshop focuses on shrubs but also covers the training of a young trees, and basic do's and don'ts when pruning larger trees.  Hands-on demonstrations and training videos are used whether we're indoors or out and a detailed 24 page lesson manual to take home will ensure that you'll have the information to review when you need it. 

P.S.  Last year I had a beautiful large Maple cut down for a client.  A split had developed, caused by a major branch that had been allowed to develop with very poor structure ("included" bark) and it was now threatening to break off and crash into the house.  If early in the tree’s life the owner had known what to look for and made just one small pruning snip, the tree could have lived a long life. What is “included” bark you ask? Just one of the valuable details you’ll learn in this workshop.                                                                



LIFTING AND DIVIDING PERENNIALS
A 3 hour workshop

Whether you’re rejuvenating an overgrown Iris or want to multiply what you have to spread around a larger area or share with a friend, dividing perennials gives them renewed vigor and is an inexpensive way to expand your garden. In this workshop we’ll go through an overview of the different types of root systems, how to determine the best times for particular plants, and hands-on demonstrations of different perennials to show exactly what you’re looking for when dividing their roots. You’d be amazed at just how many divisions can be made from just one overgrown patch of daylily, hosta, coral bell, Iris, Dahlia, or ornamental grass. You’ll take home a few starter plants of your own from the demonstration plants, and gain the know-how you need to create hundreds of dollars worth of new plants from the ones you already have.

 


 

GREAT PLANT COMBINATIONS
A 3 hour workshop on designing complimentary plant 
partners and trios for all seasons.

The huge assortment of plants available today is overwhelming and its easy to end up with a cluttered mess instead of the beautiful garden you envisioned. In this workshop we’ll talk about how to think of your plants in partnerships or trios and demonstrate some classic examples of plant combinations that work well in any setting.   Learn how to take your garden from spring to autumn with something blooming or contributing at all times through creating good partnerships.  

Seeing a plant’s shape and form, not just flower colour; 
staging on slopes; 
colour combinations that sing;
foliage contrasts; 
creating vignettes with something for each season;


 

 
 

 

 

 

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consultations - design & planting - expert shrub pruning - garden maintenance - workshops and classes. 
Over 25 years experience designing, creating, maintaining, talking about, teaching, and writing about, perennial plants and gardens!

This type of loose topiary, or bonsai-like pruning is the best thing to do with an old overgrown evergreen, instead of ripping it out.Email:   Evelyn@GardenPossibilities.com

GARDEN POSSIBILITIES  Perennial Garden Services
Evelyn Wolf, garden consultant,  905 478-7395 or cell 289-716-1408
                               your perennial garden expert

20507 Leslie St.  (NE corner of Leslie & Queensville Sdrd.  By appt. only please.). 
Queensville (East Gwillimbury), Ontario, L0G 1R0  

All photos and articles © Evelyn Wolf, 2018.