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Edison, Ford Winter Estates offers gardening classes

By EDISON FORD ESTATES - | Jan 5, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Participants attend a gardening class at Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.

In November, Edison and Ford Winter Estates resumed its gardening class series. Taught by horticultural specialist, Karen Maxwell, each class focuses on gardening aspects in Southwest Florida.

Building on the monthly Garden Talks, the classes provide a more in-depth look at different areas of gardening and an opportunity to chat one-on-one with an experienced horticulture professional. The information taught is helpful for anyone new to Florida and the classes can also be purchased as a gift.

Upcoming classes include:

– Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m.: Introduction to Florida Gardening, Part I

Gardening in Southwest Florida requires unique knowledge as it is the only state in the continental U.S. that is in USDA growing zone 10. The class is designed to provide gardeners with all the tools to un-learn previous gardening experiences and command the world of tropical gardening in less than perfect soil. Part I will cover plant taxonomy, plant reproduction, working with Southwest Florida weather challenges, understanding the differences between native and ornamental plants and recognizing invasive species. Palm trees will also be discussed, and a list of resources will be provided. Cost is $35 for members and $50 for non-members; or $50 for members and $75 for non-members (Part I and II).

– Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m.: Introduction to Florida Gardening, Part II

The Part II program will dive deep into some of the important elements of becoming a successful gardener in Southwest Florida. State programs such as Florida Friendly Gardening and Master Gardener Volunteer program will be covered. Additional topics include how to use fertilizers and soil amendments, common pest recognition and chemical and biologic controls, common weed identification, good irrigation and draining techniques, and selecting plants for the landscape. A recommended resource list will be provided. Cost is $35 for members and $50 for non-members; or $50 for members and $75 for non-members (Part I and II).

– Feb. 9 at 1:30 p.m.: Choosing and Caring for Palm Trees in Southwest Florida

Many people do not know that palms are not actually trees. The program will cover what they are and some of the 2,000 different species. There are close to 100 varieties growing around the estates, and new species are added every season. Participants will learn about native and exotic palms, the unique needs of different species, and why to choose a self-cleaning palm. Watering, feeding and space requirements will also be covered. A walk through the palmetum will follow the classroom instruction. Cost is $35 for members and $50 for non-members.

– March 16 at 1:30 p.m.: Shade Gardening in Southwest Florida

One of the amazing aspects of tropical gardening is the variety of plants that can be grown, and in fact, thrive in shady areas. The class will help one design a multi-layered shade garden that mixes good texture, offers color and contrast and compliments existing plants or trees. Participants are encouraged to bring their shade garden challenges for ground cover, annual or perennial recommendations. Shade garden containers are another great way to highlight a darker area of a garden, lanai or screen room and design ideas for these spaces will also be covered. The class will also cover watering issues and maintenance. After the in-class experience, participants will walk through two shade gardens at the estates. Cost is $35 for members and $50 for non-members.

– April 13 at 1:30 p.m.: Container Gardening and Introduction to Floral Arranging

The program includes materials for participants to make and take their creation. Understanding how plants are conditioned is key to success when working with live plants, as well as how to care for the arrangement. The class takes basic floral arranging up a notch by teaching how to braid plants to add an interesting highlight. Many of the arrangement techniques taught are displayed in the Art in Bloom event, held semi-annually at the estates. Pre-registration is required on or before April 2. Cost is $45 for members and $60 for non-members.

Classes are held in a climate controlled and accessible classroom. Advance registration is required at EdisonFord.org or in-person at the ticket office. Classes are limited to 25 and masks are required. Participants will receive a 20 percent discount coupon toward plant purchases in the Garden Shoppe.

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates is at 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.