Category: Training

End of a Long Journey

About three years ago I embarked on a new journey … that of becoming certified in landscape design. The journey took a full year longer than I had planned and hoped, due to work, family, and general life responsibilities, but that’s all in the past now. I finally reach the end of this long journey.

It involved teaching myself computer aided drafting, following twenty-five in-depth lessons on site and level surveying; developing concept, hardscape, and planting plans; designing all aspects of a residential property including fences, walls, steps, water features, garden structures, habitat gardens, vegetable gardens, border beds, lawns, low-maintenance plantings, and native plantings;  delving into landscape design history and, among other things, honing my knowledge of botanical terminology.

For one lesson I designed a garden as if I were a female settler at Plimoth Plantation. For another lesson I designed a butterfly and herb garden.

I became lax on blogging about the lessons simply because of time constraints, but the lessons marched on.

There was the border planting in front of a brick wall, with both summer (top drawing) and winter (bottom drawing assuming all perennials are cut back) views. (For unknown reasons when converting to a jpeg for posting here, the drawing lost its sharpness, but it still shows the general design ideas.)

border planting in front of brick wall-summer and winter views


The working drawings, both plan and elevation views) of a pergola.

pergola drawings


The fence lesson that gave me the chance to design a garden fence for espaliered fruit trees.

espalier style fence


Plus, there were many full property design lessons too large to show here in any meaningful detail. Living and working in a rural section of Connecticut means there are very few small properties to practice design skills upon. As my instructor noted in her assessment of my final project, “I think you have designed more acreage than any other student to date. Large properties are a lot more difficult than average-sized ones and this last assignment shows that you are very capable of handling the task. The design, presentation and documentation were all excellent.”

Am I an expert? Not by any means, but, I have a lot more knowledge and understanding of what it takes to design beautiful and functional landscapes, and … I fulfilled a long desired goal … and this makes me happy.

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Gain Valuable Lessons in Organic Land Care

Registration is open for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Organic Land Care (OLC) Accreditation Courses in MA, CT and RI. This 5-day intensive course trains land care professionals and advanced gardeners to design and maintain healthy, ecologically-sound landscapes.

I took the course last winter during cold, blustery and snowy days. The training was a welcome relief from the weather. As I posted after passing the course:

I was immersed in training that pulled my sense of gardening and my belief in natural processes together – the NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Organic Land Care Program. This course, offered annually, covers all aspects of land care and trains you to look at the impact gardening and landscape practices have beyond the edges of individual properties. Read on … 

The OLC course brought together all the organic gardening principals I’d followed during my gardening life through its focus on three main themes … kind of the Hippocratic Oath of Land Care:

  • Do No Harm
  • Protect Local Ecosystems
  • Right Plant, Right Place

The OLC course teaches new respect for the life and diversity of soil, and the phenomenal importance it plays in plant health. Did you know that one teaspoon of soil contains millions of organisms that support plant life?

The OLC course encourages seeking design inspiration from natural landscapes and native plant communities.

The OLC course reminds that every landscape decision we make will have either a positive or negative impact. The key is to seek the positive.

Coursework delves into site analysis and design; wetlands and watercourses; native, non-native and invasive plants; wildlife, pest and disease management; soil health; water use and quality; lawn care and lawn alternatives; fertilizers, soil amendments, weeds and mulches; and planting and pruning … as individual entities and from a big picture aspect.

TnThe Massachusetts class in Worcester runs January 9-13, 2012; the Connecticut class in New Haven runs February 15-22, 2012, and Rhode Island’s class in Charlestown runs February 22 through March 2, 2012. You can take the course for personal education or, upon passing the test, for professional accreditation.

Interested? Head here for more information, or contact me through a comment below.

If you decide to take the course I’d be thrilled to be mentioned as your referrer. Not only will I know I led someone else to this valuable training but … for the sake of complete transparency … NOFA will give me a discount on my next OLC re-accreditation fee.

Won’t you join me and more than 500 like-trained individuals accredited in Organic Land Care? You’ll gain knowledge that you’ll carry for the rest of your gardening days. If you are part of a business or organization that sends students in a group of three or more, NOFA will cut 15% off the price of the course.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry