Grow a Green Thumb

Gardening workshops connect novices with Rhode Island's most accomplished gardeners

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If your yard could use some help, don’t worry. There are workshops held by gardening experts all over the state this spring.

The Farmer’s Daughter in South Kingstown is a nursery and garden store that has greenhouses and artful plant displays as far as the eye can see, and offers extensive classes at varying levels of expertise. In April alone, there are classes in Easter Tablescape Design (April 13), Miniature Landscapes and Fairy Gardens (April 19) and Succulent Wreath Design (April 29).

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol has some of the state’s most beautiful gardens, and they teach regular workshops on gardening, floral design and landscape design. They’re hosting a Gardener’s Round Table about growing begonias on April 28 and April 30, and a workshop on Creative Window Box Solutions on April 29.

Growing is one thing – growing safely and sustainably is entirely another. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island is a collaboration between farmers, consumers, gardeners and environmentalists to promote best organic growing practices. The group offers regular educational workshops, called CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), which are free to the public. On May 17, there’s an on-farm workshop in Slocum on soil fertility, cover cropping and plant diversity.

Horticulturalist Jayne Merner Senecal believes the best way to learn something is to do it – so she’s teaching monthly hands-on gardening workshops at Earth Care Farm in Charlestown. April 22 will focus on sowing carrots, beets and potatoes and preventative insect methods. May 20 will focus on planting leafy vegetables. Any visit to Earth Care Farm, a compost farm that just debuted its new blend Rhody Gold, is an educational experience: the farm is turning 40 this year and Jayne is making a documentary about her family’s green story.