two adults viewing the main fountain garden through a camera screen at dusk

Learning Together, Near and Far

By Matthew Thomas, on

It’s been nearly 18 months since we last welcomed students into the Gardens as part of our in-person Continuing Education programming … but all of that changes this October, as we once again offer onsite learning experiences here at Longwood, but with a new twist. We’ve moved our in-person programming out of the classroom and into Longwood’s outdoor and cutting-edge spaces, with plenty of room to learn and have fun while engaging in early morning plein air painting in our Meadow Garden to after-hours photography in our Main Fountain Garden to container creation in our new nursery production greenhouse … and much more. Our onsite learning opportunities join our full suite of new, engaging online courses, experiences, and opportunities to help you learn and grow, no matter where you are. Whether you’re joining us online or onsite, we can’t wait to learn even more with you.

For those joining us in the Gardens, we proudly kick off our onsite programs with En Plein Air: The Meadow. This hybrid offering starts with an October 7 hour-long webinar with artists Frank DePietro and Diana Heitzman as they discuss technique for painting outside, so we can hit the ground running once here at Longwood. On October 8, students join Frank and Diana for an early morning plein air experience in our Meadow Garden, during which they can enjoy the rare opportunity to paint the morning light shining its golden hues over this gorgeous 86-acre parcel of land. We’ll meet at the Visitor Center before taking our Meadow Shuttle together to the Meadow and kicking off a wondrous morning spent in the beauty of an ever-changing landscape.

Enjoy plein air painting in our Meadow Garden on October 8. Photo by William Hill.

If painting isn’t your calling, we would be thrilled to have you on October 17 for an opportunity to not only create an outdoor container that beautifully expands your fall palette, but also one to go behind the scenes  in our new nursery production greenhouse. Choose from a morning, afternoon, or evening session of Creative Containers: The Beauty of Fall and join our own Director of Continuing Education Matthew Ross to create an outdoor container featuring new and exciting selections of annuals, perennials, and more. Students will work on the same benches that Longwood’s horticulture team uses to prepare plants and displays throughout the year. During this experience, you will also get the chance to tour the entire greenhouse, seeing the spaces where everything from our cascade chrysanthemums to our holiday poinsettia displays are conceived and grown.

Join us in our state-of-the-art nursery production greenhouse on October 17 for Creative Containers: The Beauty of Fall. Photo by Eileen Tercha.

For the photographers in our midst, join Jon Cox and Dick Greenwood on October 27 for an exclusive, after-hours chance to photograph a private Illuminated Fountain Performance. During Photo Op! Main Fountain Garden, catch the perfect sunset lighting and end the evening capturing the colorful jets and ambiance of a fountain show, all while working alongside two premier photographers. The evening before the onsite portion, join Jon and Dick online to prepare for the evening and talk about how best to photograph the Main Fountain Garden at night.

Enjoy (and capture!) an exclusive after-hours Illuminated Fountain Performance with Photo Op! Main Fountain Garden on October 27. Photo by William Hill.

While we are thrilled to be offering in-person programming once more, we will still be hosting a wide-ranging assortment of virtual experiences—giving us the ability to bring to you an even more diverse range of talented instructors and material than ever before. If you are attempting to enliven your home garden beds with native plants (a trend that has continued to grow in recent years), we welcome you to join us for our October 5 online offering Plants with a Purpose: Late Season Natives, taught by Carrie Wiles of North Creek Nursery. This virtual program is all about finding the right plants that add late summer interest to your landscape, in addition to providing valuable pollen and nectar reserves to native pollinators. Carrie will share how to create an abundant landscape that lasts from late summer through the winter months by utilizing plants with late-season blooms, intriguing textures, and benefits for pollinators and native insects. Then put your knowledge to work with 50 landscape-ready plugs shipped directly to your door from North Creek. 

Our virtual Plants with a Purpose: Late Season Natives offering includes 50 landscape-ready plugs ready for your home garden. Photo by Candie Ward.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our floral design program offerings for this fall, among them our full-day virtual program featuring two stars of the floral world. Join us online on October 14 for A Touch of Hollywood: Showstopping Floral Design as Full Bloom (HBO Max) finalist Ace Berry AIFD, TMF, and Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore in Washington DC (known for her passion for California-grown flowers) talk the art of expert arrangements. Then, using a collection of unusual and unlikely blooms and foliage curated by Kelly and shipped to your door, create two showstopping designs inspired by Ace and Kelly’s work.

Explore the art of expert arrangements with Kelly Shore (left) and Ace Berry, AIFD, TMF (right) during our October 14 A Touch of Hollywood: Showstopping Floral Design virtual offering. Photos courtesy of Kelly Shore and Ace Berry.

We encourage you to explore our full list of in-person and virtual offerings and find a program (or two!) that piques your interest or furthers your horticultural exploration. As you know, our goal is to help you broaden your world by learning in ours, and we couldn’t be more excited for our fall programs—both online and in-person. Whatever style of program you choose to embark upon with us this fall, we can’t wait to explore, expand, and continue our love of learning with you.

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