Garden Education Center announces May programming

The Garden Education Center (GEC) has an extensive array of spring programs this month.

On Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. it will be the Annual May Gardeners Market. The market will feature vendors for garden and home. The event is free and open to all, rain or shine. This annual community event helps support the GEC’s many outreach programs.

On Wednesday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to noon it’s the Art of Decoupage. You can bring a friend and spend a fun morning creating art by combining images under glass with Laura Cunningham and Amanda Davis. The class is open to beginners and advanced students.

Then on Thursday, May 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. there’s a trip planned to Reeves-Reed Arboretum and Greenwood Gardens which has more than five acres of formal gardens including the Keller Azalea Garden, Rock Garden and the 100 year old Wisner House. It was originally designed by a partner of Frederick Law Olmstead in 1889 and recently enhanced using design trends of the early 20th century.

Greenwood Gardens has recently been restored and opened to the public and a seven-year preservation project has brought the gardens to life. The original gardens were commissioned in 1912 and subsequent owners added formal Italianate gardens with colorful tiles and rustic stone tea houses.

The next scheduled event is Monday, May 12, 10:30 a.m. with a Dahlia Potting Workshop. This popular session is a repeat of the GEC’s annual hands-on lesson from dahlia expert Steve Nowotarski. Visitors will be provided with five high-quality tubers, soil, flats and best growing advice to ensure spectacular blooms from July through October. There will be a tuber exchange for established growers within the Greenwich Dahlia Society as well as an opportunity to purchase additional tubers from Steve.

On Monday, May 15, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. it will be Organic Composting, Vermiculture, Bokashi. Organically made compost is synonymous with sound gardening. Master gardener Nick Mancini will teach how to build an inexpensive bi and discuss the differences between “hot piles” versus cold composting and which bins are best for each process. He will also speak about vermicomposting and the Japanese way of composting called Bokashi. One lucky person will win a bunch of red wigglers to start a wormery.

Then on Friday, May 16, at 10:30 a.m. it’s Wildflowers and the Primrose. A sight to behold are the primrose in the wetlands of the Pinetum. Planted more than 75 years ago, these beauties are breathtaking when they are at their peak in the spring. The class will also visit the 50th Anniversary Wildflower Trail and learn about the lore and adaptability our native woodland wildflowers. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. There is a rain date scheduled for May 22.

On Thursday, May 22, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m, you can visit Brandywine Cottage and Hedgleigh Spring. The first stop will be renowned gardener David Culp’s spectacular year round garden in Downington. Pa., where Mr. Culp will lead the group on a tour of the peripheral “screen” plantings, the smaller areas surrounding the house, and the exuberant main borders.

During the tour, he will reveal his tips, techniques and plants that ensure the success of each area of the garden. He will also discuss the garden’s “signature plants,” including hellebores, snowdrops, roses, hydrangeas and asters. The class includes lunch at a restaurant on the way to consummate plantsman Charles Cresson’s garden at Hedgleigh Springs, Pennsylvania, which was originally planted by his grandfather over 90 years ago. Mr. Cresson has maintained the integrity of the garden while adding to it so that it now features more than 2,000 species and varieties in ten distinct “rooms,” which make it seem much larger than its two acres.

The GEC will close out the  month’s events on Thursday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to noon with Getting the Most Out of Your Vegetable Garden. Small spaces can produce an abundant harvest when following a succession planting plan.

You can join Alan Gorkin for a walk through the teaching vegetable garden at Lake Avenue Farm to see first-hand how to get the maximum yield from a vegetable garden. He will focus on companion and succession planting, followed by questions and answers.

This class is held at 668 Lake Avenue.

To register for any of these programs, visit or call 203-869-9242. The Garden Education Center is located at 130 Bible Street.

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