See It, Learn It, Do It: Practical Insights to Grow Your Gardening Skills

We have a wide array of seminars to help you amp up your skills in the garden. Learn to prune shrubs and fruit trees like a pro, get started on a making compost tea, set up drip irrigation, mount plants, start seeds, buy houseplants and improve your soil.

No matter whether you’re a newbie or a well-seasoned gardener, you can always learn tricks and techniques with our popular DIY Seminars. You’ll be glad you did, saving yourself time and money in the future, with a healthier—and more beautiful—garden.

The Seminars by Category are listed in chronological order. Please check the Seminar Schedule for a full list of ALL our seminars.

All seminars at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival are FREE with your ticket!

Buy Tickets Early and Save!

The Art of Pruning Perennials Revisited
Tracy DiSabato-Aust—2022 Show Judge, horticulturist, designer and best-selling author, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

Are you new to the art of pruning perennials or could your pruning skills use sharpening? Then join internationally renowned Tracy DiSabato-Aust for the first time, or for a refresher lesson, about the exciting and innovative techniques of pruning perennials. Learn to prune to delay flowering, control pests and disease, reduce the need for staking and increase overwintering. Information based on her updated best-selling perennial maintenance bible “The Well-Tended Perennial Garden”!

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 11:30 am / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s appearance sponsored by the

Bellevue Botanical Garden Society

 

BBGS-Logo

Pruning ABCs for Healthy Trees and Shrubs
Bess BronsteinEdCC educator, horticulture consultant and ISA Certified Arborist

Does this sound familiar? A few years ago you enthusiastically purchased new trees and shrubs for your garden. They have grown, as is their habit. What do you do now to keep them managed, yet healthy and aesthetically pleasing? Don’t just grab those old pruning shears and start to make round balls or squares of varying sizes. Learn the ABCs of proper pruning techniques and timing for a variety of ornamental trees and shrubs, and find satisfaction in a pruning job well done. Your shrubs and trees will thank you!

Thursday, Feb 10 at 11:45 am / DIY Stage

Mounting Plants: Growing Epiphytic and Plants Indoors
Ann Amato—Horticulturist and seed propagator at Cistus Nursery and blogger, amateurbotannist.com

When you run out of shelf space for all your beloved houseplants, go vertical and use your walls! Join a horticulturist and houseplant geek to discover easy techniques to mount your epiphytic plants. From bromeliads to huperzias (club mosses), orchids to gesneriads (African Violet relatives), each has its specific requirements needed to grow into the best possible specimen plant. Sometimes doing so in a small terrarium is best. Always doing so with adequate light is key to your success. Ann will walk you through the process and teach you some propagation tips along the way.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 1:30 pm / DIY Stage

Let’s Have a Seeds & Stems Party
Janice Cox—Author, Natural Beauty from the Garden and Beautiful Flowers

Get ready for spring by learning how to make this your best seed starting year ever. Janice will help you understand to decipher seed packet lingo, prepare your organic seed starting soil mix, and plant and tend seeds of all varieties. She will also cover stem cutting techniques from mature plants so you can increase your plant inventory from your own backyard. Learn to make sustainable pots that you can use for your own garden or patio containers.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 5:00 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Building an Orchard Mason Bee Pollinating Colony in your Backyard
James Ullrich—Owner, Knox Cellars Mason Bees

This demonstration covers developing of a backyard sanctuary for our invaluable native pollinators—Orchard Mason bees. Jim will cover all of the Mason bee's needs, including proper housing, housing location, and plants to assist in the success of bringing Mason bees into one’s yard. He’ll also review the life cycle of the Mason bee, and the maintenance requirements of your colony during the pollination process, and how to harvest, clean the cocoons and store them

Thursday, Feb 10 at 11:45 am / DIY Stage

You’re Stuck with the Soil You’ve Got—Now Deal With It!
Dr. Linda Chalker-ScottWSU Horticulture Professor and author, How Plants Work and The Informed Gardener

Linda Chalker-Scott gives you all the best dirt on garden soil. She will address the most common problem seen in residential landscapes: poor water movement. She’ll demonstrate how mulches and amendments can either improve or worsen drainage. What happens when you use gravel or foam peanuts in the bottom of pots? Does water move best through landscape fabric, newspaper, cardboard, or wood chips? You’ll see the evidence for yourself! This seminar will save you and your plants heartbreak by better understanding the science of healthy soil.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 1:30 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

GARDEN 101: All the Right Cuts
Pruning Fruit Trees in All Seasons, Especially Summer
Robert Kourik— Author of Sustainable Food Gardens, Your Edible Landscape and Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates

Renovation and Renewal of an Aging Garden
Bess BronsteinEdCC educator, horticulture consultant and ISA Certified Arborist

How to Plant a “Prune-less Garden”
Christina Pfeiffer—Horticulture consultant and educator, ISA certified arborist and co-author, Pacific Northwest Gardening Month-by-Month

Pruning is both art and science, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating if you learn basic techniques. Here three experts will get you started on the right cuts to make, and when to make them. Robert Kourik debunks and replaces the most common pruning myths about pruning fruit trees, with scientifically proven guidelines, and illustrates the very best training or shaping techniques for optimum fruitfulness. Next, Bess Bronstein helps you tackle an aging garden so that you can best plan how to take an overgrown chaos of huge shrubs, using pruning techniques for size and density reduction, plant definition and rejuvenation. Finally, Christina Pfeiffer will identify how plant choices, placement, and cultivation, along with those famous last words, “you can always prune it to keep it smaller,” contribute to creating a prune-a-lot garden. Learn how to optimize plant selection and how design elements can help set the stage for less pruning over the long term life of the garden.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 2:30 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

 

The Garden 101 Series is sponsored by ColibriNW

 

How to Make Compost Tea: It’s Not Rocket Science
Diane Miessler—Certified Permaculture Designer, compost goddess and author, Grow Your Soil

In this seminar, Diane will discuss of the Soil Food Web and why you love it, give a quick tutorial on making compost, and demonstrate how to make compost tea. All attendees will leave with a basic knowledge of the soil food web—what it comprises and what it does; information that will enable them to make healthy, wormy compost; and knowledge of how to make easy compost tea with simple, readily-available equipment. At the end of the seminar there will be a drawing and some lucky attendee will leave with a compost tea kit!

Thursday, Feb 10 at 3:15 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Create Your Own “Flower Seed” Paper
Janice Cox—Author, Natural Beauty from the Garden and Beautiful Flowers

Seed paper is very on trend right now. Companies and garden enthusiasts are using recycled paper with seeds, herbs, and dried botanicals embedded in it as postcards, invitations and business cards. Imagine sending someone a beautiful card that also grows flowers. You will learn how to upcycle scrap paper such as junk mail, newspaper, shopping bags and computer documents into beautiful and useable seed paper creations. Janice will demonstrate this craft that combines recycling and gardening and is also good for the earth.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 5:00 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Pruning Demystified: Be a Barber, Not a Butcher
C L FornariAuthor, Coffee for Roses and The Cocktail Garden Hour and award-winning co-host, Plantrama Podcast

In this seminar C.L. explains when, how and why plants should be pruned, and how plants respond to different pruning cuts. Discover the general rules for pruning and hear a “recipe” that you can use to approach any shrub or tree—before you make a single cut. In addition to seeing alternatives to trying to make a large plant smaller, you will learn when a plant’s appearance can be improved with careful pruning, and when it should be transplanted to a larger space that fits its size.

Friday, Feb 11 at 9:30 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Light, Water, Action! How to Grow Beautiful Houseplants
Susan Maki—Designer, buyer, and houseplant merchandise manager for Squak Mountain Nursery

Are you new to the houseplant obsession? This seminar is for you! Susan will begin with the basics of light, selection, watering and fertilizing. She’ll help you decipher ambiguous light labels, and really understand and measure your light, so you can best decide where your houseplants should go. She’ll also help you match your plants to your personality and lifestyle—nurturer or neglector— to better choose your plant family. Finally, you’ll gain an understanding how to care for your plants, which is critical to your success.

Friday, Feb 11 at 11:45 am / DIY Stage

Drip Irrigation for a Lush Landscape
Robert Kourik— Author of Sustainable Food Gardens, Your Edible Landscape and Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates

Drip irrigation is the most effective way to grow superior plants, but to non-plumbers, putting in a drip system with all those little-bitty parts may seem utterly intimidating. This seminar will demonstrate how easy it is to piece together an efficient layout, detailing the parts needed to filter and regulate water; what types of tubing to use; how to lay out the tubing for maximum effectiveness; and how to make your finished system invisibly attractive.

Friday, Feb 11 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

How to Make Compost Tea: It’s Not Rocket Science
Diane Miessler—Certified Permaculture Designer, compost goddess and author, Grow Your Soil

In this seminar, Diane will discuss of the Soil Food Web and why you love it, give a quick tutorial on making compost, and demonstrate how to make compost tea. All attendees will leave with a basic knowledge of the soil food web—what it comprises and what it does; information that will enable them to make healthy, wormy compost; and knowledge of how to make easy compost tea with simple, readily-available equipment. At the end of the seminar there will be a drawing and some lucky attendee will leave with a compost tea kit!

Friday, Feb 11 at 1:30 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

The Complete Guide to No-Dig Gardening
Charlie Nardozzi—Regional Emmy award-winning radio, TV host and author, Gardening Complete, Foodscaping and No-Dig Gardening

Many vegetable and flower gardeners are looking for new ways to garden without harming the ecosystem and soil. Traditional annual gardening usually involves tilling, digging and turning the soil yearly. However, that destroys much of the soil life you are trying to enhance. No-Dig Gardening offers a new way by mimicking natural systems and building healthy soil with less work, less weeds and less need for watering and fertilizing. Discover ways to set up, plant, maintain, and overwinter no-dig beds. You (and your back) will be glad you did!

Friday, Feb 11 at 2:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

GARDEN 101: Grow Your Edible Gardening Skills
Size Doesn’t Matter: Growing Fruit in Small Spaces
Christy WilhelmiAward-winning blogger, Gardenerd and author, Gardening for Geeks and Grow Your Own Mini Fruit Garden

Organic Control of Vegetable Garden Pests
Susan Mulvihill—Author, Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook, co-author, Northwest Gardener’s Handbook and garden columnist for Spokesman Review

Winter Edibles: Tap Into the Power of Season Extension
Bill Thorness—Author, Cool Season Gardener and Edible Heirlooms

It seems everyone started edible gardening in 2020, for health, safety and the delicious rewards! Here are three great seminars by the pros that will help you squeeze even more fruit in your garden, discover ways to beat those pesky pests, and extend your garden season with tasty winter edibles. Christy Wilhelmi shares techniques and strategies to grow fruit, even if you only have a balcony, patio, or small garden to work with. Explore Backyard Orchard Culture methods, container gardening tips, pruning guidelines, pest management and soil prep for an abundant, healthy garden. Next Susan Mulvihill covers 10 simple steps you can take in your garden to keep your plants healthy and better able to withstand pest attacks, how to identify bugs before taking any action, and increase your knowledge of the most damaging pests and simple organic methods that effectively control them. Finally, Bill Thorness shows you how you can grow vegetables year round! Learn how to build or find the best winter-growing devices, when to use them and what to grow under them. Tap into season extension and discover the many ways you can keep harvesting all year.

Friday, Feb 11 at 2:30 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

 

The Garden 101 Series is sponsored by ColibriNW

 

How to Fix (and Avoid) the Most Common Pruning Mistakes
Christina Pfeiffer—Horticulture consultant and educator, ISA certified arborist and co-author, Pacific Northwest Gardening Month-by-Month

A well-pruned tree or shrub adds value and beauty to your landscape and ensures a healthier plant. If you’ve been down the path of unexpected results after well-intentioned pruning of shrubs and small trees, this seminar will help you figure out what kinds of pruning mistakes can be fixed, when and how to do it, and how to avoid some of the most common pruning errors.

Friday, Feb 11 at 5:00 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

The Ins and Outs of Irrigation: Choosing A Watering System for You
Jeff Gordon—Owner, Daisy Rain Garden Systems and inventor of Sprinkler Pot

The key to a successful garden is consistent, adequate watering. Come learn the difference between surface, sprinkler, and drip irrigation and determine the best approach to keeping your plants healthy and thriving. You will learn about water-saving techniques, ideal materials, installing and maintaining irrigation systems, and much more. Special focus will be given to different types of drip irrigation and strategies to set gardens up with drip irrigation that is both effective and durable, saving you water—and money.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 10:00 am / DIY Stage

No More Square Shrubs: Fundamentals of Pruning Shrubs and Trees
Charlie Nardozzi—Regional Emmy award-winning radio, TV host and author, Gardening Complete, Foodscaping and No-Dig Gardening

Many gardeners are often overwhelmed when they try to approach pruning a shrub or small tree. In this seminar, Charlie will help demystify pruning by talking about when to prune various flowering and non-flowering shrubs and trees, some basic pruning cuts you can do with all shrubs and trees, and how to renovate a plant that has gotten out of control. He'll also review pruning techniques for new trees, how to prune for more fruiting and the tools you'll need to do the job.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 11:45 am / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Growing Orchids Like a Pro
Joe Grienauer—Orchid expert and owner, Emerald City Orchids and 2022 Show Garden Co-Creator

Joe will help you get orchids that you treasure with this great hands-on demonstration. He’ll cover basic orchid background, cultural requirements, care, fertilization, and pest/disease control and reblooming. He’ll review greenhouse vs. window vs. artificial light growing techniques, how to initiate flowers on a healthy plant, which orchids are best for newbies, demo orchid repotting and mounting an orchid to a piece of wood. Even brown thumbs can grow orchids if you learn the basic techniques!

Saturday, Feb 12 at 1:30 pm / DIY Stage

Big Flower Dreams: Flower Farming Tips for the Backyard Cutting Garden
Adam and Jennifer O’Neal—Owners, Pepperharrow Farm, popular YouTube hosts and co-authors, Small Farms, Big Dreams

Meet the popular YouTube flower-growing couple whose videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times. Jennifer and Adam O'Neal, authors of the new book Small Farm, Big Dreams, introduce their floral-filled lifestyle and no-nonsense advice on successfully producing flowers—whether for your raised bed or a quarter-acre plot. They share more than a decade of know-how, sharing useful, rule-debunking tips, techniques and shortcuts for anyone who dreams of more home-grown flowers.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 3:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Colors from the Dye Garden
Julie BeelerArtist and Founder, Bloom & Dye and co-author, Forever Flowers

Featured in the upcoming book Forever Flowers, Julie Beeler of Bloom & Dye will introduce you to the fascinating alchemy of natural dyes. She shows how to discover the dye plants growing around us and teaches how to unlock a plant's natural ‘tinctoria.' Julie will share some of her favorite, easy-to-grow dye plants, with tips on how to extract unique and colorful pigments for textile dyeing and other new forms of botanical artwork, including sample project ideas.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 5:00 pm / DIY Stage

The Facts of Light: Helping Houseplants Thrive
Lisa Eldred Steinkopf—Award-winning blogger, The Houseplant Guru and author of Houseplant Party, Grow in the Dark and Houseplants: The Complete Guide

The only thing that gives plants their energy is light. So many people do not give the importance to lighting for their houseplants that they need to. Lighting is one of the most important aspects that allow a plant to thrive in the home. The Houseplant Guru will cover sunlight and electric light and help you determine what light you have to offer a plant in your home. Learn how to make the most of your light and your plants will love you for it.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 6:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

DIY Market Bouquets: Easy Tips from the Pros
Adam and Jennifer O’Neal—Owners, Pepperharrow Farm, popular YouTube hosts and co-authors, Small Farms, Big Dreams

Assembling a bouquet to take to market can seem overwhelming, but with a little inspiration and practical tips, expert flower growers Jennifer and Adam O’Neal will show you how to assemble beautiful flowers for a gorgeous presentation and how to use a market bouquet to create a stunning arrangement to grace any space.

Sunday, Feb 13 at 10:00 am / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Harvest These Tips: Victory Gardening for Beginners
Diane Blazek—Executive Director at All America Selections and National Garden Bureau

James H. Burdett founded National Garden Bureau in 1920 and wrote the original Victory Garden Manual in 2040. A century later the COVID pandemic hit and the country again turned to Victory Gardening. National Garden Bureau relaunched the Victory Garden concept in March 2020, calling it Victory Gardening 2.0. Those Victory Garden blogs had many beginner tips that are sure to help any gardener be more successful. This seminar will share some of the original Victory Garden pointers as well as those for today’s gardens which are sure to be valuable take home tips.

Sunday, Feb 13 at 10:30 am / Hood Room

Planting Crash Course for Beginners: Seeds, Seedlings, Bulbs & Plants
Sean and Allison McManus—Co-owners of Spoken Garden, co-authors of The First-time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers, and YouTube channel hosts

Are you confused or intimidated about adding plants or sowing seeds? If you’re a new gardener (or just want a refresher) learn valuable hands-on skills and best practices for planting your seeds, seedlings, bulbs, and plants with confidence. You’ll take away and apply planting skills to help your plants thrive, including correct planting depth, spacing, proper handling, and the materials and tools you need to get the job done.

Sunday, Feb 13 at 11:45 am / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Cultivating Your Green Thumb: Indoor Gardening and Houseplants 101
Lisa Eldred Steinkopf—Award-winning blogger, The Houseplant Guru and author of Houseplant Party, Grow in the Dark and Houseplants: The Complete Guide

Well-chosen, well cared-for houseplants bring life, beauty and health to a home. This seminar is invaluable for new “plant parents” and also offers new insights to seasoned houseplant growers. All aspects of houseplant gardening will be covered, including water, light, fertilization, propagation, and more. The Houseplant Guru will cover how to best choose a plant for your home and what to know before you go shopping. Plant parenting is easy if you start with the right information.

Sunday, Feb 13 at 12:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Fertilizers: The Good, The Bad, And the Completely Unnecessary
Dr. Linda Chalker-ScottWSU Horticulture Professor and author, How Plants Work and The Informed Gardener

There are so many different fertilizers out there: granular, slow-release, or liquid, not to mention synthetic and organic. What works and what doesn’t? This session will present the science (or lack thereof) behind many popular fertilizer recommendations. After debunking these myths, you will learn a new approach that combines soil test results with science-based recommendations for providing the necessary nutrients and avoiding those that are already at toxic levels.

Sunday, Feb 13 at 4:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow