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© 2019 Idaho Botanical Garden

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Treasure Valley Gardening Certificate Program (Sold Out)


This year’s program is now SOLD OUT. Thank you for your interest and if you are still looking for education opportunities check out our Garden Classes & Workshops

Gardening in the greater Boise area is a unique challenge and different from gardening just about anywhere else in the nation.

We have quirky soils, only 11″ of rain, smokin’ hot summers and bitterly cold winters, but plants and landscapes can thrive here. In the Treasure Valley Gardening Certificate program you’ll get equipped with the knowledge you need to care for your yard from highly qualified, local experts.

$310 per person for non- members and $300 for members
January – October 2021

Sign Up Here


Throughout the program and to earn a Certificate, you must attend 12 core classes and at least 2 of the 4 electives. Topics include Botany for Gardeners, Plant Health, Vegetable Gardening, Treasure Valley Weeds, Tree Planting & Care, and Pruning. The fee is $310 for 16 classes that meet primarily on Tuesday evenings, January – October. Most classes are held via Zoom 6:30 pm – 8:30. Optional in-person tours will be offered periodically.

The Plan

🌱 Sign Up for your classes online or by calling 208-343-8649
🌱 Learn from local experts
🌱 Grow an amazing garden

Sign Up Here


2021 Syllabus

Botany for Beginners +

Botany for Beginners
Tuesday, January 5, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Sierra Laverty, IBG Assistant Horticulture Director, and Daniel Murphy, IBG Collections Curator

An advanced degree in botany isn’t necessary to excel at gardening, but a basic background sure helps! In this botany 101 class we’ll breakdown plant parts, how they work, and why that’s important. We’ll also explore plant names and families.

The Magical Realm of Soil Science +

The Magical Realm of Soil Science
Tuesday, January 12, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Sierra Laverty, IBG Assistant Horticulture Director

One million tiny organisms can exist in a single pinch of soil. As a living, breathing foundation of natural landscapes, it’s critical that we take care of the world beneath our feet. This class will introduce the basics of what soil is, how it works, and what gardeners and horticulturists need to know to care for it. We’ll also learn how organic matter (AKA compost) can impact microscopic relationships that plants (and people!) depend on.

Elective: Water Efficient Irrigation +

Elective: Water Efficient Irrigation
Wednesday, January 13, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Steve Eglinton, Branch Manager, Pipeco Boise

Join this class to learn about different types of low volume irrigation systems and in what situations each one is best. Steve will discuss how to install them either as a new system, as a retrofit of an existing one, or as an upgrade

Landscape Site Survey and Design Basics +

Landscape Site Survey and Design Basics
Tuesday, February 9, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Sara A. Meier, Landscape Designer, Green Thumb SAM

Learn the two distinct steps of a site study – inventory and analysis. Identify all the vital conditions about a site and determine how they should influence the eventual design solution. In part two of the class learn landscape design basics and how to incorporate them into your plan by thinking of your space as a series of outdoor rooms.

Plant Propagation +

Plant Propagation
Tuesday, February 16, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Nell Lindquist, IBG Greenhouse & Nursery Coordinator

Satisfy your appetite for new plants and save money by learning the basics of propagation. With this introduction to the art and science of plant propagation, you can start your own vegetables from seed, or increase your stock of a favorite ornamental through cuttings or divisions. You will learn the most appropriate propagation methods for a variety of plants, as well as the techniques and materials to help ensure success.

Elective -Vegetable Gardening +

Elective -Vegetable Gardening
Wednesday, February 17, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Patrick Long, IBG Vegetable Garden Specialist

Want to grow your own food this year? In this session we will the share how you can achieve a bountiful harvest! Bed preparation, planting techniques, plant selection, season extension, pests/common issues, and more will be discussed.

Tree Pruning With Purpose +

Tree Pruning With Purpose
Tuesday, February 23, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Brian Jorgenson, Consulting Arborist, Legacy Des Bois

Join us as Certified Arborist Brian Jorgenson shows the how, why, when and where of proper tree pruning. Mr. Jorgenson will discuss use of proper tools, safety practices and why you should have a clear goal in mind before you start pruning a tree.

Treasure Valley Horticulture Part I +

Treasure Valley Horticulture Part I
Tuesday, March 2, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Michele Lesica, IBG Horticulture Director
Sierra Laverty, IBG Assistant Horticulture Director
Daniel Murphy, IBG Collections Curator

In this class led by IBG’s horticulture expert trio, gardeners and horticulturists will learn how to successfully grow beautiful and functional plants in the Treasure Valley. We’ll dive into IBG’s plant growing philosophies, and practical tips and tricks. This class will teach you how to select the RIGHT plants for your space, and how to avoid common gardening pitfalls.

Elective: Wildland-Urban Interface Gardening +

Elective: Wildland-Urban Interface Gardening
Tuesday, April 13, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Brett Van Paepeghem, South Idaho Project Manager, Idaho Firewise
Andrea Dorman, Horticulturist & Outreach Coordinator, Idaho Firewise

Learn ways to create survivable space that reduces the risk of wildfire damage to your home. Brett will discuss the principles of flammable materials reduction and creating firewise landscape zones. Participants will see plants to avoid as well as those that are more fire resistant and where to use them. Andrea will address mitigation methods and deer and other mammal resistant plant material appropriate for low-water and firewise landscapes. Both presenters will address using specific native plants from the Intermountain West that work well for landscaping around the home with an emphasis on fire safety.

Plant Health I: Diagnosis +

Plant Health I: Diagnosis
Tuesday, May 18, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Sierra Laverty, IBG Assistant Horticulture Director

Learn how to become a horticulture detective! Assessing plant problems can be a difficult task. This class will teach gardeners and horticulturists the process of piecing together clues to answer the question: “what’s wrong with my plant?” Join Certified Plant Diagnostician, Sierra Laverty as we uncover the subtle differences between pest presence and nutrient deficiencies, over and underwatering, among many other ailments.

Treasure Valley Horticulture Part II +

Treasure Valley Horticulture Part II
Tuesday, May 25, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Sierra Laverty, IBG Assistant Horticulture Director; Daniel Murphy, IBG Collections Curator

In this advanced follow-up class, Daniel and Sierra will dive into plant care techniques by season that help gardeners and horticulturists make plans to manage their space. We’ll cover planting protocol to ensure long-term success of perennials, and how to care for a maturing landscape through thoughtful succession planning.

Treasure Valley Weeds +

Treasure Valley Weeds
Tuesday, June 29, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Daniel Murphy, IBG Collections Curator

Our gardens are constantly being threatened by interlopers – unwanted plants that keep popping up uninvited. Be on your best defense by learning how to identify and manage common Treasure Valley weeds, some of which are more noxious than others. We will arm you with the information you need to battle weeds wisely.

Habitat Gardening +

Habitat Gardening
Tuesday, July 6, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Sierra Laverty, IBG Assistant Horticulture Director

Urban and suburban home landscapes can provide critical resources for wildlife. Any garden can become a haven for birds, beneficial insects, frogs, lizards…you name it! There are a number of specific gardening techniques and landscape features you can use to attract and provide food, water and shelter for local wildlife. This class will show that plants are NOT furniture, and that urban landscapes are truly alive.

Plant Health II: Management +

Plant Health II: Management
Tuesday, July 13, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Sierra Laverty, IBG Assistant Horticulture Director

Caring for plants is a life-long learning experience. Understanding the basics of plant health is critical to managing a thriving landscape. Integrated Plant Health Management (IPHM) utilizes the principles of problem prevention, pest biology, and science-based solutions to reduce risks to plant health.

Fall Planting & Purposeful Perennials +

Fall Planting & Purposeful Perennials
Tuesday, August 24 , 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Leslie Blackburn, College of Western Idaho Horticulture Associate Professor and local gardener

This session will cover the selection of, planting, and designing with herbaceous and small woody perennials. Explore purposeful selection and planting with well adapted plants for local soil and climate. Assess color, seasonality, and combinations suitable for all garden styles. The course will provide examples of successful perennial plantings and timelines for maintenance and planting schedules.

Tree Planting and Care +

Tree Planting and Care
Tuesday, September 7, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Matt Perkins, City Arborist, City of Meridian Parks and Recreation

Trees are important, functional features of the landscape. Matt will advise on how to select trees best suited for the Treasure Valley, how to plant them properly, provide a season by season overview of basic maintenance, and suggest when it is time to call in an arborist.

Elective: Xeric and Native Plants +

Elective: Xeric and Native Plants
Tuesday, October 12, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Ann DeBolt, Botanist

What is “xeriscaping?” How do you determine if a plant is native? Local Botanist Ann DeBolt will discuss these topics and what makes certain plants suitable and adapted to our arid region. She will share a selection of desirable plants and describe their needs.