Atlantic - Back to school
by Carol Matthews
Carol Hall, a metallurgical engineer living in Pictou, Nova Scotia, hasn't had to worry about gardening withdrawal during winter months; she's been working on her horticulturist's certificate from the University of Guelph. Carol started the correspondence program almost two years ago after moving to Ontario. She and her family have since returned home to Nova Scotia, but she has continued her studies. "I hope to write my final exam by Christmas," says Carol.
Growing up, Carol helped her mom with her vegetable and flower gardens, but it wasn't until she had a home of her own that her interest really took off, she says. Carol thinks gardening is by far the most enjoyable way to improve the appearance of her home. But her interest goes further than that. "Gardening is part of my retirement plans; I hope to own my own 'green business'—a garden centre or nursery, or perhaps a landscaping business," says Carol.
The U of G program comprises three courses: the Horticulturist I, II and III. The first course covers botany basics, such as plant anatomy and the processes that occur within plants, soil functions and ecological horticulture. The second course specializes in the selection and growing of evergreens, deciduous plants, herbaceous plants, indoor plants and plants for patios and balconies. Carol is working on the Horticulturist III, which deals with landscape design, vegetable and fruit gardening, and insect, disease and weed control. "These are ideal courses for people who do not have access to formal classes," she says.
For people interested in attending classes, there are courses offered at the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia community colleges that cover design, landscape maintenance, greenhouse/nursery care and retail garden centre training. The Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) offers both diploma and degree programs, as well as weekend workshops and week-long programs.
For shorter, more informal courses or workshops, contact your local garden club or garden.