Free Garden Classes Begin April 3

SEATTLE —Savvy Gardener classes and events scheduled for this April are welcome news for gardening aficionados, as well as for those whose thumbs aren’t quite so green.

Starting on April 3, Savvy Gardener classes at local nurseries and gardens will focus on the popular topics of native plants and food gardening. The overall emphasis is to encourage gardeners to make choices this spring that will help them save water during Seattle’s typical dry summers – and the classes are free.

“We’ve got classes and events that appeal to all types of gardeners,” says Liz Fikejs, Acting Resource Conservation Manager with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). “No matter the class topic – from selecting native plants to growing your own food – we focus on how to have beautiful, abundant gardens that use less water and are easier to maintain.”

The Savvy Gardener classes will be held at Swanson’s Nursery, Sky Nursery and Molbak’s Garden + Home on Saturdays throughout April. In addition, SPU and the Saving Water Partnership will have signs and fact sheets at these same nurseries to remind gardeners to look at plant labels and match the “right plant” with the “right place.”

“When gardeners choose new plants based on how they match the sun or shade in the garden, then they’re likely to have a garden that flourishes naturally,” Fikejs says. “Once these new plants have had a few years to establish their roots, they will require less watering and will be less disease prone.”

The single biggest event is the 2010 Spring Garden Fair, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, at the U.W. Bothell Campus. The event is sponsored in part by SPU and the Saving Water Partnership. Classes will cover everything from beginning gardening to edible landscapes to drip irrigation. The speakers include celebrities such as Ciscoe Morris and Marianne Binetti.

In addition to educational topics, the fair offers gardeners an opportunity to buy plants, books, bird houses, rain barrels and compost bins.

Fikejs says spring is also a good time to layer two to three inches of compost, leaves or arborist woodchips on the soil before summer arrives. The soil will stay moist longer, which means gardeners will spend less time and money on watering. In addition, they’ll likely have fewer weeds, and, if they do, the weeds will be easier to pull out.

– Find out the class details here.
– Receive expert advice and more class announcements by subscribing to the free Savvy Gardener newsletter.

In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area, SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the City’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region’s environmental resources.