Learn gardening practices in new MetroParks course


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By Mandy Smith

Education manager, Mill Creek MetroParks

Successful indoor gardening requires knowledge of both plant material and growing techniques. Learning how to select the right plants for your indoor space, houseplant basics, light levels and temperatures can increase your plant’s survival rate. Because even though we can control our indoor environment more steadily than the outdoors, at times it seems harder to keep plants alive. However, benefits of having plants indoors through the winter and even year-round are numerous and might outweigh the perceived barriers of their survival rate.

Plants can be mood enhancers, reducing stress, anger, fatigue and anxiety. NASA studies have shown that certain species of indoor plants reduce air pollution by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent. Of course, there is an increase of oxygen levels when plants are present due to the process of photosynthesis. More and more research is being conducted each month about the benefits of raising indoor plants.

How can you learn more about successfully caring for indoor plants? A new course is being offered at Mill Creek MetroParks starting this month. Over four sessions, the course will cover houseplant basics, plant selections, lighting, temperature and more, plus go in-depth with unique indoor specimens, from orchids to succulents to air plants. Each session is taught by leading local and regional horticulture experts. Joe Mehalik, greenhouse manager at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron starts off the course Feb. 27 with the basics of houseplant care. Learn from the houseplant guru, Lisa Eldred Steinkopf on March 20 about air plants and what to do with the plants you receive during holidays. April showcases local experts Dave Miller, orchids (April 17); Carol A. Knock, succulents; and Marie Borocz, terrariums (April 24) – and their knowledge and talents for raising these unique indoor plants.

The indoor gardening course is offered as part of the John and Doris Andrews Horticulture Certificate Program, which is sponsored through Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens. The Andrews Horticulture Program gives you, the home gardener, the knowledge and skill to select plants and to successfully cultivate your home landscape. The curriculum assists you in developing the gardening techniques best suited for Ohio gardens. Learn through lectures, engaging labs outside at Fellows Riverside Gardens, and optional hands-on volunteer work. Previous and upcoming courses include: The Fundamentals of Green Gardening, Garden Design for the Home Landscape, and Plant Propagation.

To learn more about the Indoor Gardening course, which will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays starting Feb. 27, contact Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330-740-7116 or www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

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