Course Schedule April – June 2015

Please email Esther at for more information and to register for a class or for additional registration information.

Scan to the bottom of the page for an archive of 2015 courses to date.


April 10, 24
Friday 10 and Friday 24 (4pm-6:30pm). Total 5 hours

Organic Pest and Weed Control.    NEW
Instructor: Dr. Jeff Gillman, entomologist
From beneficial insects to organic pesticides the organic gardeners palate is loaded with options for controlling weeds, diseases, insect pests, and mammals, but which of these remedies really work? And are all organic remedies really safe for us and the environment?  In this workshop we will discuss the value and safety of all kinds of organic remedies, and conduct a hands-on test with some common organic herbicides.

Location: McMillan Greenhouse classroom and outdoor gardens, UNC Charlotte
Class limit: 20 participants
Cost: $55.00


May 8, 9
Friday 8 (5:30pm-8:30pm), and Saturday 9 (9am-4pm, 1 hour lunch break). Total 10 hours.

Introduction to Piedmont Soils.
Instructor: Dr. Greg Pillar, geologist
In this course you will learn about the components and processes of a dynamic, complex, multi-dimensional environmental system simply known as “soil”.  Obtaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of how soil properties and processes factor into plant growth and habitat development will help you to build and maintain a beautiful natural garden or landscape.  During the class focus will be placed on Piedmont soils types, properties and processes and will involve a half-day in the “field” exploring a piedmont soil pit.

Location: Rogers Building, room 112, Queens University.
Class limit: 18 participants.
Cost: $110.00

May 21, 23
Thursday 21 (5pm-8pm) and Saturday 23 (7am-3pm: field trip to Sandhills). Total 10 hours

Photography in the Carolina Sandhills Preserve: a Botanic and Photographic Experience.    NEW
Instructor: Will Stuart, photographer and botanist

An interactive course that combines photography and wildflowers in their unique native habitat. The first evening will be a discussion of techniques and principles of composition of photos by Will, photographer for Dr. Mellichamp’s Native Plants of the Southeast book. Questions will be encouraged and discussion will include when and whether a macro-view or a wide shot is preferred, lens choice, focal length, ISO, angle of view, etc. for each shot. Participants will receive a list of photogenic Sandhills plants and well as when and where they bloom.  Saturday’s field trip will include stops at 4 different plant communities to shoot a “target” species, peppered with explanations about their characteristics, habitat and insect companions.  Participants will walk/hike about 2.5 miles in total with their equipment and are encouraged to take along a tripod, as well as comfortable outdoor walking/hiking shoes and clothes and plenty of water and insect repellant! They should bring any photographic device with which they are comfortable and already familiar.

Locations:  McMillan Greenhouse classroom, UNC Charlotte and Carolina Sandhills Preserve, SC.
Class limit: 13 participants
Cost: $135.00



June 5, 7, 12, 14.
Friday  5 (6pm-9pm), Sunday 7 (1pm-4pm), Friday 12 (6pm-9pm) and Sunday 14 (1pm-4pm). Total 12 hours.

Principles of Basic Ecology
Instructor: Dr. Carrie DeJaco, biologist and environmental scientist.

Taught in a lecture-discussion format, this course addresses many current issues in ecology as well the basic principles of ecology, the study of interactions between organisms and their environments, emphasizing the ways plants interact with their environment. The book “Bringing Nature Home” by Doug Tallamy is recommended reading prior to the start of the class as it will introduce you to ecological concepts and how they relate to gardening. Prerequisite: Basic Botany

Basic Ecology is the pre-requisite for Plant Geography in the Southeast, coming up in November.

Location:  Rogers Building, Queens University (room TBD).
Class limit: 20 participants.
Cost: $132.00

June 19, 20
Friday 19 (6pm-9pm) and Saturday 20 (9am-4pm; 1 hour lunch break). Total 10 hours.

Principles of Conservation Ecology and Rare Plants
Instructor:  Dr. Jessica Braswell, chemist and environmental scientist.

This course focuses on the protection and management of plant biodiversity. Topics include species conservation, causes and consequences of declines in plant biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, management approaches, biological reserve design, restoration of ecosystems, and the role of conservation biologists in plant conservation.  Suggested Reading: Plant by Janet Marinelli (this is a reference, not a book for reading cover to cover; inexpensive used copies available online). Pre-requisite: Basic Ecology.

Location: Rogers Building, Queens University and field trip (TBD).
Class limit: 20 participants
Cost: $110.00


2015 Course Archive


January 17, 18.
Basic Botany
Instructor: Dr. Larry Mellichamp, Director Emeritus of UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
10 hours total

Basic Botany, is our established basic and common foundation from which all Certificate participants must start, regardless of academic, gardening and/or horticultural experience. This 10-hour course will cover plant kingdoms, structure and function, life stages, populations and eco-types, flowers and plant reproduction. Basic Botany will give the student a working vocabulary and understanding necessary for the remaining courses. In this very engaging course, Dr. Mellichamp will encourage active participation through his lectures and limited hands-on experiences with plant parts. This course will include a take-home but does not have any readings pre-assigned.

Location: McMillan Greenhouse, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
Class limit: 30 participants.
Cost: $110.00



February 13, 14, 15.
Birds of the Yard: Who Are They and How Do I Get More?
Instructor: Dr. Jeff Thomas, ornithologist.
9 hours total

Why are some birds so common in my yard and where do all the rest go? In this course, we’ll work on bird identification, tools for attracting and keeping birds around, and consider the roles that food additions and landscape components have for the birds in your yard. Weather permitting, we’ll even do a mist-netting demonstration to be able to see some birds up close.

Location: Rogers Building, Queens University (room TBD)
Class limit: 16 participants
Cost: $99.00
February 28, March 1
Drawing during the Dark Days of Winter

Instructor: Kathy Zimmerman, artist and educator.
7 hours total

Winter is a great time to reflect and replenish our creative spirits and February’s dark
winter days offer us a rare chance to slow down, observe nature and plants and create our own personal reflections of that experience. Kathy Zimmerman will guide participants in close observations of plant materials from the gardens, some writing, sketching and drying samples of winter’s beauty. Expect some walking in the gardens to collect samples if weather permits. All levels of drawing experience (or none!) are welcome!   Materials required: a sketchbook, a pen, graphite pencils and some colored pencils.

Location: McMillan Greenhouse classroom and outdoor gardens, UNC Charlotte.
Class limit: 12 participants
Cost: $105.00


March 5, 7
History of Botany: Carolinas Perspectives
Instructors: Dr. Larry Mellichamp, Jean Woods
Presenters: Audrey Mellichamp, Charlie Williams
9 hours total 

Botanical Nomenclature by Larry Mellichamp
The formal awareness and categorizing of plants that humans use for food, shelter, clothing, spices, and medicine go back to Greek and Roman times. Down through the ages, we have refined our efforts to name and catalog the strange and wonderful plants brought back from explorations around the world. The developments of binomial nomenclature (using latin) and techniques that allow us to understand the detailed nature of plants have been especially robust in the past 250 years. This course will take a broad survey of the history of our understanding of north-temperate zone plants, including a discussion of plant nomenclature and how early naming became refined.
American Women Botanists by Jean Woods
Women have played a significant role in Botany and Horticulture in America from the colonial period through the 20th Century.  Unfortunately, their contributions are not well known.  This course will cover several of these intrepid women, their lives, their contributions, and their legacies.  Some of the ones you will learn about are Jane Colden, Frances Parsons, Mary Henry, Eloise Bulter, Almira Phelps, and Lucy Braun.  We will also take a look the tools that these early botanists used for their field work as we celebrate their lives and accomplishments.
André Michaux, in his own words, by Charlie Williams
When George Washington was President of the U.S.,  the French botanist André Michaux traveled in America for eleven years studying, collecting, and shipping our native plants to France. He is remembered as the first botanist to visit many frontier areas and to explore the high mountains in northwestern North Carolina. He traveled through the Charlotte area six times. Dressed in 18th century attire, Charlie Williams will perform a one-man play about this intrepid botanist’s life and adventures. Then he will present, for the first time in Charlotte, a report on Michaux’s “lost” gardens in New Jersey and South Carolina.
Colonial life – essential plants and the back-country housewife
Finally, Audrey Mellichamp will present her version of a back-country housewife in Mecklenburg County 1795 and how she would have used native and naturalized plants as food, utensils and materials in her daily life before modern conveniences and practices.

Location: McMillan Greenhouse classroom, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
Class limit: 24 participants
Cost: $99.00

March 14
Winter Flora: Exploring the Landscape through the 6 B’s of Winter
Instructor: Dr. Larry Mellichamp, Director Emeritus of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
6 hours total

Have you ever walked through the bleak terrain of field and forest during the short days of winter and noticed the dried stalks, spent seed pods, matted fiber fluff, fat terminal buds and evergreen leaves that seem to defy the harsh realities of winter. In this course, we will venture outside to discover and examine the bark, basal rosettes, berries, blooms, branches, and buds of plants in their winter condition. Identifications will be based on details of evident structures, and we will discuss how plants cope with the rigors of winter since they cannot migrate away from it. We may even be startled to see some early growth and blooms of certain wildflowers. You will be surprised how your eyes and other senses will be opened with delight as to what can be found and identified in the seemingly bleak  landscape of our Piedmont winter. We will also see and discuss how insect cope. You may be astonished to learn why experiencing winter is vital to the lives of most of our native organisms. We will consult several books on winter weeds and wildflowers, and do some keying to identify herbaceous plants and tress using their persistent structures. Hand lens will be very useful, as will appropriate clothing for extended exposure to our tolerable but often less-than-comfortable weather. Interspersed indoor discussions and hot chocolate will help with our adaptation if it is bitterly cold.

Location: McMillan Greenhouse classroom, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
Class limit: 16 participants
Cost: $66.00

March 21, 29, April 19, May 2
Taking Note of a Native Garden
Instructor: Kathy Zimmerman, artist and educator
6 hours total

Learn how to observe and record changes with drawings and notes.  The group will have exclusive use of our new Mellichamp Natives Terrace for four observations over the course of two months: organized in two common long sessions to begin and close the course, and two more optional meetings where they will come to sketch in the garden and consult with the instructor individually. The focus will be on noting the detailed changes of the same plant area through time; your observations will be shared with UNCC Native Plants Garden staff. All levels of drawing are welcome and materials required will be minimal (sketch book, pencils, colored pencils).  Try this class if you are looking for a class at your own pace, that will enable you to sit and look at the fruits of your labor in the garden, if you like to see changes throughout time, and or simply want to try something new and relaxing.

Location: McMillan Greenhouse classroom and outdoor gardens, UNC Charlotte
Class Limit: 12 participants
Cost: $80.00

March 28
Spring Ephemerals
Instructor: Paula Gross, M.S., Interim Director of the Botanical Gardens
6 hours total

The warming days of earliest spring before the leaves emerge from the trees is the season of the “spring ephemerals” — those short-blooming wildflowers that welcome the new season with perfect grace and then duck back underground as the canopy shades them by early summer.   Dig deeper into the details of 12 of our native woodland gems – their botany, horticultural care, and propagation.  Will include a walk through the Gardens to see what’s blooming in late March this year.

Location: McMillan Greenhouse classroom and outdoor gardens, UNC Charlotte
Class Limit:  16 participants
Cost: $66.00

Interested in registering for a class?  Please email Esther Carrasco at for availability and registration policies.

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