Landscape for Life

The Southside Master Gardener Association decided to offer the ever popular Landscape for Life during the summer for the first time. Our goal is to give teachers a chance to take some garden training during their summer break but the class is open to anyone. Landscape for Life is based on sustainable landscape practices. Think of it as a mini-Master Gardener training. The six classes will start on June 16 and be held each Friday from then until July 28 with the exception of July 7th during Independence Day week. It will be held in the undercroft from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Halifax.

The Landscape for Life series starts off on June 16 with an introduction to soils by Kathy Conner Cornell. Most times we don’t give soil any thought. Soils are everything to the plant. It is through the interaction of roots and the soil that plants receive their nutrition and water. Healthy soils are the basis of a beautiful garden. Bring a small baggie of soil from your garden to the class.

Water quality will be discussed on June 23. Stormwater management is very important no matter where you live. We need to garden and manage runoff in ways that protect our waterways. You will learn special techniques to properly manage rainwater in your landscape.

On June 30th Kathy will review how to determine the right plant for the right place. It is important to avoid invasive alien plants that disrupt our natural habitats. Native plants can often be a good choice in the sustainable garden but not necessarily the only choice. You will learn what to consider as you make the best plant selections for your garden.

We will have a special speaker on July 14th. A strong design is the backbone of any landscape. You shouldn’t put a shovel in the ground until you’ve assessed your space and determined what functions you want your landscape to serve such as play area, private area or entertaining area. The design development will be an ongoing project but to help with the plan a guest speaker will guide you through the basics of landscape design principles.

Materials, normally thought of as hardscape, will be discussed on July 21st. In the landscape, hardscapes are often used for things such as fencing, arbors, trellises or pathways. This will be a fun session chock full of ideas on how to use repurposed/recycled materials to define areas in the garden. A main way we can recycle and repurpose is to compost. We will guide you through the steps to create black gold that is so important to our soils. Kathy will lead a presentation on Integrated Pest Management. Using chemical pesticides should be the last resort for garden pest problems. The IPM method details the steps to be taken before ever reaching for a pesticide and what improper pesticide use is doing to our wildlife especially bees.

The last class on June 28th will be devoted to each member’s personal design and their specific issues. Some designs will be discussed in the class and everyone will have the opportunity for a personal consultation. You will leave the program feeling confident that you can have the landscape of your dreams and help protect the environment for enjoyment of future generations.

There will be a $25 fee to cover the materials for the 6 sessions. Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions to get the maximum value out of the classes. However if this just doesn’t work into your schedule, individual classes will have a $5 fee. The fee is for a family – husband and wife, parent and mature child or friends.

Advance registration and payment is required. Space is limited. To register go to the Halifax Extension Office to pick up an application form or e-mail to request an application form. Mail completed form and check made out to SSMGA to Halifax County Extension Office, PO Box 757, Halifax, VA 24558. The six classes will be held on 6/16, 6/23, 6/30, 7/14, 7/21 and 7/28 at the St. John’s Episcopal Church, 197 Mountain Road, Halifax. For more information email or call the extension office at 434-476-2147, option 0.