February 1 - February 22, 2024
Workshop limited to the first 25 registrants
Join author and designer Benjamin Vogt in a 4-week workshop where you build up new garden knowledge and skills, culminating in your very own garden design using principles we discuss each week.
In this series you will learn the fundamentals of creating a new bed or reviving an older one, with novel ways to look at landscape prep and management that’s more climate resilient while letting plants lead the design. We’ll also blend some traditional aesthetic practices with natural plant communities so our garden space appeals equally to wildlife and people.
Each session will be followed by a generous Q&A period so we make sure to address everyone’s ideas. Additionally, the sessions will be recorded and viewable for two months after the conclusion of the series. Every workshop member will receive a complimentary signed copy of Benjamin’s best-selling Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design (USA addresses only) which has sold over 10,000 copies in its first year.
Join us for an intensive yet collegial workshop for all skill levels that will have you ready for spring.
Week 1 – February 1 at 1-2:30p (cst)
Fundamentals of Garden Layers
Dive in to nature by exploring the various layers in a natural garden, what we can learn from wild plant communities that applies to the home landscape, and some of the plants and management to employ as we guide the space forward over the first few years. This will be a jam-packed lecture.
Week 2 – February 8 at 1-2:30p (cst)
Introduction to Matrix Design
There are many ways to lay out and organize a garden, but the matrix system comes closet to replicating natural plant communities while giving us an actionable and easy-to-follow plan to begin with. In this session we’ll learn what a matrix is, how to plant and manage it, some of the best plants to use, then look at a variety of examples from a plethora of designers.
Week 3 – February 15 at 1-2:30p (cst)
Designing With Common Nursery Plants
While we’re sure to discuss where to buy native plants in this session, the reality is that the most easily-accessible plants are often at big-box stores or larger nurseries. By looking carefully at plant behavior / sociability and how to use it to create a resilient, low-maintenance space, we’ll go through a list of commonly-available native plants and put them together into a cohesive garden plan that works in every season. This lecture will set us up to create our own individual garden plans based on parameters laid out by Benjamin.
Week 4 – February 22 at 1-3p (cst)
In the final session we will explore a selection of our own garden plans, discussing the process of researching plants and matching them to one another, and how they work in the context of the site. After the week 2 session, Benjamin will provide all workshop members with a blueprint and guidelines (via Google Drive) for creating this sample garden plan; even if the plan does not match your landscape or ecoregion, the process will be an invaluable template to confidently create a natural garden on your own. We will also offer critiques to one another on Google Drive.
As well as these helpful documents:
This charrette workshop was my first attempt at a formal inquiry into garden design. Benjamin's approach to design is intuitive and natural, as is his approach to teaching. I left the workshop with confidence and some new ideas." -- Adam G.
Everything I had been trying to understand about native plants became clear to me the minute this workshop began. Benjamin’s information and matrix system makes it incredibly simple to do minor or major spaces. Currently, I am applying the matrix teachings to design a 5,000 square foot pollinator and native plant education area on our public library green roof." -- Shawn H.
Fee + Deadline
The workshop fee is $349*
Class size capped at 25
Registration closes January 30, 2024
*All sales are final and no refunds will be issued after January 30, 2024. Cancellations made before January 30, 2024 will receive a full refund via the original payment method, less the cost of the mailed copy of Prairie Up ($38), within 5 business days (you must contact Benjamin to initiate a refund). In the unlikely event that the entire series is cancelled full refunds will be issued. In the event one session has to be moved due to illness, Benjamin will work with all participants in good faith to schedule an alternate time. Each session will be recorded and available for two months after the end of the workshop, or April 30, 2024. Books will be mailed in early January via USPS parcel select service (books are only available to be shipped to addresses in the United States). Supplemental documents will be provided by the first session date via Google Drive (registrants do not need to have a Google account to access documents or design charrette material).