By Jessica Allen.
Got a green thumb? Want one? Sign up for a gardening class. The education centers, stores, and botanical gardens listed below offer classes in every possible topic related to botany, whether you want to improve your perennials, make a macramé hanger for your ferns, combine agriculture with social justice, or learn how to keep your rose bushes from drying out.
63 Flushing Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Brooklyn Grange is at the cutting edge of a really cool urban movement: transforming unused space into lovely, lush, and plentiful gardens. In a city that prizes every square inch of real estate, this is no easy feat. Brooklyn Grange runs a super-successful rooftop farming and green-roofing business. Some 50,000 pounds of organic produce is grown on its two rooftop farms each year. Visit, inhale deeply, and see for yourself. Upcoming classes focus on mushroom cultivation, starting your own urban agriculture business, and natural spectrum dyes.
Institute of Culinary Education
225 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
The Institute of Culinary Education has long been a bastion of good eating. But in April 2016, the folks here wondered whether they could build and sustain a working farm in the center of downtown Manhattan. The answer was yes, and now ICE wants to show you how to create and cultivate. Course offerings include a 16-hour, two-day class in commercial urban farming, and an intensive, in-depth overview of plant care and harvesting. Classes take place in a specially-designed hydroponic grow room, where more than 30 different crop varieties are being tended at any given time.
Farm School NYC
114 West 47th Street
New York, New York, 10036
Farm School NYC’s mission is to train “local residents in urban agriculture in order to build self-reliant communities and inspire positive local action around food access and social, economic, and racial justice issues.” You can sign up for individual classes or work toward one of two certificate programs. Recent courses range from carpentry and intro to building, to growing soils and crop management. We particularly love “NYC as an Ecosystem,” which offers an overview of Native American history, wildlife, geology, vegetation patterns, and hydrology.
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
100 Gold Street, Suite 3100
New York, New York 10038
Green Thumb, the largest community gardening program in the United States, puts on a range of classes across the five boroughs. So you can learn about butterflies in the Bronx and pick up some pollinators to plant on your own, discover how to transform your detritus into a gorgeous greenspace in Brooklyn, and celebrate the hydrangea in Manhattan. Best of all? Many are free, but pre-registration is often required. Sign up for their newsletter for tips and event listings, and head to the website for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about starting a community garden.
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458
Since its founding in 1891, the New York Botanical Garden has tried not only to be one of the most gorgeous gardens in the world, but also to serve an educational purpose. Today, the NYBG has a huge plant research and conversation program (some 7.8 million plant specimens are held on site), and offers an enormous series of classes to newbies and experts alike. Super-serious about your studies? Get certified in areas like as gardening, botanical art, and floral design. There’s even a School of Professional Horticulture, which boasts a job placement rate of almost 100 percent, located on the grounds.
287 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Too adorable not to include! At Twig Terrariums, you’ll discover the whimsy and wonder inside the tiny worlds of terrariums. You can take a private workshop for one-on-one instruction in the fine art of creating and customizing a terrarium, or you can take a group class. Most take place in the store’s backyard, and you’ll get the ingredients you need to begin “miniscaping,” including a vessel, fresh moss, rocks, and wee animals or people, who’ll turn your glass jar or vase into a little home. Of course, you’ll get to keep your project, and instructions for maintaining the terrarium are provided.
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.