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Classes and Contact Info

Thank you for checking out my presentation topics. I've taught classes and workshops at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Morton Arboretum since 1997. I also do programs for libraries, garden shows, historical societies, local garden clubs and other organizations. Almost all of the digital photographs used in my presentations are from gardens I've visited in the Midwest and from my own one-acre garden, Wildwood. I rarely do the same exact program because I'm always looking for interesting plants. Fees vary by location and length of program. 

Here are some comments from the recent "Gardens of the Roaring 20's" and "Prairie Flowers for the Home Garden" classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden:

"Excellent instructor!" "Wonderful, beautifully prepared, charming." 


Buckingham Fountain Revisited @ Wildwood Garden.  

For more info on upcoming classes, or to schedule a presentation, contact info@thisgardencooks.com or 708-217-9357.


Saturday, January 26. Starting Greens from Seed. Morton Arboretum.

Wednesday, February 6. Miniature and TableTop Gardens. Tinley Park Library 7 p.m.

Tuesday, February 12. Garden Clubs of Illinois Landscape Design Council. 11:30 a.m.

Monday, February 18. Shade Gardening. Garden Club of Hinsdale. 12:30 p.m. Location TBD.   

Saturday, February 23. Growing Tomatoes and Peppers from Seed. Morton Arboretum.  

Thursday, February 28. Simple Pleasures: Inspiration for Gardeners. 7 p.m. West Chicago Garden Club.

Tuesday, March 19. American Home Garden Design: 1830-Present. Chicago Botanic Garden.  

Tuesday, March 19. Grow a Cook's Garden 1-3. Chicago Botanic Garden.  

Wednesday, March 20. Growing, Harvesting and Using Herbs. 7 p.m. Indian Head Park Library.  

Saturday, March 30. Paint Your Garden with Plants (2 sessions--shade/sun); 10-12 and 1-3). Chicago Botanic Garden

Tuesday, April 2. Earth Day Presentation. 6 p.m. Stickney Forest Public Library.  

Monday, April 22. Earth Day Presentation. 7 p.m. Tinley Park Library  

Thursday, April 25. The Edible Patio. 7-9 p.m. Morton Arboretum  

Thursday, May 2. Grow a Salsa Garden. 6:30 - 9 p.m. Morton Arboretum.  

Tuesday, May 7. Container Gardening. 7 p.m. Lake Zurich Garden Club.  

Friday, May 10. The Edible Patio. 10 a.m. - noon. Morton Arboretum. 

Saturday, May 11. Planting for Pollinators. 10-noon. Chicago Botanic Garden

Saturday, May 11. Grow a High-Yield Cut-Flower Garden 1-3. Chicago Botanic Garden.

Thursday, May 16. Containers and Window Boxes that Wow. 7 p.m.  Glenside Public Library.  

Wednesday, May 22. Grow a Cut-Flower Garden. 6:30 - 9 p.m. Morton Arboretum.

Tuesday, June 4. Create the Wow Factor with Containers and Window Boxes. 7 p.m. Lemont Library. 

Saturday, June 8. Gardening for Pollinators and Grow a Cut-Flower Garden. Chicago Botanic Garden

Monday, June 17, 7 p.m. Gardening for Butterflies, Bees and other Pollinators. Woodridge Public Library. 

Thursday, July 11. Seed Sowing for Fall Edibles; and Growing, Using and Storing Herbs. Chicago Botanic Garden 

Saturday, July 20. Gardening for Pollinators. 9 a.m. to Noon. Morton Arboretum.

Tuesday, July 23.  Cottage Garden Designs for the Midwest. 1-3 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden.  

Thursday, Aug. 1. The American Home Garden. 7:45 a.m. Perennial Plant Association Conference. Rosemont. 

Saturday, Oct. 26. Growing Herbs Indoors and Out. 10 a.m.-noon. Chicago Botanic Garden.

Saturday, Oct. 26. Planning Your Vegetable Garden for Next Year's Harvest. 1-3 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden.

Saturday, Nov. 9. Prairie Flowers for the Home Garden. 10 a.m.-noon. Chicago Botanic Garden. 

Saturday, Nov. 9. Bungalow gardens. 1-3 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden. 


2020 Programs

February 24, 2020. The Artful Gardener. Garden Study Club of Hinsdale.

March 16, 2020. Hinsdale Garden Club.   

March 28, 2020. The Growing Place Spring Event.  

April 4, 2020. Afternoon Key Note at Gardenfest 2020, McHenry County Master Gardeners symposium. 

May 19, 2020. Victory Gardens. Bloomingdale Garden Club.  


Other programs (call or email for more information):

From Pen to Print: Local Gardens featured in the Chicago Tribune and Chicagoland Gardening Magazine.  

American Home Garden Design: 1830 to the Present:  Draw inspiration for your own garden from the history of home garden design! We'll look at how home garden design has changed since the Midwest was first settled. Learn more about design evolution, the rise of the suburban lawn movement, foundation plantings, cottage gardens, moon gardens and heirloom plants to name a few. We'll take the best of these design ideas and examine how they can be used in your own garden, no matter what age or style home you own. (This is also offered as a 3- and 6-hour design class.)

The Artful Gardener: Breathing New Life into Your Garden. Thinking outside the Phlox.  Coloring outside the lines.  Yes, you ARE an artist in your garden.  A look at public and private gardens--from the quirky and magical to the elegant innovative (and their creators) -- and the plants and garden art within them. If you need inspiration, this is for you. 



Herbal Tea Gardens

Grow a Cook's Garden 

Create a Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden

Cottage Garden Designs for the Midwest:  

Exuberant gardens overflowing with old-fashioned flowers--that is the vision that comes to mind when we think of cottage gardens. Shrub roses, foxgloves, poppies, forget-me-nots, hollyhocks, vegetables, and herbs all have a place. Discover bed and border designs and plant combinations that can help you get the look of an English-style cottage garden.  

Theme Gardens

The Gardener as Artist: Designing with Plants & Structures

Growing Edibles: Everything You Want to Know to Harvest Your Own Food 

Simple Pleasures--Inspiration for Gardeners

Gardening in Small Spaces

Containers and Window Boxes: Creating the Wow Factor   

If you're short on space and time when it comes to gardening, consider growing flowers, herbs, and edibles in pots or window boxes. Whether you have a balcony, a deck or small patio, containers provide an opportunity to add color and texture in sun and in shade. Discover how to choose containers and plants for maximum effect. 

Designing with Color, Texture and Form



Questions or Comments?  Email info@thisgardencooks.com


The patio above is planted with Evolution salvia (an All-America Winner selection), sweet alyssum, petunias, red fountain grass, a few pots of Garden Peach tomatoes and basil, lavender and pots of hibiscus and calibrachoa for the many ruby-throated hummingbirds that are present from late April through early October.  The color palette is in mauve, purple, pink, violet, rose, blue and white--a nod to my English mother's design sensibilities.  No reds or oranges here.  Except when you get up to the eggplant-colored arbor, which is surrounded by a deep red salvia--another hummingbird favorite.

Salvia guarantica

Salvia guarantica is my all-time favorite hummingbird nectar plant. It's like Salvia splendens on steroids, sending out its twisty stems in every direction.  The hummingbirds in fall migration are wild for the nectar. Great in containers or in a flower bed in full sun.  Just add sweet alyssum, vinca, zinnias and you're good to go.

Autumn Joy
Sowing Veggies in Late Summer for a Fall Harvest

Observe.  Reflect.  Bloom!

(c) 2017 Nina A. Koziol