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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. 


Buckingham Fountain Revisited @ Wildwood Garden.  


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



Saturdays, Jan 7 & 14.  American Historic Home Garden Design Workshop. 9-Noon. The Morton Arboretum (www.mortonarb.org)

Thursday, Feb 2.  12:30 - 1 pm. Timeless Landscapes: Designs, Practices and Character.  With Landscape Architect Scott Mehaffey at the iLandscape Show. 

Saturday, Feb 25, 9:30 - Noon.  Seed Starting for the Edible Garden.  The Morton Arboretum (www.mortonarb.org)

Saturday, Mar 4, 1 - 3 pm. American Home Garden Desigh. The Chicago Botanic Garden (www.chicagobotanic.org)

Tuesday, Mar 7. 7 p.m. Grow a Cook's Garden. Bensenville Library.  

Friday, Mar 10. 9:30 - Noon. Seed Starting for the Edible Garden.  The Morton Arboretum (www.mortonarb.org) 

Saturday, March 18. The Gardener as Artist: Finding Inspiration. Joliet Garden Day Symposium. 

Saturday, Mar 25. 10 - 12 and 1 - 3, Paint Your Garden with Plants.  Sun/Shade.  The Chicago Botanic Garden (www.chicagobotanic.org)

Saturday, April 1. 1 - 3 p.m. Growing a Cook's Garden. Chicago Botanic Garden

Thursday, April 6. 6:30 p.m. Shade Gardening. Bridgeview Library. 

Friday, April 7, Saturday, April 8. A Look at Midwestern Garden Design from a Century Ago. Chalet Nursery.  This program is in celebration of the Chalet's 100 year anniversary.

Monday, April 10, 7 p.m. Vegetable Gardening. Fox Valley Garden Club, Aurora.

Tuesday, April 18, 6 p.m. Forest View-Stickney Park Library. Topic TBD.  

Saturday, April 22. Gardening for Butterflies. Mokena Public Library.  

Tuesday, April 25. 7 p.m. Glenview Public Library. Grow a Cook's Garden.

Thursday, April 27. American Home Garden Design. Deer Path Garden Club of Lake Forest. 

Saturday, April 29. 1 p.m. Northern Illinois Hosta Society. Spring Symposium. "Color for the Shade Garden: Looking Beyond Impatiens" Friendship Park Conservatory. DesPlaines.  

Monday, May 1. 12:15 p.m. LaGrange Garden Club:  Design Trends for the Midwestern Garden

Saturday, May 13. 9 - 11 a.m.  Growing Peppers. Chicago Botanic Garden

Saturday, June 3. 9 - 11 a.m. Growing Tomatoes. Chicago Botanic Garden  

Sunday, June 4.  10-noon. Creating a Habitat for Birds and Butterflies. Chicago Botanic Garden.

Sunday, June 4.  1 - 3 .m. Success with Warm-season Veggies.  Chicago Botanic Garden

Thursday, June 8. 6 p.m. Grow Great Vegetables. Steger-South Chicago Heights Library 

Friday, June 9. TBD Des Plaines Public Library.  

Saturday, June 10. Container Gardening. Tinley Park Library. 

Monday, June 12.  7 p.m. Color in the Garden: Artful Combinations for Sun and Shade. Oak Park Conservatory.  

Tuesday, July 11. 6:30 p.m. South Suburban Garden Club 

Monday, July 24.  7 p.m. Growing, Using and Storing Herbs. Woodridge Public Library. 

Thursday, July 27. Late Bloomers Garden Club, Elgin, TBD

Saturday, July 29. 10-12. Growing Pumpkins and Squash. and 1-2 p.m. Growing, Using and Storing Herbs.  Chicago Botanic Garden.

Wednesday, Aug 2. Color for Sun/Shade. 10 a.m. Garden Club of Morgan Park/Beverly Hills.

Thursday, Aug. 3, 6:30-9:30 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 5, 9 a.m. to Noon. Gardening for Pollinators (Bees, Butterflies and Birds). The Morton Arboretum (Thursday) and field trip to Wildwood Garden (Saturday).

Saturday, Aug. 19. 10 a.m. to Noon. Growing and Using Asian Greens. The Morton Arboretum.

Monday, August 28, 7 p.m. Gardens that Inspire! Palos Heights Garden Club.  

Monday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m. Victory Gardens. The Orland Park Garden Club. 

Saturday, Oct. 21. 10 a.m. to Noon. Growing Herbs Indoors and Out. Chicago Botanic Garden.

Saturday, Oct. 21. 1-3 p.m. Vegetable Gardening: Plan Now for Next Year's Harvest! Chicago Botanic Garden.

Tuesday, Nov. 7. 12:45 p.m.  Trends in Midwestern Garden Design. Geneva Garden Club 

Saturday, Nov. 11. 9:30-3. Designing with Color, Texture and Form. Chicago Botanic Garden.  With Marcy Stewart-Pyziak, The Gardener's Tutor. 


2018 Programs 

Saturday, Feburary 3, 8-4 p.m. Central Region Symposium--The Perennial Plant Association. The Morton Arboretum.  

Saturday, February 17, 9-11 a.m. Seed Starting for the Edible Garden. The Morton Arboretum.

Thursday, February 22, 7-9 p.m. Seed Starting for the Edible Garden.  The Morton Arboretum.

Saturday, February 24. 8-4. This Old House: Midwestern Gardens from Past to Present.  The University of Illinois Master Gardener Conference.

Monday, March 19. Midwestern Garden Design. Western Springs Garden Club.  

Thursday, March 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m.  Early Bloomers--Plants for Spring Color. The Morton Arboretum.

Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m. to noon. Outside the Bungalow: Gardens and Plants. 10-12. The Chicago Botanic Garden. 

Saturday, March 31, 1-3 p.m. Grow a Cook's Garden. The Chicago Botanic Garden. 

Saturday, April 7.  Edible Gardens. The Morton Arboretum. 

Tuesday, April 10, 1 p.m.  Simple Pleasures: Weed Less, Enjoy your garden more! Garden Club of Park Forest 

Friday, April, 13. 1 p.m.  Cress Creek Garden Club, Naperville. Topic TBD

Saturday, April 14. Chicago Botanic Garden. Painting Your Garden with Plants (2 sessions: sun/shade) 

Saturday, May 5, 9:30 - Noon. Grow Great Peppers!  The Morton Arboretum.

Saturday, May 12. 1-3 p.m. American Home Garden Design 1832-Present. Chicago Botanic Garden. 

Other 1-hour classes (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

Moon Gardens: What's old is new again

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:  The Wow Factor  

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