With spring in NYC ushering in blooming trees, flowering plants, and blossoming gardens, many New Yorkers wish they had better access to these natural beauties. But even if you’re not fortunate enough to have a backyard, garden, or terrace (or fire escape for that matter), there are loads of ways to get your green thumb on in the city. From flower arranging in a cute Williamsburg shop to landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden to a houseplant 101 class in Chelsea, 6sqft has rounded up a dozen of the best places for gardening, plant, and flower classes in the city.
Image via Chelsea Garden Center
With locations in Williamsburg and Red Hook, this local plant shop and landscape design company launched a class series with houseplant enthusiast and founder of Homestead Brooklyn, Summer Rayne Oakes (check out her personal home filled with 500+ plants). She recently led a “Houseplants 101” workshop and this weekend is hosting an herb-growing class, where guests will get to smell, taste, and touch a number of different varieties, as well as learn how to grow herbs three ways: in the home, on a balcony or terrace, or in an outdoor plot.
Image © Brooklyn Grange
Brooklyn Grange operates the world’s largest rooftop soil farms–one in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the other in Long Island City. Each year, they grow more than 50,000 pounds of organic produce, as well as operate an apiary of over 30 natural beehives on roofs throughout the city. In addition to hosting tours, they have a robust events calendar that includes everything from the very specialized (herbs for conception, pregnancy, and postpartum) to more general classes like beekeeping 101 and designing green roofs and rooftop farms.
Image © Twig Terrariums
Today, you can buy terrariums everywhere from plant shops to Whole Foods, but there’s nothing like creating your own specialized plant vessel, and Gowanus’ Twig is dedicated to just that. The lovely little storefront hosts private workshops, group classes, parties, and date nights with options to make traditional, moss, and succulent terrariums.
Image © Sprout
4. Sprout Home
Another shop that specializes in terrariums, Sprout Home was founded in Chicago in 2003 but expanded to Williamsburg in 2007. Along with a very cute retail store that specializes in “hard-to-find, but easy-to-grow plants” and design services including floral design, custom-made terrariums, and garden design and installation, Sprout puts on weekly terrarium-building workshops that cater to your specific light/temperature situation.
Image © NY Botanical Garden
It’s no surprise that the largest botanical garden in any U.S. city has a ton of class offerings. In addition to plant talks, a professional horticulture school, and a children’s gardening program, NYBG has an entire adult education roster with classes in 12 distinct categories, ranging from wellness to crafts and floral design to botany and landscape design. Some fun upcoming classes are flower arranging with store-bought bouquets, bonsai for beginners, and tree climbing for arborists.
Image © The Sill
6. The Sill
Located in Chinatown, the Sill distributes potted indoor plants nationwide, but their charming Hester Street storefront offers weekly workshops such as Plant Care 101, where guests get tips and tricks for choosing and caring for houseplants based on one’s specific space and your schedule, or informational sessions on individual plants like orchids. The best part? Guests leave with a potted plant and some of the classes include wine!
Image © Rose & Lavender
This Industry City-based event design and production company specializes in floral design and offers classes that share their expertise. Topics range from basic floral arranging to indoor herb gardening, and they also do off-site group classes. In addition to bachelorette parties and showers, Rose Red & Lavender has also catered to corporate functions for the likes of Spotify and Trip Advisor.
Image © Brooklyn Brainery
Adult class mega-center Brooklyn Brainery recently opened a second location in Windsor Terrace; the original is in Prospect Heights. Their general offerings really run the gamut (from physics to Australian desserts), as do their plant- and flower-specific courses. Some upcoming examples include Kokedama: Make Your Own Living Moss Balls, Summer Floral Wreaths, and Flowering Bonsai. Materials are always included, and with both local and visiting teachers, there’s always something new up on the roster.
Image © Stems Brooklyn
Ditmas Park-based Stems creates “wild and funky mixed garden bouquets” as part of their mission to make florals feel accessible to everyone (the complimentary cocktails help, too!). Classes include Basic DIY Flower Arranging, where you’ll create an arrangement in a mason jar, and the Flower Crown Workshop.
Image © Flower School NY
Considered “the most prestigious school for floral arts and flower design in New York City,” this West Village education center actually has a comprehensive professional program but also offers one-off classes taught by master florists, study abroad trips, and workshops that include an introduction to flower design and day-long flower shop tours.
Image © Wave Hill
11. Wave Hill
Wave Hill is a 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx that overlooks the Hudson River and Palisades. Guests can enjoy a myriad of outdoor spaces, including a rock garden, aquatic garden, conservatory, and seasonal flower garden. Those who want more than just an outing, though, can sign up for one of many classes like cooking demos with edible flowers, trellis building, and horticultural lectures. There’s also a ton of family programs related to gardening, art, and nature.
Image © Greenthumb
GreenThumb is the largest community gardening program in the country, providing programming and materials to 500+ community gardens in NYC. As both a way to help individual gardens and share knowledge with the general community, they offer a full schedule of events and workshops throughout the five boroughs in various community gardens. In addition to activities to get New Yorkers out in the spaces (like yoga and dancing), topics range from a direct sow and transplant workshop to an informational tree session.
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Lead image courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden
Tags : Brooklyn Brainery, brooklyn grange, chelsea garden center, Flower School New York, GreenThumb, New York Botanical Garden, plants, Rose Red & Lavender, Sprout Home, Stems Brooklyn, The Sill, Twig Terrarium, Wave Hill