“Plants in the Landscape”

Course #210

Thursday, May 5th Springstead Town Hall, 3pm-5pm

Tuesday May 17th ClearView Nursery, Springstead, 3pm-5pm

Objectives:  Plants can be studied from many perspectives.  Our goal in this class will be to help students understand how plants are categorized, and how they fit into natural (ecological) and unnatural systems (“unnatural systems” means gardens). We will discuss the five factors that allow plants to thrive (or fail) in a specific location.  And we will talk about specific plants, both in the natural landscape and in the home landscape and garden.      

Course structure:  The course will be given in 2 sessions, each 120 minutes long, covering the following topics:


Class #1   May 5th     Townhall     Highway 182, Springstead  

Ecological Awareness and the Landscape.     Handout/read/discuss.

Five variables for plant success

What’s in a (plant) name?  Carpe diem  Caveat emptor  

Plant classifications:   Woody, herbaceous (annual, biennial, perennial), fungi, dieback shrub

Landscape design:   Melding of nature and art   “Nature is a mutable cloud, always and never the same”—Emerson     “Man is trapped in the arid, fuming working of his own machinery.”  Simonds                                      

Class #2   May 17th ClearView Nursery   4483 Fawn Lake Rd, Springstead

Tour nursery

Plant identification:   Woodies

Discuss plant macro-structure, life history, propagation, choosing plants that work, landscape design, plant health, pesticides and herbicides.

Requirements: The only prerequisite for this course is an interest in plants.  A number of resource books will be mentioned and a list of such resources will be provided, but there will be no textbook.  There will be no homework nor tests.

Instructor: Chad McGrath was born in Elmhurst Ill, where he lived until attending Carthage College in Kenosha Wi.  Finding the “wilds” of even southeastern Wisconsin to his liking, he vowed to move north after his education was finished.  So, after obtaining a Masters degree in psychology and a couple year stint at Elgin State Hospital as a psychologist, he took a job in Wisconsin Rapids in mental health administration.  Administrative jobs then took him to Marshfield and Wausau.  After 13 years of such work he quit. He started a plant nursery, began to write in earnest, and maintained a consulting business.  The nursery morphed into ClearView Garden Center in Weston which he ran for 6 years.  He moved to Springstead in 1997, where he continues in the nursery business.  Chad has written several books and many articles, mostly about and connected to plants and the outdoors.  Cross-country skiing is a passion.  He is currently on the adjunct faculty at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau and has taught for Lac Courte Oreilles College out of Hayward.

Course fee: $25 (note, $5 discount if registration is postmarked by April 21)