Our schedule of events changes often. You’ll find many good, info-packed workshops to help you with your gardens, as well as terrific craft and foodie classes. Click on the SIGN UP NOW link on any individual workshop to register. Don’t delay because they fill quickly. This list is chronological.
Here’s how it works: Register online, in the store or by phone to reserve your spot; classes fill quickly. All workshop materials are included in the class cost, unless otherwise stated. Prepayment is required when registering; debit and credit cards are accepted. Click the link on the workshop or call 602-279-9510 to register.
Cancellation policy: No refunds or store credits will be issued if you can’t attend a class. Instructors work in advance to prepare materials and they are paid whether or not you attend. No exceptions. You are welcome to send someone in your place. Please let us know in advance.
Free Parking & Light Rail
- There is plenty of free public parking west of Southwest Gardener at 400 and 444 West Camelback Rd. Additional free public parking across Camelback to the south.
- Don’t want to drive? Take the Light Rail! It lets off at the Central Avenue/Camelback Park-and-Ride, which has hundreds of free parking spaces across the street from Southwest Gardener.
Fall Pot Stakes & Cocktails!
Saturday, September 29, 11 a.m. – We’re been brewing up a bit of fun this month with First Draft Book Bar and artists Deb Betz and Musette Young. Drink and paint – the perfect pairing! In this workshop you’ll paint a pot then turn it into a garden stake that could hold succulents, air plants, or even a candle. Choose your motif – Day of the Dead or Autumn Colors. Enjoy a cool cocktail as you paint to spur your creative juices. Everyone will complete one pot stake per class. Choose from three cocktails: Mimosa, Sangria, or a refreshing Shandy. Non-alcoholic drinks are also available upon request.
Sunday, September 30, 11 a.m. SOLD OUT. Many of you have enjoyed the graceful watercolor and collage artwork of Linda Arandas at Southwest Gardener. We’re happy Linda will be here to teach a mixed-media class on creating desert and botanical-themed greeting cards this month. (We know you all send cards because we sell tons of them!) She will teach techniques using watercolor pencils, pen and ink, and collage to create lovely illustrative art on card-stock paper. Your artful greetings will be worthy of framing, to the delight of the friends who receive them. Each participant will make a set of three cards to keep and will leave with the skills to make many more. This is a relaxing way to learn these delicate art forms that you can use in other projects. All class materials are provided. Plan on about a three-hour class.
Ceramic Garden Totem
This is a two-part workshop. Saturday October 6, 10:30 a.m. & Saturday, October 20, 10:30 a.m. SOLD OUT. This Garden Totem workshop is one of our most popular projects. Musette Young and Deb Betz will teach you to design and craft your own garden totem. This is a statement piece for any yard or garden. In this class, you will build your own three-foot-tall garden totem from clay. This project includes five wheel-thrown pieces that you embellish and decorate. Then you form divider “beads” and flat discs to go between the main pieces. Musette and Deb will take you through the process of creating totem shapes, making a finial for the top, and the best techniques for constructing pieces that will fit over a rebar support post. Once you create the pieces, they’ll go off for the first kiln firing. Come back for part two of your class on October 20 and you’ll glaze the totem pieces. Everything then goes into the kiln for a second firing. Musette and Deb will return your project, along with a three-foot piece of rebar so you can install your totem in the garden. Plan on two, four-hour classes. Note: The totem pictured was made in a previous workshop and is now “planted” in a home garden.
Cool Season Vegetable Gardening
Sunday, October 7, Noon. Fall is our largest growing season in the desert southwest. Homegrown veggies taste better and recent studies show they are more nutritious. Local grower Gregory Ware will be here to share his considerable knowledge about fall and winter season gardening, choosing appropriate varieties, plant placement, pest issues, watering guidelines, and best practices for growing and harvesting. This is a very useful workshop for both first-time gardeners and seasoned growers. Everyone is encouraged to share experiences and ask questions. This is a two-hour class, but sometimes goes longer because we want to answer all your questions.
Friday, October 12, 10:30 a.m. Create your own beautiful environment to watch birds drink and play. Artist Dave Jarvinen will teach you to mosaic a birdbath dish that you can tuck among your garden plants at ground level or place on a pedestal of your choice. Dave will take you through all the steps for using colorful porcelain tiles in mosaics. You will design and assemble one birdbath saucer. The class includes a 14-inch terracotta dish plus a wide selection of porcelain tile colors and any needed tools. Join us for a full day of fun. Class will last about six-hours.
Felted Wool Luminaria
Saturday, October 13, 10:30 a.m. In this hands-on workshop Alice Sweeney will teach you the techniques needed to create a felted wool luminaria using wool roving in a variety of lovely colors. When the vessel is formed you’ll snip a design into it that will allow light to come through. These lamps add nice light to a dark corner, can be used as a night light or would look really neat on a patio table. We’ll provide you a string of battery operated fairy lights – included with the class – and you will take home a one-of-a-kind, sophisticated luminaria. This is a three-hour class.
Fall Vegetable & Herb Plant Sale
Sunday, October 14, Noon to 3 p.m. – We are in the midst of the biggest planting season and grower Gregory Ware will be here with a truckload of his healthy, organic herb and vegetable plants. The transplants are organic, are grown here in Arizona and everything you find is ready to be planted now. Plus, Gregory will be here to answer questions and dive into “garden” talk. This is a super opportunity to snag some of Gregory’s locally grown unusual plant varieties. Check this space closer to the sale for a partial list of what you’ll find.
Cat Garden & Designer Kitty Toys
Sunday, October 21, noon. If you have ever shared your home with a cat, you know how some love to nibble on plants. The trick to steering them away from your houseplants is to provide them with a healthier alternative. Our resident gardening expert Gregory Ware has done research on which healthy plants cats most enjoy nibbling and has put together a fun class on planting and growing a Cat Dish Garden. The class includes a generous pot, soil and a selection of cat grasses, herbs, and catnip. Once you have finished planting your Cat Dish, SWG’s own Lynn Town will jump in with a tutorial on making “designer” catnip toys. Everyone will make two toys by adding a bit of catnip to a traditional plastic cat ball, then sealing it into the ball by wet felting around the outside. Once the toy is complete it gets a final spritz of catnip essential oil. Faster than you can say “Meow” you will have two very pretty cat toys and an enticing cat dish garden. This is a four-hour workshop.
Ceramic Flower Tile
Saturday, October 27, 10:30 a.m. Ceramic artist Yvonne Allen’s showstopper project is this stunning flower plaque which works well indoors or outside, and could even be incorporated as a focal point in a tile installation. Yvonne will demonstrate the basics of working with slab clay, including techniques for adding texture. After designing and creating your own style flower plaque, you will apply glaze layers to add color. The finished plaque will measure approximately 5 inches by 11 inches. Yvonne will take the plaques to be fired in a kiln and your finished project will be ready for pick up about a week later. This is a four-hour workshop.
Lettuce Bowl Garden
Sunday October 28, Noon.This is a class that fills up every season. Gregory Ware will teach you the best practices for growing fresh and tasty greens in a container. Gregory Ware will teach you the best practices for growing fresh and tasty greens in a container you can keep right outside the kitchen door. You’ll learn planting and harvesting techniques that will ensure you enjoy three months of salads from just one planting. In this workshop you will plant and take home a generous mix of lettuces that will grow into a bounty of healthy meals. Fill your patio or balcony with pretty greens! This is a two-hour class.
Crazy Shenanigans Garden Stakes
Saturday, November 3, 10:30 a.m. Ceramic artists Deb Betz and Musette Young are going to help you craft three adorable critters from clay that are just the ticket for adding whimsy and color to your garden. Deb originally designed these wacky birds to decorate rebar stakes she was using to support her tomatoes, and she called them “shenanigans.” Her clever idea quickly expanded to include all sorts of creatures. In this workshop you will make, decorate and glaze three “shenanigan” stake toppers. Deb and Musette will take them to be fired in a kiln and they will be returned to Southwest Gardener for you to pick up within two weeks. Plan on a four-hour workshop.
Grow Bulbs For The Holidays
Sunday, November 4, Noon. A showy pot of festive bulbs makes a great gift and a pretty addition to your holiday décor. Our favorite gardener (and elf-in-training) Gregory Ware will show you how easy it is to plant and grow bulbs for spectacular indoor containers. Gregory will demonstrate the best planting and care for techniques. He’ll also teach you to care for Amaryllis, Paperwhites, Grape Hyacinth and Ranunculus. You will plant a six-inch pot of Paperwhites to take home and Gregory will have additional bulbs to purchase, so you can pot up more at home and have blooms for the holidays.This is a three-hour class.
Flower, Herb & Veggie Plant Sale
Sunday, November 11, Noon to 3 p.m. – There is still a lot of time to plant winter season crops. Grower Gregory Ware will be here with a full assortment of goodies to fill your gardens. This Plant Sale will be held in our north parking lot. You’ll find fall color pots that will bloom through the end of the year, scented geraniums, edible nasturtiums, a good variety of herbs, artichokes, kale, and other cold weather veggies along with popular salad mixes. Check back as we get closer to the sale for a more detailed list of varieties.
Cornucopia Of Fresh Flowers
Saturday, November 17, 10:30 a.m. Here’s one way to deliver an abundance of smiles this Thanksgiving. Tina Nestor from Create Yours will be here to help you craft an original fall flower centerpiece for your holiday table. (Or this could be your contribution to the party!) Tina is a master with flowers and will share loads of good information about the best flowers to use in this season and setting, flower care for long-lasting beauty, and floral design. All flowers, supplies, and instructions are provided so you can create your own expression of gratitude and excitement for this beautiful season. Plan on a two-hour class.
Holiday Cookie Make & Take
Friday, November 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a bit of cookie decorating? Come and join Gregory Ware to learn techniques for creating wonderfully decorated cookies. Gregory will bring his fresh-baked gingerbread people cookies and provide tools for decorating. This is a perfect post-Thanksgiving activity for you, family, and out-of-town guests. Plus, the mess stays out of your kitchen! This is a make-and-take event, so no prior registration is required. You can walk in, pay the cookie fee, and the next available spot at the decorating table is yours. We’re guessing it will take about 15 minutes to decorate two cookies – each are about three inches tall. You could nibble them right away or maybe you’ll want to hang them in your holiday tree. Cost: $5.50 for two cookies.
Whimsical Holiday Charms
Friday, November 23, 10:30 a.m. Artist Julie Haymaker is back with an original holiday project that could become a keepsake ornament for this year, your favorite piece of seasonal jewelry, a beautiful addition to a a holiday present, or a heartfelt custom gift for the extra-special person on your list. Julie has created a lively series of designs just for Southwest Gardener from her trademark “shrink plastic.” We took one of Julie’s classes earlier this year and were blown away by our results and humbled by the technical steps we learned. (There’s way more to this than cut, draw, bake.) Using her art skills, Julie will help you create background designs to your project with inks and rubber stamps. She’ll teach you simple drawing techniques to create detail and shading. All materials and tools will be supplied. You will create three one-of-a-kind “wow” ornaments in this three-hour class.