More than 100 people showed up to learn about rose pruning at the first class in the 2008 CSUN-al gardening series hosted by the CSUN Botanic Garden.
Although a few students, faculty and staff members came to the Jan. 5 class, most of those who attended were local members of the community, said Brenda Kanno, CSUN Botanic Garden manager.
Attendees learned how to take care of their roses with proper pruning to increase the chances of blooming, Kanno said.
The class was taught by Steve Gerischer, a landscape designer who has been featured on HGTV and has been a friend of Kanno’s for the past 10 years.
“I try to pick topics that are gardening-related, but also ones that people really want to know about, like rose pruning,” Kanno said
Christine Varney, a Botanic Garden employee who also attended the class, estimated that more than 50 people usually attend the classes, which last for an hour and a half, in the seasonal series every year.
The most recent rose pruning class began with a presentation on how fertilizers and pesticides can enter storm drains and negatively impact the oceans. It was followed by a lecture on rose care and health. Attendees were then able to practice their pruning skills on campus.
“We talked about the principles of rose pruning, tools to use and a little of the diseases and rose care,” Varney said. “Then we went out to the garden by the bookstore and did pruning of the roses down there.”
“I learned a few tips and tricks that I hadn’t done before. It’s a good way for destressing and regrouping,” Varney said. “Gardening is considered the number one hobby in the United States and we live in an absolutely stunning environment to practice that hobby.”
Helen DeGyarsas, a retired high school Spanish teacher, also attended the rose pruning class.
“It was very specific,” said DeGyarsas, who has attended about six or seven of the CSUN-al gardening classes. “(Gerischer) gave a lot of information. He really had a lot of experience growing roses. He shows exactly what tool to use.”
The next CSUN-al gardening class will be “Totally Tomatoes!” on March 15, followed by “Busy Backyard Bugs” on June 28 and “CSUN Tree Walk” on Sept. 27. Classes are held on Saturdays beginning at 9 a.m.
Because of popular demand, “Totally Tomatoes!” will be featured in two sessions, Varney said. There were an estimated 200 to 300 attendees during previous years.
“(Scott Daigre) is a terrific speaker and he makes it very entertaining,” Varney said. “There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes so you can talk forever on tomatoes.”
Daigre also taught “Tomatomania!” during the spring 2008 semester.
“We had a tree walk last year and we’ll have another one this year. This is a fascinating area for trees. We have really interesting varieties,” Varney said in the regard to the impending classes.
Kanno said the “Busy Backyard Bugs” class will give people the opportunity to bring insects they find in their yard to class to identify them and determine whether they are beneficial to the garden.
The Botanic Garden, located south of the University Student Union, contains four greenhouses with more than 1,800 kinds of plants, in addition to the main outdoor garden area.
Anybody who would like to attend one of the CSUN-al gardening classes may register no earlier than one month before the date of the session they plan to attend. More information can be found on the Botanic Garden’s Website at www.csun.edu/botanicgarden.