Gardening class for small spaces offered at Botanic Garden

Marissa Kindelspire

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CSUN-al gardening class will be held at the Botanic Garden. Students will learn how to garden in small spaces. Sundial File Photo

The Botanic Garden at CSUN is offering another session in the CSUN-al Gardening series, a free set of lectures aimed at educating students and the surrounding community on how to maintain plant life.

Steve Gerischer, proprietor of Larkspur Garden Design and landscaper for more than 26 years, will lead the session Aug. 28 with emphasis on how to choose and care for plants in limited environments.

“There is certainty that students can do it,” Gerischer said. “I’ve made all the mistakes for them and will try to steer them clear.”

With locations such as restricted apartment patios and the increasingly miniature size of residential backyards in mind, Gerischer said he aims to help college students make use of the unique space in their homes.

Although many students do not have a sprawling outdoor area to spend time in, Gerischer said he hopes his upcoming class will motivate students to work with what they have.

“Students can take away enthusiasm for the subject through a bit of in-depth knowledge,” Gerischer said.

One option for budding gardeners to consider is blueberries, which Gerischer calls a “multi-use” plant that can liven up even the smallest of homes.

“If I can’t end up using it, a bird, insect or butterfly should be able to,” he said.

Brenda Kanno, manager of the Botanic Garden, agrees with Gerischer.

“I live in an apartment, have potted plants on my windowsill and on my patio,” she said. “Gardening doesn’t necessarily need a large area of land.  It can be extensive even without a full yard.”

Kanno and Gerischer worked together to devise the upcoming class based on local needs.

“Many homeowners in the neighborhood have interest in how to better garden, and we have catered to that with lectures on rose pruning and tomato growing,” Kanno said. “This time around, we wanted to get in touch with those in townhouses, condos and apartments around campus.”

Gardening cannot only add an aesthetic quality to one’s home, but provide health and emotional benefits as well, said Aviva Newman, recent graduate of CSUN’s health administration program.

Newman said she plans to work in public health, and added that planting flowers, fruits and vegetables helps in the overall quality of life.

“Flowers are therapeutic and fruits and vegetables are essential to a balanced diet,” Newman said. “Having a gardening class is great, especially in this economy, because it allows people to learn how to plant anything from seeds that are extremely cheap.”

Newman added that planting a home garden can provide vitamin D, a nutrient which, along with the activity of gardening, is said to help keep people healthy and happy.

Kanno said the CSUN-al Gardening series was resurrected in 2003 in order to fulfill the university’s responsibility to the community and San Fernando Valley.

“We hope to reach out to the community and show what our campus has to offer,” Kanno said. “As an educational institution, we don’t want to limit what we have to offer to strictly obtaining a degree.”

Registration opened in July, but those interested in obtaining a spot can e-mail botanicgarden@csun.edu or check back at the Botanic Garden website for information on the upcoming winter session.

Enrollment is not limited to students.