The National Garden Clubs, Inc. is a not-for-profit educational organization with its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. As part of its mission, NGC offers educational opportunities for members and non-members:
- Environmental Schools are a series of four courses in environmental studies offered over a period of time (usually two years) by local or State Garden Clubs. Students completing the courses may become NGC Environmental Consultants.
- Flower Show Schools are a series of courses intended to train NGC members to become accredited Flower Show Judges.
- Gardening Courses focus on helping members become accomplished horticulturists. Courses cover all aspects of growing from understanding soil structure to pruning techniques, plant identification, etc. Courses may be sponsored by member clubs, groups of clubs, State Garden Clubs, etc. and may be open to garden club members and non-members.
- Landscape Design Courses offer a series of four 10-hour courses. The course curriculum covers the history of landscape design as well as instruction from landscape architects in a variety of design techniques used in home and municipal settings.
Helping members become accomplished environmental consultants.
The mission of the Environmental Schools is to teach environmental literacy to cherish, protect and conserve the living earth. The courses teach participants environmental literacy, appreciation of the natural world, encourages action for sustainable development and appreciation for the interrelation of all-natural things. Particular emphasis is presently placed on land conservation, water conservation and air quality.
Flower Show Schools
A General Course of Study for Members, Exhibitors and Judges
Come and join us for Flower Show Schools! Flower Show Schools is not only for prospective flower show exhibitors and judges, but also for all garden club members and all persons interested in flower design and horticulture. While the primary purpose of these courses is to train those wishing to become flower show judges, many people attend for information only and those people do not have to take the examinations!
The horticulture curriculum consists of basic general information on proper gardening techniques from seed / plant selection to plant culture and control of problems. Information is also presented on cultural needs of specific perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs, as well as fruits, vegetables and nuts and how to grow superior container plants.
Design instruction covers traditional floral arrangements through contemporary styles and even designs incorporating lights and motors. Many attendees are particularly interested in table setting designs showing coordination of floral centerpiece, linens and dishes. Vignettes, small segments of rooms, also give ideas on interior decorating.
Helping members become accomplished horticulturists.
The NGC Gardening Courses are designed to provide educational information to those especially interested in gardening, horticulture and related subjects.
The School consists of a series of four courses, scheduled usually for two days of instruction, followed by a general examination. Courses cover all aspects of growing, from understanding soil structure to pruning techniques, plant identification, etc. Topics include basic botany, soils, growing annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables, lawns, pests and diseases of plants, plant classification, and selected subjects of local interest.
Additional topics and areas of interest that may be covered are subjects such as Reconciliation Ecology (the science of inventing, establishing, and maintaining new habitats in places where people live, work, and play), and creating backyard habitats to help endangered species such as pollinators and amphibians.
The courses are intended primarily for garden club members, but they are also open to the general public, requiring only the payment of a nominal fee. Courses may be sponsored by member clubs, groups of clubs, Districts and State Garden Clubs. Garden club members completing the series of four courses are awarded the designation of NGC Gardening Consultant. Attendees from the general public may attain Consultant status by joining a garden club during the school series or shortly after completion.
In planning, promoting and publicizing Gardening Schools, consider the theme for the 2019-2021 NGC administration, Plant America, with its focus on gardens and gardening. It is both a description of what NGC clubs do and a command to service. Learn all aspects of Planting America in GSS. Learn information and skills that can be used in new or existing club, district or state projects and apply for Plant America Community Project Grants.
Landscape Design Courses
Helping members develop greater appreciation of the environment, both natural and manmade.
Landscape Design Schools offer a series of four 10-hour courses. The courses cover learning about your ecosystem, the principles and elements of landscape design, the landscape design process, the history of landscape design and designing for the environment, among many other topics.
Since its founding in 1958, professional instructors have maintained the high standards originally incorporated in the study program. Students acquire the tools for making their own gardens more beautiful and easier to maintain. Students have been motivated to serve in political decision-making areas where awareness of the impact of a well-designed landscape can enhance the beauty and enjoyment of life in the public arena.
The courses are intended primarily for garden club members but are open to the general public. Courses may be sponsored by member clubs, groups of clubs, councils, districts and state garden clubs. Garden club members completing the series of four courses are awarded the designation of NGC Landscape Design Consultant. To maintain Consultant status, continuing education is required. Single-subject and Multiple Refreshers provide advanced study opportunity and the occasion to interface with other Consultants. Participation in Consultant Councils is encouraged as one means of using the knowledge gained from this educational program.