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Herbaceous Perennials Online Course

While trees, shrubs, sub-shrubs and ground-covers are abundantly focused upon, we often don't pay enough attention to those plants that are more transient in nature.

Herbaceous Perennials Overview

In northern latitudes, herbaceous perennials die and disappear in winter, and then arise completely renewed come spring.

Herbaceous Perennials Are Often A Garden's Foundation

Unlike annuals that must be replanted every spring, herbaceous perennials are easy to care for and require less of a time commitment. 

And because of their dependability and wide array of colors and textures, herbaceous perennials are capable of filling a multitude of roles in the modern American diminutive garden. 

What Makes This Course Unique

This online class is designed so that you can learn anytime, anywhere, around your schedule. And you'll still be able to connect with your instructor and classmates.

By the end of this 10-week online course, you will know how to catalog details on plants of interest and you will be able to grow and maintain your own perennials.

The course is broken down into the following sections:

  • Garden design history
  • Residential design
  • Soil/water/nutrition
  • Pollinator gardens
  • Maintenance of herbaceous perennials
  • Ethnobotany

Your weekly activities will include instructor-led lectures, lively discussions and a plant of the week exercise.

And with direct access to expert instructor Al Shay, it's like you'll have a personalized gardening consultant with you every step of the way.

June 24 - September 1, 2024
Ten weeks | Asynchronous
price (2)
Additional Information:
Required Textbooks: Herbaceous Perennial Plants, Third Ed. Armitage, Allan.  2008. ISBN 978-1-58874-775-4

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden Revised and Expanded Third Ed. DiSabato-Aust, Tracy. 2017. ISBN 9781604697070

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An outstanding course taught by an instructor (Al Shay) that knows his subject well and obviously cares deeply about it. Al’s thought-provoking discussion prompts guide the student to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of perennials, not just in the home landscape, but world-at-large. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in herbaceous perennials, be they novice gardeners or others seeking a career in horticulture."

Dave Kollens


Al Shay

Al Shay has worked in the green industry for the last 34 years at Oregon State University, Eugene Country Club, The Oregon Garden and DeSantis Landscapes. Al holds undergraduate degrees in fine arts from Hunter College/CUNY, horticulture from Oregon State University and a Master of Science in Agriculture from Oregon State University.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.