Home gardening workshops, nature art classes, and more!


We offer many learning opportunities for adults, including native plant gardening workshops, conservation studies programs, botanical art classes, health and well-being classes, nature walks, programs focusing on people-plant connections, and Lunchbox Talks, just to name a few. Offerings range from one-hour lectures, to short classes, to longer, multi-day courses and certificate programs. We have something for everyone!

  • Advance registration is required for all programs.
  • All classes are held at the Allen Education Center, off of Old Mason Farm Road in Chapel Hill, unless otherwise indicated.
  • Members receive a 10% discount on class fees. Not a member? Join here!
  • Need to cancel or request a refund? Cancellation and refund policy [PDF]

View and register for classes

Special Focus

For those looking to delve deeper into a topic, we offer certificate programs and series in several areas. Explore our offerings below!

Certificate in

Botanical Art & Illustration

The Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration provides participants with a well-balanced curriculum in both botanical art and illustration that includes scientific background, visual arts theory, and practical experience in different media.
New in 2019!

Conservation Gardening 101

Learn the foundational concepts of planting design, implementation and maintenance of compellingly beautiful native plant gardens based on sound conservation practices.
Certificate in

Native Plants

The Certificate and Advanced Certificate in Native Plants provide a well-balanced botany, ecology, and taxonomy curriculum that enables students to expand their knowledge and develop a greater appreciation of native flora of the southeastern United States.
Certificate in

Therapeutic Horticulture

The Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture provides comprehensive instruction to professionals and students in the health and allied health fields who wish to incorporate therapeutic horticulture into their practice. The program includes classroom instruction, hands-on activities and field trips in therapeutic horticulture, horticulture, and other important topics relevant to this field.

Annual Lectures

Each year the Garden hosts three annual lectures that are free and open to the general public. The Sims lecture focused on conservation is held each year in April. The Fitch Lecture focused on horticulture is held each year in November. And, the Darwin Day lecture, held each year on February 12th in honor of Charles Darwin's Birthday.

Native Plant Lecture

Evelyn McNeill Sims Lecture

Every spring the Garden offers a lecture focused on native plants and their conservation and ecology. The lecture series was initiated in 2000 with a gift from Botanical Garden Foundation Board member Nancy Preston to honor her mother, Evelyn McNeill Sims, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
Memorial Lecture

Jenny Elder Fitch Lecture

Named in memory of Jenny Fitch, local plant enthusiast and passionate gardener, this lecture takes place each fall. Mrs. Fitch passed away in 1995. The endowment for the lecture series was graciously donated by her husband, R.B. Fitch, in 1997 after friends and family sent scores of memorial gifts to the Garden. We have been able to bring a renowned gardener or horticulturist to Chapel Hill each year since 1999 to present the Jenny Fitch lecture.
Public Lecture

Darwin Day Lecture

Born on February 12, 1809, the same day as Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin was one of the most influential scientists of all time. Darwin's theory of natural selection and evolution published with compelling evidence in his book, On the Origin of Species in 1859, forever changed our view of life on earth. Each year, the Garden celebrates Darwin's birthday with a special lecture with an evolutionary theme to commemorate one of the most influential scientists of all time.

Darwin Day Lecture

Monday, February 12, 2024

Using science-fiction depictions to learn real-world evolution concepts

with Mohamed Noor, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Interim Vice Provost, Duke University

While some people choose to learn about evolution through coursework, a large number of people could be interested in the subject if brought to them wrapped in another subject in which they are already engaged. In this talk, Professor Noor introduces evolutionary concepts, thinking, and approaches framed using depictions from the Star Trek television franchise.

Register here.

Evelyn McNeill Sims Native Plant Lecture

Sunday, April 7, 2024
Finding our future in longleaf diversity: What longleaf teaches us about diversity, and why that’s critical to the future of our forests with Bill Finch

The longleaf pine ecosystem has often been described as North America’s most diverse forest ecosystem, and longleaf, like few other ecosystems, fostered diversity within and outside its canopy. But understanding the diversity of that diversity will be critical not only to maintaining longleaf pine but also to restoring forest ecosystems that can survive the dramatic changes of the next century, while more equitably serving the people who live there.

Register here.

Group Tours

Experience the beauty of our unique native plant gardens and learn what makes us one of the premier conservation gardens in the U.S. by scheduling a private guided tour for your adult or senior group.