Published on 09/11/12

Southern garden expert offers online course

By Merritt Melancon, Jay Tillinghast

It’s not often a gardener can invite a nationally-known expert over to talk about gardening, but a new online course with University of Georgia acclaimed horticulturist Allan Armitage now offers that chance.

Founder of the UGA Trial Gardens, Armitage has teamed up with the UGA Center for Continuing Education to offer his first online course, Armitage’s Herbaceous Perennials for the Sun.

Horticulturalists nationwide consider Armitage a leading expert on perennials, and his recommendations for plants in Georgia’s warm, moist climate are taken as gospel by Southern gardeners.

The self-paced course concentrates on Armitage’s selection of 20 perennials for sunny gardens. He will offer insight on how to plant, propagate and care for his favorite perennials. He will also describe each plant’s origin, characteristics, bloom time, flower structure and optimum growing conditions.

“It will be challenging, but we will have a fun,” Armitage said.

The course will include audio clips, interactive exercises and end-of-lesson quizzes that provide instant feedback.

It will serve as a crash course on perennials for landscapers and nursery employees, but is also perfect for home gardeners who want to be better informed. Students will learn how to identify the different growing conditions in their landscape, understand which perennials perform best in those conditions and gain the confidence to try new plants.

“This course will appeal to gardeners at all levels, from first-time homeowners to experienced garden center employees,” said Pamela Bracken, department head of special projects and curriculum development at the Georgia Center. “Dr. A. is opinionated and does not pull any punches, and he delivers quality information in a unique and entertaining style.”

Students are given three months to complete the course, and those who do will receive 2.4 hours of continuing education credit.

For more information or to enroll, call 706-542-3537 or visit

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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