Native Plant School

Native Plant School

Upcoming Sessions

Register Now

 Native Plant School is a year-round series of mostly outdoor learning sessions in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve. They will cover various aspects of native home landscaping and prairie/savanna/wetland re-establishment. Please bring your questions, comments, photos, drawings, plant specimens, etc. for these three-hour discussion sessions. Scott Woodbury and guest experts will lead the discussions, hands-on tours and demonstrations. Participation from the audience is encouraged.

Class Information

Registration: Registration is required. Please register and pay online. If you are unable to register online, call Rachel at Shaw Nature Reserve at (314) 577-9526.

  • Registration starts February 1 for classes in March through August.
  • Registration starts August 1 for classes in September through February.

Time: All classes are Thursdays from 1–4 p.m.

Location: All classes will begin in the classroom behind the Joseph H. Bascom House, except for plant propagation which will gather in the Greenhouse.

Fees: $17 for non-members; $14 for members.

Continuing Education Credits: CEU’s available on request (three per course).


Upcoming Sessions

registration starts February 1, 2017
March 9, 2017
Maintaining a Successful Native Garden – SOLD OUT  
Scott Woodbury
I strive to shape gardens to fit into our neighborhoods, our yards and minds. Successful gardens get weeded, watered and mulched. Plants are divided, pruned and removed when they show up in the wrong place. This class will show you how to enhance and maintain an enjoyable and beautiful garden.
April 13, 2017
Top Performing Native Plants for the St. Louis Region-.SOLD OUT 
Scott Woodbury
Class will cover the best of the best native plants for a home garden, how to combine them, deer resistance and best plants for wildlife. Plants selections mostly based on ornamental value, compact size, lack of weediness, longevity and wildlife value. If you are thinking about starting or expanding a native plant garden, this class may be for you.  
May 12–13, 2017
Shaw Wildflower Market
May 4, 2017
Rain Gardening
Scott Woodbury
Rain gardens function like miniature natural watersheds. They slow down, capture and absorb water using elements similar to those in nature: plants, rocks, shallow swales and depressions that hold water temporarily rather than let it quickly run away. They provide beauty, natural diversity and wildlife habitat in areas that otherwise would be a monoculture of lawns, pavement, concrete culverts and storm drains. This class will show you how to plan, install and maintain a rain garden and bioswale.
June 8, 2017
NEW: Front Yard Formal Native Landscaping 
James Faupel 
We’ll take a look at how to incorporate native plants into a front yard setting. Class discussion will cover topics such proper plant selection, design methods, maintenance, use of turf grass and more. Your neighbors will be envious of your tidy garden, and will want to know all about your well behaved native plants.
July 13, 2017
Gardening for Wildlife 
What can you plant that will look good in your home landscape and bring birds and butterflies to your yard? Bring a drawing of your landscape plan and get ready to explore planting options that will work with your yard's soil, light and water conditions. We will examine the best plants for wildlife use in a home garden setting and the wildlife they attract.
registration starts August 1, 2017
September 14, 2017
Converting Mowed Grass to Seeded Prairie or Savanna
Scott Woodbury
Do you have too much lawn at home or in the country? Would you like to convert a hayfield into a diverse blooming prairie that attracts wildlife? Come learn how to create a natural-style landscape with high diversity, low maintenanceand great wildlife diversity.
September 8, 2017
Shaw Wildflower Market
October 12, 2017
Native Wild Edible Plants
Jen Sieradzki
Did you know that many native plants are edible and delicious too? Together, class members and Whitmire Wildflower Garden horticulturists will identify some common native edible plants, view them in a garden setting, discuss different ways to utilize them in recipes, and sample them too! This will be a fun and interactive class for gardeners and cooks alike.
November 9, 2017
The Next Invasive Plant Comes to Town
Dr. Quinn Long and Scott Woodbury
This class will help you understand the difference between weedy and invasive plants. We will discuss the identification and control of a variety of invasive plants including species that are likely to become the next disaster like bush honeysuckle. A few of the plants of concern include Oriental bittersweet, burning bush, privet, Callery pear, Amur corktree, golden raintree and Chinese beautyberry.
December 14, 2017
The Art and Function of Native Landscaping
Scott Woodbury
In need of the tools necessary to transform your yard into a beautiful and functioning landscape that enhances life for you and wildlife and fits into the neighborhood? This class will explore basic design styles, planning methods, and plant selection that maximizes wildlife potential while also fitting in with the neighborhood. Come learn how to select, arrange, install and maintain native plants for optimal owner, neighbor, and wildlife satisfaction.
January 11, 2018
Practical Gardening with Native Plants

Scott Woodbury 
A class designed to provide gardeners with an understanding of basic gardening maintenance tasks and improve knowledge of native plant horticulture. Topics include techniques for planting, transplanting, insect and plant identification, weeding, mulching, watering, pruning, deadheading and eco-friendly turf maintenance.
February 8, 2018
Greenhouse Propagation of Native Plants
Terri Brandt
Growing native perennials, grasses, trees and shrubs from seed isn’t a mystery. This class will introduce the basic propagation methods that involve stratification, scarification, timing, soils, containers, fertilization and basic insect management. Class will be held in the Shaw Nature Reserve Greenhouse area. Check in at Visitor Center for directions.