The gARTening Program: 2023 Schedule

What is the gARTening Program?

The gARTening Program is designed to connect residents to both our UF/IFAS Extension Services and Horticulture through the use of art within gardening. The gARTening program is a program for all ages, from 4-104 years old! While gardening has physical health benefits, it also has mental health benefits. In a study published in the journal “PLOS ONE,” University of Florida scientists found that gardening activities lowered stress, anxiety and depression. “Past studies have shown that gardening can help improve the mental health of people who have existing medical conditions or challenges. Our study shows that healthy people can also experience a boost in mental wellbeing through gardening,” said Charles Guy, Principal Investigator on the study and Professor Emeritus in the UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture Department. You can read more about the study in this blog post. Our mission in the gARTening Program is to provide our residents a fun and relaxing gardening related craft in a Zen environment. 

In Orange County, 43.5% of the population are renters or apartment dwellers and these residents may not have means for traditional gardening. The gARTening program’s hands-on activities are small scale projects that allow participants to work with plants or plant material in a unique art piece that they can take home to display. While creating their own masterpiece, students gain knowledge about plants, gardening, and so much more. Check out our past projects and upcoming classes and we hope to see you at the next gARTening class!


Past Classes:

  • December- Making a Kokedama

    • Kokedama is a Japanese garden art form that uses a ball of moss to create a plant growing container. The word kokedama translates from koke meaning moss and dama meaning ball. The moss ball container can sit on a decorative platter or can be hung from a wire or string. In this class, participants learned how to create one of these unique spherical planters out of moist moss, twine, and potting soil.


January- Designing a Closed Terrarium

    • Closed terrariums are a moist humid environment perfect for tropical plants. Each terrarium can be customized and designed to your personal style utilizing whichever props and figurines your heart desires! Participants brought their own half-gallon container with a lid and we provided the gravel, charcoal, mesh netting, soil, moss, plants and figurines. Participants learned about what these enclosed ecosystem entail and how to design and care for this miniature landscape.





  • February- February Floral Fest

    • Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Our February class focused on how Florida Friendly Landscaping plant material can be utilized in floral arrangements. We explored the artistic elements of floral design and learned about the history of the floriculture industry. Participants designed their own unique centerpiece arrangements using a vase with floral foam, carnations, chrysanthemums, baby’s breath, Red Seeded Cedar, and Arizona Cypress!




  • March- Pressed Flower Art

    Person smiling holding their picture frame. Their art has various pressed floral material of flowers and foliaged arranged in a decorate design.

    • Pressing and preserving plant material is a technique botanists use to keep record of the study of various plant species. In this class we explored various techniques of pressing floral material and how to make beautiful arrangements using the material. Pressed flowers make gorgeous decorative embellishments to all sorts of arts and crafts projects. Wedding cards, greeting cards, bookmarks, and even jewelry can be made utilizing pressed floral material. Join us for the next pressed flower art class where you will make your own “unique” pressed flower art that you will frame and take home to display with pride!




Upcoming Classes:

  • April- Design a Hypertufa with Succulents

    • Love the look of stone, but not the weight and expense? With a little time and a few supplies, you can make your own planters from hypertufa. Hypertufa is a mix of water, Portland cement, peat moss or coconut fiber, and either sand, perlite, or vermiculite. Planters made from hypertufa are porous and drain well, so they make a perfect home for succulents and rock garden plants. Learn about how to care for succulents and create your own hypertufa for your garden!
    • April 15th @ 9:30 am



  • May- Creating an open Terrarium

    • Just in time for Mother’s Day! Unlike closed terrariums, open terrariums allow airflow and are ideal for dry-loving plants such as succulents! In this class, participants will bring their own half-gallon jar to design their environment. Have a charm or trinket you think would look great in a miniature landscape? Bring it too! Terrarium kits will be provided, but we encourage and welcome the creativity of your own personalized material from home. In this class, you will learn how to design and care for your dry-loving open-air terrarium.

    • May 5th @ 2 pm and 6 pm
  • June- Air Plant Palooza

    • Just in time for Father’s Day!
    • Did you know air plants are epiphytes, which means they obtain all their water and nutrients from the atmosphere? Even a lazy gardener can have live plants around their home without much effort! In this workshop, participants will learn about these air plants, how to care for them, and will bring home an Air Plant Seashell and Air Plant Cork Magnet.
    • June 16th @ 2 pm and 6 pm

  • July- Decoupage & Tea Party

    • Decoupage is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in a decorative design. With a gardening twist, we will be arranging decoupages with pressed plant material. We will be pressing flora and gluing them to 6-inch terracotta pots and then coating them with layers of varnish. This program will be in collaboration with our Family & Consumer Sciences Team, as students will plant seeds for fresh herbs, learn how to care for them, and how to harvest and prepare a fresh tea! Don’t forget your tea party hat!
    • July 14th @ 2 pm & 6 pm


  • August- Advanced Kokedama Making Using an Orchid or Bromeliad

    • In case you missed our December class, we will be teaching another kokedama workshop! In this advanced class, you will be designing a kokedama with either a bromeliad or orchid. These kokedamas are perfect to hang from a tree in your yard or in your lanai!
    • August 11th, 2023 @ 2 pm & 6 pm


  • September- Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Decorative Pots

    • It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! To celebrate Dia de los Muertos, we will be designing 6-inch terracotta pots to reflect “catrina skulls” and planting marigold seeds. Participants will learn about this cultural holiday, the symbolism of marigolds, and how to care for them.
    • September 30th @ 10:30 am

Pink Amaryllis Flowers with 2 blooms in a ceramic pot

  • October- Decoupage & Amaryllis

    • Decoupage is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in a decorative design. In this class, we will be planting amaryllis bulbs. Amaryllis is a popular holiday gift plant because it can be forced to produce stunning flowers during the holiday season. Once the bloom period is over, it can be left in its container or planted outdoors in the garden. Come decoupage a container and learn how to care for this beautiful plant in a container or in your landscape.
    • October 20th @ 2 pm & 6 pm
Are you a Master Gardener Volunteer who is interested in creating your own gARTening program in your county? Email for resources. 

Posted: April 11, 2023

Category: Blog Community, Community Volunteers, Events, Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Art, Garden, GARTening, Healthy Living, Master Gardener Volunteer, Master Gardener Volunteers, Ocextension, Orange County, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Zen

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