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The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. provide a wide variety of educational opportunities: environmental studies, horticulture, landscape design, floral arrangement, and flower show judging to name a few. Below is an alphabetical list of schools, programs, and courses. Use our Event Calendar to search and register for courses, workshops, and special events. 

(For youth programs and scholarships, please see the Youth Programs page)

Garden Club Members are eligible to apply for Four Star Membership upon completions of the Four NGC Schools sponsored by FFGC. See more at the end of the course list below.

Environmental Studies     

The Environmental Studies School (ESS) was developed for the benefit of State Garden Clubs and their member clubs as a service to the communities they serve. Each Studies School consists of a series of four 2-day sessions.  Schools are taught by instructors from universities and environmentally related companies and include regional issues as they relate to the study of land, air, water, plants, and animals. The required field trip in each course is a wonderful opportunity to explore the special concerns/issues for that region. The curriculum is reviewed and updated to include some of today’s environmental concerns.
 The mission statement of Environmental Studies School is to teach environmental literacy to cherish, protect, and conserve the living earth. The courses encourage action for sustainable development and appreciation for the interrelation of all natural things. Particular emphasis is presently placed on land and water conservation, and air quality. It's important to understand the effect people have on our environment, so we can better identify what can be done to reduce our impact on the environment both now and in the future. By attending an Environmental Studies School you can learn what you can do to improve the quality of the environment and gain an understanding about environmental issues in your community.  As  garden club members you are better equipped to be environmental leaders in your club, community, Wekiva Youth Camp, and SEEK. Districts are urged to hold a School in their area to build a team of Environmental Consultants throughout the state.  Members are encouraged to attend the School.  With this new knowledge “Together we can Make a Difference in the World” as we “Open the Gate to a Greener World”                    Chairman: Nancy Richards        Download the NGC ESS Workbook 

Floral Design

The Floral Design Study Series is a unique series of lectures, demonstrations, and critiqued, workshops sponsored by FFGC. Talented, accredited instructors are available throughout the state to teach the classes. This is a comprehensive program by Bob Thomas, internationally renowned floral designer from Florida. Bob was responsible for the Basic Six Units, and Florida's own Wilma Paulauskas wrote the curriculum for the Three Advanced Units.The Program focuses on Basic Floral Design for the home and for Flower Shows using fresh LIVE plant materials and flowers. Those who attend all nine lectures and workshops will receive a Certificate suitable for framing. Live Materials, greens and flowers are supplied for the first three classes. Advance registration required.  An Information packet is available for the Chairman/Committee hosting the program. Contact: Carol Lucia   

Floral Design Unit Descriptions

Flower Show School

Flower Show School is one of the four National Garden Club Schools.  This particular school is designed to prepare students to become Flower Show Judges.  A series of four courses with a specific curriculum and an opportunity to write a Flower Show Schedule teaches the how and why of flower shows and the judging.  These courses are also very helpful for those wishing to put on a flower show or exhibit in a flower show.  The schools are sponsored by different Districts throughout the State of Florida and are open to anyone.  All dates, times and places are listed on the FFGC and NGC websites as well as in The Florida Gardener.   If anyone would like to sponsor a Flower Show School, contact this chairman and all information you need, will be made available to you.  View the EVENT Calendar for course dates.      

Chairman: Jan Griffin           

Flower Show Symposiums

Symposiums are courses in advanced study of horticulture, design and allied subjects and are open to ALL garden club members. NGC Judges are required to attend periodically, in order to maintain good standing. Contact: Lorraine Gabler

FFGC/University of Florida Short Course

Annual FFGC/UF event held in Gainesville. Leaders in horticulture and design speaking throughout the event. Tri-Refresher* qualified.  Contact Jeanice Gage

2017 Short Course

* see Tri-Council description below

Fun with Flowers      

This hands-on, make-it-and-take-it-program affords your club a wonderful opportunity for attracting new members, raising funds, endless creativity, community involvement, sharing your talents, appealing to young and old, men, women, and kids. Combine crafts with flowers, fellowship, and, most of all, FUN!  

Gardening Study School     

The NGC Gardening Study Courses are designed to provide information on topics of interest to those especially interested in gardening, horticulture and related topics. The program consists of a series of four courses, held about six months apart, scheduled usually for two days of instruction, followed by a general examination on the morning of the third day. Courses cover all aspects of growing from understanding soil structure to pruning techniques, plant identification, etc. Topics include basic botany, soils, growing annuals,perennials, trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables, lawns, pests and diseases of plants, plant classification,pruning and selected topics of local interest.

Although the courses are intended primarily for garden club members, they are “open to the general public”, requiring only the payment of a nominal fee.  Garden club members completing the series of four courses are awarded the designation of Gardening Consultant. Attendees from the general public may attain Consultant status by joining a garden club during the course series or shortly after completion. Chairman:
 Barbara Hadsell

Horticulture Studies

2017 Plants of the Year

Digging It! is Florida’s NGC Award winning Horticulture Study Series covering topics such as Nomenclature, Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, Containers, Arboreal, Fruits and Vegetables, Vines and others. This program has 14 optional topics to trade in and out to suit your area and interests. After the first course, the others can be taken in any order. Individual topic outlines can be used for garden club, junior gardener or horticulture therapy programs. This is a hands-on workshop, informally formatted program with a certificate upon completion of all 10 lessons in 2 years’ time. A General Guide and a 171 page Instructor’s Manual are available for purchase. Contact your District Horticulture Chairman to find out if and when a “Digging It!” series is being held in your area. State Coordinator: Tina Tuttle

Landscape Design Study School    

National Garden Clubs, Inc. offers members and non-members an educational program that will develop a greater sense of appreciation and knowledge about our private and public gardens. The diversity of the course curriculum from the history of landscape design to that of contemporary landscape architecture appeals to a broad range of interests. The Landscape Design Study includes a series of four courses. Those who complete the series and pass each examination with grades 70 or above will receive the Consultants Certification Card, an NGC credential.
Besides gaining a greater enjoyment in their gardens through this knowledge, members have found the program inspirational, leading to the development of important civic and private projects. Chairman: Karen Gott

Objectives of the Landscape Design Study Program:
»  Develop a greater sense of appreciation, pride and knowledge about our private and public gardens.
»  Become better educated to make changes in our surroundings so that they will be more beautiful, useful,
          convenient, ecologically sound and easily maintained.
»  Stimulate interest in all phases of landscape design, including community planning that will affect all our lives.
»  Develop a contingent of qualified Landscape Design Consultants to serve in such decision-making areas of   
          public life as providing leadership, educational programs, scholarships, awards and promotion better
          landscape design.

Short Course North   

An exclusive FFGC educational opportunity with speakers, horticulture and design, workshops, field trips, food, vendors and door prizes. Short Course North is a two day event held yearly in the Florida Panhandle in August. A variety of topics related to gardening, landscaping, and the environment are explored. Speakers represent IFAS, area growers, and other knowledgeable plant experts. Approved for Tri-refresher* for NGC schools (Landscape Design, Environmental and Gardening Study), and Master Gardeners.  Advanced Training (10 hours of CEUs).  Chairman: Tina Tuttle 

* see Tri-Council description below

FFGC UF Short Course Gainesville June 2015 Power Point Presentations


Invasive Species

Limnology of Lake Mize

Pine Chemicals

Plight of the Honey Bee

10 Easy Florida Wildflowers

Fire Dependent Ecology

Vines for Florida

Austin Carey Forrest

Tropical Short Course 

Tropical Short Course is an annual educational event sponsored by the garden clubs of District X.  Over the course of two days, presentations are given on gardening, landscape design, the environment, and floral design.   

Our speakers are extremely knowledgeable in their areas of expertise, and include business professionals, and specialists from the local universities.  All our speakers are passionate about what they do, and are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and hands-on experience. 

Our attendees come away from Tropical Short Course with new knowledge and ideas, a desire to share what they’ve learned, and a fresh perspective when looking at that flower, insect or landscape. 

Master Gardeners earn their CEUs by attending Tropical Short Course and every other year a Tri-Refresher for NGC schools (Landscape Design, Environmental Studies and Gardening Study) is presented.  Brochure


The Tri-Council was formed to unite the Environmental, Gardening, and Landscape Design Consultants Councils to provide resources and educational and networking opportunities, to share meeting time, newsletter, and yearbook. The three councils have grown into a strong organization as they work together to protect the environment, increase knowledge in horticulture and promote excellence in landscape design.

The Tri-Council goals are to advance and continue the study of the environment, gardening and landscape design, encourage and promote sponsorship of and attendance at the National Garden Clubs schools and refreshers, serve on local and state committees, and promote education with lectures, workshops, conferences and tours. For more information contact Inger Jones, Tri-Council President

Tri-Council Consultants Dues Form

Tri-Council Newsletter

Tri-Council Directory


        Four and Five Star Membership

Garden Club Members are eligible to apply for Four Star Membership upon completions of the Four NGC Schools sponsored by FFGC:

Environmental Studies School
Flower Show Judges School
Gardening Study School
Landscape Design Study School

Being certified in these four  schools is quite an achievement! NGC honors members who completed these schools and are currently certified. Four Star Members may apply for a Five Star Membership when the level of Master is obtained in all four schools. New Four and Five Star Members are recognized each year at the State Convention and their names appear in The Florida Gardener magazine. Chairman: Lorene Junkin

Four/Five Star Application

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