Not everyone is born with a green thumb. As a result, many people become easily discouraged when gardening or landscaping their home. Plant ID and Use in the Georgia Landscape is your opportunity to revive your love for plants by learning Georgia’s most common annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. The knowledge gained in this course will help homeowners and professional landscapers install residential plantings with long-term success.
We sat down with course instructor Bejie Herrin for the inside scoop on her background with plants and teaching style. Here’s what she had to say:
What sparked your interest in plant identification?
I love all plants in general and you have to understand the characteristics of a plant to put them in the right place so that they will do well. The biggest problem people have is liking a plant and putting it in an area where it looks good — but it is the wrong plant to go in that spot.
Tell me about your educational background.
I have a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. My major was plant science and my focus was horticulture. I also have a master’s degree from the University of Illinois in plants with a focus on plant breeding and genetics. Fun Fact: I started as an engineer at Boeing and I decided to go back to school and get better educated [on plants] because people will always need to eat, and plants improve the environment.
What is your main goal of the course?
My main goal is to help people here in our area understand their space or where they are going to be working with plants. This will help students choose the right plants so they will be successful and can have a good experience with their plants. They’ll be happy with their gardening and landscaping if they understand their plants and identify the right plants to put in the right place.
How would you describe your teaching style?
My style is a little bit of everything. We’ll do some slides; showing people plants that work well in our area. If I’ve got some samples, I’ll bring those in. I’ll ask my students to go out during the week between classes and see some plants and get some stuff. Everybody learns a little differently, so we’ve got to interact. I’ll ask them questions and get them to talk back to me.
Anything else you want your students to know?
Don’t be afraid. This is not going to be a test just over the scientific names of plants and me holding out this twig asking for the scientific name of this plant. It’s more like, “Here is a situation. Which one of these plants might be best?” and helping students build a database of plants that shows the traits so that people can figure out what’s going to work for them.