Upcoming Events

Garden workshops, landscape & backyard projects, and other events

Our Green Thumbs just love sharing their gardening do’s & don’ts, so we hold a variety of garden events, garden workshops and interactive garden talks throughout the season. We hope you’ll join us soon!

If you’re looking for kids gardening projects and events, please visit our Kids Grow Club page.

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Drop-in Clinic: Pest/Disease Identification
Sunday, July 16, 2017, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave., Rochester, NY 14626 (Map it!)
Admission: FREE
Summer is here and now that you’ve got your gardens planted, ’tis the season for animal pests, insects, and disease to become more visible, and more destructive — Mother Nature likes to give us all a challenge from time to time!

But never fear! Our Green Thumb staff have got you covered.  During this drop-in clinic, our resident horticulturalist/botanist/Greenhouse Manager/all-around-plant-guru Steve will be available to diagnose your lawn, vegetable, flower, tree, and shrub problems, and then offer easy organic and non-organic solutions!

Before You Arrive:

4 Easy Steps to Collect a Sample for Pest/Disease Identification:

  1. Observe your plant (or turf) in the morning and evening. Sometimes insects are only active at certain times of day and you don’t want to miss the culprit!
  2. Make a note of where the plant is growing, how long it’s been planted, and any other details (like if you’ve been away on vacation for a week, if any other plants have similar damage, etc.).
  3. Collect a sample of any insects you see, and a clipping from the damaged plant. Try to catch any live insects in a bag or sealed container, or bring a clipping of the transitional area (where the plant or turf changes from healthy to damaged). For turfgrass, cut a 1 foot square section that includes the transitional area.
  4. Try to take a picture of the entire plant/tree or lawn area so Steve can see the extent of the damage.
  5. Bring your notes, pictures and sample to Steve during the clinic, and he will determine the cause, then offer organic or other solutions per your preference!

Note:

  • Arrive any time between 1 and 3 p.m. – this is a drop-in event.
  • Please bring a sample and pictures of any specific lawn/garden problems, or just bring your general lawn and garden questions – Steve is a great resource!
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Wildlife Gardening
Sunday, July 23, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave. Rochester, NY 14626 (Map it!)
Admission: FREE

– An Interactive Garden Talk –

Join us for an interactive talk on how to turn your garden into a beautiful, functional and welcoming space for wildlife of all kinds.  We will start by discussing all the different wildlife that may visit your garden, from the smallest insects, butterflies and bees, all the way up to larger visitors like birds and deer.

We will discuss which plants are best to encourage certain wildlife, which plants will support pollinators, how to create wildlife habitats, and techniques to encourage wildlife to visit throughout the seasons.  Even the smallest garden can become a haven for wildlife – let us show you how!

All attendees will go home with a Rochester-specific handout on wildlife-friendly plant options and wildlife gardening tips.

FREE, but reservations required (space is limited).  Please call (585) 225-7770 to RSVP.

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Pet-Safe Gardening Talk
Sunday, July 30, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave. Rochester, NY 14626 (Map it!)
Admission: FREE; RSVP required

– An Interactive Garden Talk –

Our pets are members of the family, so it only makes sense that we want to make both our indoor AND outdoor spaces safe and fun for them!  With so many different plants to choose from, how do you know what’s safe to plant or grow inside the home?  And what about all the different fertilizer, insect, and disease control products?  How do you choose?

Well, let us help!  Join us for a fun, free interactive talk where we’ll offer safe plant options for a pet-friendly lawn and garden (and houseplants), and explain which garden products are safe to use around your pets.  Plus, we’ll dispel a few common pet/plant myths (hint: poinsettias get an undeserved bad rap.).

Bring your questions, and photos of your furry friends to share! (Please leave actual pets at home.)

FREE, but reservations required (space is limited).  Please call (585) 225-7770 to RSVP.

Please Note: We will go over tips for BOTH dog and cat households!

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All About Beneficial Insects
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave. Rochester, NY 14626 (Map it!)
Admission: FREE

– An Interactive Garden Talk –

Your yard and garden are home to all sorts of creatures, and this interactive garden talk will consider some of the smallest – insects!  Join Conor, our assistant greenhouse manager who has a Master’s degree in entomology, for a fun and informative discussion about the basics of beneficial insects, answering questions like:

  • What is a beneficial insect?
  • Why would I want (more) insects in my garden?
  • What is their role in a healthy garden ecosystem?
  • What are some common beneficial insects?
  • How can I protect the beneficial insects I have?

and more!

We will explain how a beneficial insect population can positively impact ornamental and edible plants and reduce your need for garden pesticides, as well as show slides of common beneficial insects so you can more easily identify them in your own home landscape.

FREE, but reservations required (space is limited).  Please call (585) 225-7770 to RSVP.

Please Note: All attendees will go home with a region-specific Van Putte Gardens handout on beneficial insect gardening tips!

Past Events

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Make Your Own Rain Barrel
Thursday, July 14, 2016, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave., Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: $20

– A Hands-on Workshop –

Rain barrels are a useful, thrifty, and eco-friendly addition to the home landscape and the community at large.  Rain barrels collect water and store it for when you need it most to water plants, wash your car, or to top a swimming pool.  Garden and lawn watering accounts for 40% of residential water use during the summer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Thanks to a rain barrel’s water catch, the typical gardener can save 1,300 gallons of water during the growing season.  They also reduce the amount of water that needs to undergo expensive sewage treatment by reducing stormwater runoff to storm drains by collecting rainwater runoff from rooftops.

Join us for a hands-on interactive workshop where you will learn the benefits of rain barrels, and how to install and use one in your own backyard from our expert instructor.  Then it will be time to put together your own 55-gal rain barrel to take home! Don’t worry if you’re not super handy — we will have plenty of help on-site to assist you with the construction if needed.  Attendees can then connect their rain barrels to a gutter downspout at home.

This workshop is subsidized by a state grant to educate the public on water quality and is sponsored by the Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County.  The instructor is Caroline Myers Kilmer M.S., a stormwater consultant who has over 13 years of experience in the area of stormwater and water quality and has helped design and construct many local rain gardens.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • RAIN DATE: This workshop will be held outside, weather depending.  Rain date is Tuesday, July 19 at 7 p.m.  All efforts will be made to hold the workshop on the original date, but attendees should be available to attend either time.  If we are rained out both days, workshop fees will be refunded in the original method of payment.  There will be no refunds offered if the workshop is held on the rain date instead of original date.
  • YOUR VEHICLE: We will have staff on hand to assist you with loading your vehicle.  Please make sure to leave space in your vehicle to transport your barrel home that night.

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Hands-on Pruning Workshop
Sunday, September 18, 2016, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave., Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: $20 (includes $10 voucher)

– A Hands-On Workshop –

A beautiful landscape relies on its trees and shrubs for structure.  We like to think of them as the woody, perennial heart of your garden!  In this hands-on workshop, you will go out into several areas of our 5-acre tree & shrub nursery to learn the ins, outs, dos and don’ts of tree, shrub & perennial pruning.

The workshop begins with a short discussion of the different pruner styles and sizes, and how to keep this most important tool in tip-top pruning condition.  Then we get you right outside for lots of hands-on practice and real-life examples!  Observe demos of both deciduous and evergreen tree & shrub pruning methods paired with our handy tips of the trade.  Then put what you’ve learned to work by practicing on some of our trees & shrubs before heading home to make sure your own landscape is healthy and ready for its winter rest this year!

To help you through your new adventures in pruning, all participants will receive half the cost of the workshop back ($10) in a Van Putte voucher toward pruners, trees, shrubs, or anything else you might need from the garden center!

Reservations and pre-payment are required by calling us at (585) 225-7770.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • There is no rain date for this workshop.  If it is lightly drizzling, please wear a rain jacket.  If there is lightning, we will contact you by phone to refund the cost in the original form of payment.
  • All participants will receive a $10 voucher at Van Putte Gardens to use on anything in the nursery or garden center (expires 12/23/16).
  • Please bring your own pruners (and gardening gloves if you would like to wear gloves during the workshop).  It will be to your benefit to use the same pruners you’ll have at home during the workshop.  If you don’t have a set of pruners yet, we will have a brief discussion at the start of the workshop on pruner styles so you can purchase a set then, or we will have a few extra sets participants can practice with.
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Kids Grow Club Fall Meeting – PokemonGROW!
Sunday, October 2, 2016, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave. Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: FREE
Our annual fall meeting of the Van Putte Gardens Kids Grow Club will be a fun, interactive and educational adventure in nature, inspired by the smash hit app PokémonGO!  We’ve developed a Van Putte version called PokémonGROW that will use your child’s energy and creativity to explore nature during the autumn season.

First, the kids will learn all about different seeds of the season to prepare them for their work as PokémonGrowers.  Then, they’ll use the provided map to find different Pokéstops around the garden center, where they’ll create various mini Pokémon out of provided natural materials.  Once they’ve found all the stops and created all the Pokémon to fill their Pokédex, they’ll make one last extra-special Autumn Pokémon with a fall theme to take home!

Don’t forget kids will also get the chance to try their hands at fun fall activities like pumpkin golf and apple fishing. We always set up cute photo spots for parents to snap pics, and the kids will enjoy a light snack at the end of the hour.  The meeting will be held in our greenhouse and outdoors around the garden center, so kids should wear layered playclothes and a light jacket.

No charge, but reservations required.  Please call (585) 225-7770 to RSVP or e-mail kidsgrowclub@vanputte.com.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • There are two meeting times available, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., so please note which time your child(ren) want to attend when you RSVP.
  • Parents should plan to stay for the event.
  • No smartphone or experience with the app is necessary — our meeting theme is inspired by the popular smartphone app, but is completely based in the real world with hands-on crafting and navigation aspects that use your child’s own creativity!
  • Kids will get to take home all of the mini Pokémon they create, including the Autumn Pokémon.
  • The Kids Grow Club has been a Van Putte tradition for over 20 years, and is free for children ages 5-12.  If your child is NOT yet a member and would like to attend the meeting, please sign up here for the invite!
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Black Friday
Friday, November 25, 2016, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Avenue, Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: FREE
Don’t miss this Holiday decorating sale! Trees, wreaths, greens, roping, plants, gifts for the gardener, and everything you need to make your holiday home bloom!

Sign up here for an e-mail invite to our exclusive e-mail-list-only specials on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season!

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Small Business Saturday
Saturday, November 26, 2016, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Avenue, Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: FREE
We are proud to be your local garden center! Stop by and say hello, and enjoy doughnuts and warm drinks while you shop.  Don’t forget to grab your free garden gift as our thank you for shopping small!  Sign up here to join our exclusive email list and receive a special “best deal of the season” coupon valid only on Small Business Saturday!
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Hands-on Porch Pot Workshop
Sunday, November 27, 2016, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave., Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: $40

– A Create-Your-Own Workshop –

There’s nothing like the scent of fresh evergreen to make you start thinking “Christmas!”  Welcome in the Christmas season by making your own homemade porch pot in this hands-on workshop!  We’ll start out by going over some basic tips and tricks for natural floral arrangements in our poinsettia-filled greenhouse, and then turn you loose to create your own one-of-a-kind holiday porch pot!

All instruction and materials are included in the price of this workshop:

  • 12″ diameter red plastic porch pot (plastic is ideal for winter arrangements since ceramic and terracotta crack more easily in cold temperatures)
  • Mixed evergreen boughs
  • Natural holiday décor accents like berries, pinecones and white branches
  • Weather-resistant outdoor bow for the perfect finishing touch

Reservations and pre-payment are required by calling us at (585) 225-7770.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Please bring your own gardening gloves if you would like to wear gloves while working (some people are more or less sensitive to evergreen boughs).
  • Please bring your own pruners if possible, or we will have a few sets of pruners available for use during the workshop.
  • We will be in the greenhouse and the temperature can fluctuate with the sunshine so please dress appropriately in layers.
  • There is another workshop held on this date — we will host a Make-Your-Own Wreath Workshop at 2 p.m.  If you would like to attend both workshops (there will be 2 hours between the workshops, so plenty of time to leave for lunch and return), please mention at time of sign up and take $5 off your total price (attend both for $70).  The porch pot and wreath designs WILL coordinate.
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Hands-on Wreath Workshop
Sunday, November 27, 2016, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave., Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: $35

– A Create-Your-Own Workshop –

There’s nothing like the scent of fresh evergreen to make you start thinking “Christmas!”  Welcome in the Christmas season by decorating your own holiday wreath in this hands-on workshop!  We’ll start out by going over some basic design tips and tricks in our poinsettia-filled greenhouse, and then turn you loose to create your own one-of-a-kind fresh holiday wreath!

All instruction and materials are included in the price of this workshop:

  • 24″ fresh Fraser wreath (Fraser wreaths have long-lasting, dark green needles to last through the holiday season)
  • Additional mixed evergreen tips for accent
  • Natural holiday décor accents like berries, pinecones and white branches
  • Weather-resistant outdoor bow for the perfect finishing touch

Reservations and pre-payment are required by calling us at (585) 225-7770.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Please bring your own gardening gloves if you would like to wear gloves while working (some people are more or less sensitive to evergreen boughs).
  • We will be in the greenhouse and the temperature can fluctuate with the sunshine so please dress appropriately in layers.
  • There is another workshop held on this date — we will host a Make-Your-Own Porch Pot Workshop at 11 a.m.   If you would like to attend both workshops (there will be 2 hours between the workshops, so plenty of time to leave for lunch and return), please mention at time of sign up and take $5 off your total price (attend both for $70).  The porch pot and wreath designs WILL coordinate.
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Christmas Open House
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave., Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: FREE
Celebrate the season by coming to our annual Holiday Open House, where kids can bring their list & visit with Santa from 11-2 p.m., then visit our free holiday craft station to design a Christmas card and decorate an ornament to take home!  (Kids can write their list at the craft table before visiting Santa if they wish).  All will enjoy browsing our holiday gift shop and warm greenhouse full of poinsettias and other traditional holiday plants while enjoying a variety of complimentary holiday treats, hot cocoa and coffee.  Let our Green Thumbs help you pick out the perfect Christmas tree and wreath… our Van Putte tradition of a free ornament with every tree purchase will help get your decorating started! Come home for the holidays to Van Putte Gardens.
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Seed-Starting is Simple!
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave. Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: FREE

– An Interactive Garden Talk & Demonstration –

Be ahead of the game this year by learning our best tips and tricks for starting seeds indoors.  Whether you want to give seed-starting a try because you want to grow a new variety of vegetable plant, or it’s a thrifty way to get more plants for your buck, or you want to get your kids involved in healthy habits, or you’re just sick of gray weather and want to see something green, we’ve got you covered!

This talk & demo is appropriate for all experience levels and garden types (i.e. if you plan to transplant into containers, raised beds or in-ground gardens).  We will cover the basics for growing vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed, including seed selection, materials, techniques, care, and preparing the seedlings for transplant.

Our greenhouse manager Steve has been with Van Putte Gardens for over 25 years and oversees the thousands of seedlings that we start here at Van Putte Gardens each year.  He will explain how we start seeds for our large-scale operation, then break that process down into approachable, simple steps for the home grower, demonstrating each step so you can see exactly how to replicate the process at home.

You will go home with a Rochester-specific seed-starting reference chart developed by us, and will receive a 25% discount on all seeds and seed-starting supplies the day of the class.  No preparation or prior experience needed; just be sure to bring your questions and a willingness to get growing!

No charge, but reservations required.  Please call (585) 225-7770 to RSVP.

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Kids Grow Club Spring Meeting – Potatoes in a Bag!
Saturday, April 8, 2017, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Van Putte Gardens
136 North Ave, Rochester, NY 14626
Admission: FREE
Come and join in a fun spring project for Grow Club members ages 5-12 where we’ll learn all about germination!  All kinds of plants start growing in the spring, and this year we’re going to focus on how to grow one specific vegetable: POTATOES!  After we learn the basics about germination and take a tour through our greenhouse to see how our seedlings are growing, kids will roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty!

Potatoes have traditionally been grown in the ground and “hilled up” (adding soil periodically during the growing season to prevent sun scald), but in this workshop, we will make it even easier and plant in a bag!  Each child will first craft their own grow bag out of landscape fabric, then get to work planting multi-colored seed potatoes directly in the bag.  Take the bag home to a sunny spot, water periodically, and watch them grow!  Add more soil throughout the season (we’ll provide directions) and harvest your fresh, home-grown taters in late summer!

No charge, but reservations required.  Please call (585) 225-7770 to RSVP or e-mail kidsgrowclub@vanputte.com.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • There are TWO meetings – at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Please note which meeting your child(ren) will be attending when calling or emailing.
  • Please remember to dress for the great outdoors for this free, fun, educational event!  (Playclothes and a light jacket are suggested.)
  • We will send the RSVP invitation to current Grow Club members a week or so ahead of time.
  • The Kids Grow Club has been a Van Putte tradition for over 20 years, and is free for children ages 5-12.  If your child is NOT yet a member and would like to attend the meeting, please sign up here for the invite!