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Tollgate Farm and Education Center

A series of classes on a wide variety of topics for novice and seasoned gardeners, taught by local and regional experts in their field.
Classes are held in the Conference Center, except as noted.

Advance registration is required.
See registration below class descriptions.
Space is limited - please register early.

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Cheryl M. English – Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for the Michigan Garden

Learn about the range of native "woodies" you can introduce to your garden, including trees, shrubs, and vines - from deciduous to evergreen species and including annual vines and perennial plants. The amazing variety of native woodies is not only beautiful; they "play well with others" while providing key habitat for native fauna. Black Cat Pottery and Notable Greetings products available for purchase. Cheryl is a certified Advanced Master Gardener living in Detroit. She is a professional gardener, artist, writer, and garden and art educator. Currently on the Wildflower Association of Michigan Board and the Detroit Garden Center Planning Committee, she is also President Emeritus of Master Gardeners of Greater Detroit and wrote for the group’s newsletter The City Seedling. Her long list of merits include being active on the Editorial Board for the Detroit Garden Center’s Bulletin, volunteering with The Greening of Detroit, penning the first article on native plants to appear in Michigan Gardener in May 2012, and frequent entries in that publication ever since. Cheryl opens her garden to the public twice a year, offers private group garden tours, a clematis pruning workshop, as well as a variety of pottery workshops and other programs upon request. She can be reached at


Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Nick Zimmer – Fall Container Planting

In this class, discover how to use perennials and annuals in a container arrangement for the fall. Find out how to mix together the right combination to make a spectacular show for your porch, patio, or any other spot where you would like some extra color and pizazz. Learn from an expert how to choose the right components to make your containers successful: plants that complement each other, the right soil, and the pot that shows it all off. Nick will demonstrate creating several container combinations, all of which will be for sale at the end of the program, along with some extra plants: mums, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansies, and assorted perennials. Enjoy a program that teaches you how to successfully create your own outstanding container garden at home. Nick Zimmer has pursued his love of horticulture since high school. He had a successful landscape business back then, pursued his degree from MSU in horticulture, and then oversaw a 60,000 square foot growing facility in New Jersey before returning home to Michigan to create Willow Greenhouse – “The Greenest Nursery in Southeast Michigan.” Nick and his team at Willow are completely pesticide-free, using nine different beneficial insects in their growing operation to control “bad bugs.” Nick is known for sharing his passion and knowledge with customers, and helping others to have a successful gardening experience. This class will be held in Tollgate's historic barn, unless otherwise noted.

MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center
28115 Meadowbrook Road - Novi, MI 48337 - 248-347-0269 ext. 229
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact S. K. Rosina Newton at or 248-347-0269 ext. 229. Responses to inquiries will be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thank you!