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MSU 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.

MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center
28115 Meadowbrook Road - Novi, MI 48337

Cost: $20 per class
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET
light snacks provided

Advance registration is required

See registration link below class descriptions
Space is limited - please register early


June 28Kim Roth - Michigan Native Plants & "Nativars"

 July 12Rosina NewtonBasic Sustainability: Composting & Organic Gardening 

August 23Will Jaquinde - Home Gardening Success Using Farming Techniques

*New! Just Added: August 30
- Dr. John Hartig - Waterfront Porch: How Detroit is Transforming its Industrial Waterfront to a Gathering Place for People and Wildlife

 September 6Beth Clawson - Household Pests & Backyard Wildlife Management

June 28 – Kim RothMichigan Native Plants & "Nativars" - Most gardeners now know the value of planting native plants: they are better adapted to our local climate and soils, have evolved to be resistant to the common pests and diseases, and support the native pollinators. However, have you ever tried natives and failed? Kim Roth, Perennial Department Manager at Christensen's Plant Center, will enlighten us on why natives naturally perform better in the wild; what issues they have when we plant them in our yard; and gives us the remedies, too. She will tell us why selected cultivars of native plants – a.k.a. “nativars” – might be better choices. Find out about successful natives and nativars for your home, along with features and bloom times of each, so that you can choose a successful, well-adapted landscape with continuous beauty throughout the growing season.

July 12 – Rosina Newton—Basic Sustainability: Composting & Organic Gardening - Some beginning gardeners want to go organic, but don’t know where to start. Some long-time gardeners are comfortable using weed and feed and synthetic bug killers, and fear if they stop using them, their home will be overrun with pests. How do we “go green” in our landscape and gardens, and still maintain a beautiful yard and garden? Rosina Newton will share the what, where, why, and how of organic gardening and composting so that everyone can achieve the greatest success – whether starting new or transitioning to “green.” She has a B.S. in Horticulture from Texas A&M University, and has over 15 years’ experience advising gardeners from all walks of life how to be successful using sustainable methods. Rosina is currently wearing several hats at Tollgate, including Evenings in the Garden Coordinator and being one of several educational leaders for Youth Programs.

August 23 – Will Jaquinde—Home Gardening Success Using Farming Techniques - When we are solving problems in our home gardens, it would help to get some pointers from the professionals. Enter Will Jaquinde, Sustainable Agriculture Instructor and CSA Coordinator of MSU Tollgate Farm. He will be sharing tools and tricks from sustainable farming that can be applied to make home gardens more efficient, pest-resistant, and healthy. These include tips on pest control, using mulch, row covers, cover cropping and more to make your home gardens more successful. Weather permitting, we will also see these methods in action at the CSA Farm onsite. Will Jaquinde is a Southeastern Michigan native who studied Environmental Studies and Biology at Denison University. Since then, he has worked at a number of small organic farms in the Midwest. He has an avid interest in growing and preparing (and eating) local, sustainable food, with a focus on crops and techniques that conserve and improve the soil.

*New! Just Added: August 30 – John Hartig – Waterfront Porch: How Detroit is Transforming its Industrial Waterfront to a Gathering Place for People and Wildlife - Dr. John Hartig amazed and inspired us with his previous Evenings in the Garden presentation. In 2016 he showed us the history of environmental changes along the Detroit River – from extreme degradation to a profoundly positive wildlife and human habitat. Waterfront Porch continues the story of how the Detroit RiverWalk is being built as a gathering place for people and wildlife. It is one of the largest, by scale, urban waterfront redevelopment projects in the U.S. The RiverWalk has already become a gathering place for all, with nearly three million visitors annually. In part of the evidence that Detroit and its metropolitan region have a bright future. The RiverWalk provides programming seven days a week, and it has connections to neighborhoods and key centers of economic, entertainment, and community activities. Dr. Hartig is currently a Fulbright Scholar serving as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Global Governance at Balsillie School of International Affairs. His focus is research on cleanup of the Great Lakes. He served the previous 14 years as Refuge Manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. John has received many awards including the 2015 Conservationist of the Year Award from the John Muir Association. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications, including four books. John’s most recent book, Bringing Conservation to Cities, won a Gold Medal from the Nonfiction Authors Association and a bronze medal from the Living Now Book Awards.

September 6 – Beth Clawson—Household Pests & Backyard Wildlife Management - Join Beth to discover ways to identify and manage backyard and household pests.  Learn techniques that can help keep those loveable and pesky wild critters from damaging your home and gardens. Wildlife management practices to control birds, bugs, bats, rodents, moles, and more will be covered. Beth received her Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources from Grand Valley State University with a minor in Environmental Studies, and her Masters of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. She has been a Michigan State University Extension Educator for 17 years, currently working on the Michigan Clean Boats Clean Waters program statewide; Natural Shorelines Landscaping for Homeowners; and onsite waste water treatment system maintenance for homeowners.


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!