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Our special weekly programs provide an opportunity for visitors of all ages to come together to deepen their understanding of the connections between horticulture and the natural world. Sessions explore topics as diverse as bird conservation, field botany, ecology, human culture, and the creative arts. Each hour-long session features a stroll through the gardens and is designed to be interactive and engaging. We offer two time slots each week. 

Afternoon Sessions: Sundays from 2:00-3:00 pm (except June 20)
Evening Sessions: Mondays from 7:00-8:00 pm

Admission to Special Programs is free for members of Goodell Gardens, or a $5 suggested donation from folks who aren’t yet members. Want to join? Click here.


Pleasing Perennials

Theme: Hardy Ornamental Plants

Description: In the summer, daylilies are the mainstay of a colorful perennial border. Likewise, hostas are the backbone of many backyard shade gardens. In these two sessions, we will explore a dazzling array of cultivars and discuss ways to incorporate these hardy plants into the landscape. Participants will also learn about the methods that plant breeders use to develop new varieties. 

Delightful Daylilies – Sunday, August 1 at 2 pm; Monday, August 2 at 7 pm

Handsome Hostas – Sunday, August 15 at 2 pm; Monday, August 16 at 7 pm

The Gardens of Nature: Our Local Treasures

Theme: Plant Communities of Erie County

Description: Come out to Goodell Gardens to celebrate the gardens of nature! In these sessions, participants will learn about the amazing natural plant communities of our region, then consider how they can influence ornamental landscape designs. We will explore diverse habitats on the property, including the Darrows Creek Woodlot and the Edinboro Lake Cove. Emphasis will be placed on local environmental issues and solutions. 

Terrestrial Habitats – Sunday, August 22 at 2 pm; Monday, August 23 at 7 pm

Aquatic and Wetland Habitats – Sunday, August 29 at 2 pm ; Monday, August 30 at 7 pm

Examining Our Roots

Theme: Local History

Description: Our community has a rich history of agriculture and ornamental horticulture. In these sessions, we will delve into the past to explore early rural life in Edinboro and the legacy of the Goodell Family. Join us to learn more about the unique story of our town, where you will encounter the fascinating personalities of two women whose gardens live on as our organization enters its third decade. 

Early Rural Life – Sunday, September 19; at 2 pm Monday, September 20 at 7 pm

The Goodell Sisters – Sunday, September 26 at 2 pm; Monday, September 27 at 7 pm

Let’s Get Down to Earth – Green Practices in Gardening

Theme: Sustainable Horticulture

Description: Our natural world faces a barrage of threats.. Pollution, waste, habitat degradation, and energy consumption continue to plague our planet at local, national, and global scales. We often think of gardening as a way to connect to nature, but many of our  traditional horticultural practices can actually exacerbate environmental problems. In these sessions, we will examine how to minimize our impact on the earth through natural composting and organic pest control

Composting – Sunday, October 3 at 2 pm; Monday, October 4 at 7 pm

Managing Pests – Sunday, October 10 at 2 pm; Monday, October 11 at 7 pm

Take Your Plant Palette to the Next Level!

Theme: Special Types of Plants

Description: In these sessions, we will explore three categories of flowering plants and a rich array of species that can enrich your gardening palette. After delving into the incredible nature of underwater flowers, we will examine the textural diversity of grass-like plants. Finally, we will investigate the importance of woody vegetation as the backbone of many ornamental gardens. These sessions provide an excellent opportunity to broaden your horticultural horizons beyond the common herbaceous perennials found in so many backyard gardens. 

Aquatic Vegetation – Sunday, October 17 at 2 pm; Monday, October 18 at 7 pm

Grasses and Sedges – Sunday, October 24 at 2 pm; Monday, October 25 at 7 pm

Trees and Shrubs – Sunday, October 31 at 2 pm; Monday, November 1 at 7 pm


A Special Events Grant from the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority helps make these programs possible.