The Institute at Renfrew announces a new series of small-group garden talks. Conducted by three of the Institute’s gardening experts, the talks will take place in the four-square garden at Renfrew Park. 

The series begins on August 4, and will run on six Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. through Sept. 8.

The talks will cover a wide range of topics from gardening basics and tips to plant families, companion planting, garden crop rotation and more,” said Pam Hind Rowland, the Institute’s director of historical studies and an accomplished gardener. 

The other presenters are Melissa Irwin, the Institute’s garden director, and Doris Goldman, former garden director. Goldman was instrumental in planning and creating the four-square garden, which is based on historic Pennsylvania German gardens. 

“Although we will be talking within our four-square garden, the topics covered will apply to anyone’s home garden,” Irwin said. “We’ll move about the four-square garden to illustrate some of the topics discussed.”

The scheduled topics are as follows:  

Aug. 4: Plant Families: An Overview

Aug. 11: Gardening Basics and Tips

Aug. 18: Herbs

Aug. 25: Using the Principles of Nature for Success in the Garden: Soil, Water, and Fertilizer

Sept. 1: Beneficial Insects, Pests, and Plant Diseases    

Sept. 8: Using Plants as Natural Dyes

In compliance with Franklin County’s Green Phase, safety measures are in place for the talks. They are outdoors only; no indoor activities. All participants should bring a mask. Mask use is optional during appropriate (6 foot) distancing, and required when appropriate distancing isn’t possible. There is no seating available in the garden.

Pre-registration is required. The cost is $5. To register, email the Institute at or call 717-762-0373. Payment must be received before reservation can be confirmed, and PayPal is available on the Institute website: Participation is limited to 15 people per session.

This program is underwritten in part by Marge Kiersz, Lucinda D. Potter, CPA, and SEK CPAs and Advisors, with additional support from The Institute at Renfrew’s Today’s Horizon Fund contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation; The John R. Hershey Jr. and Anna L. Hershey Family Foundation; APX Enclosures, Inc.; and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support is provided courtesy of Renfrew Museum and Park.

Parking is in Renfrew Park’s lower lot. If unable to walk to the four-square garden, arrangements may be made to park behind the Fahnestock barn, adjacent to the garden. (Please contact the Institute office.)