Barn raisings and workshops

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Want to learn how to prune that Japanese maple in your front yard, to keep it small but still tree-like? Other people want to know, too. Janet's showing this tree's owner how-to as she does the work, and interested readers are there to pitch in with clipping and clean-up. So more people learn how-to and the day's work is done more quickly. 

Unique, productive ways to work with you

We help you with "barn raisings" and schedule workshops called "Garden by Janet & Steven."

Barn raisings

Barn raisings are a way for do-it-yourself people to tackle a project that requires more than their own expertise and manpower. This approach is appropriate for those who have a design they've developed or had drawn.

At a barn raising, you provide the labor (family and friends, perhaps) and as many of the needed materials as you can assemble. We provide the expert supervising laborer(s) who will instruct and work with your "crew." We can also obtain and deliver needed tools and materials to the site.

People who wish to learn how to do their own landscape work may opt for this method of planting, then continue on their own after one concerted effort under our guidance.


Garden by Janet & Steven

Garden by Janet & Steven sessions are unique offerings, which we extend to our readers/students when certain projects we undertake as professional gardeners also qualify as teaching/learning opportunities and the client is willing to allow that type of crew to participate.

Garden by Janet & Steven sessions are similar to a barn raising in being group efforts, but those who attend are volunteers. They participate because they wish to observe or learn a process. Once on site it is each volunteer's choice to simply observe or to also pitch in.

Many of our Garden by Janet and Steven sessions are listed in our calendar (Where We're Appearing). In addition to conducting these at clients' gardens, we also conduct them at gardens where we are regular volunteers. People come to these sessions for the fun of working in a group or to learn in the field and with their own hands.

At Garden by Janet and Steven sessions, we plan the work and bill our on-site design/maintenance time to the garden owner. Any time saved because students pitched in, is passed on to the garden owner in the form of fewer hours billed. We work with you regarding the composition and size of the group involved, and coordinate all arrangements with students such as time, directions to the site, tools needed, etc.

Interested in working with us and have a project that may qualify as a Garden by Janet and Steven session? The project must fit within these criteria:

  • We are hired as professional gardeners or the work is on a site where we volunteer regularly.
  • The client must allow us free rein regarding procedure, even to possible pre-arranged experimentation.
  • The client allows visitors who would work under our supervision if they pitch in.
  • We must be or become familiar with the site and plant history so we can explain how these affect the work's "what" and "why."
  • We have determined that the plants and site will serve as clear examples of the involved processes.
  • The work must be of common interest, likely to draw participants.
  • Most often, the site must be visible from a public way so those who attend can drive by in the future to see "what happens next."

If you would like to discuss setting up a barn raising or Garden by Janet and Steven, you might ask us about it when we meet to plan your garden project. Alternatively, contact us by phone (248-681-7850) or email.

If you're looking for education for groups in more conventional format (classes, hands-on workshops, lectures, etc.) then look at our list of talks and classes at Invite Us to Speak. Or you may garner ideas from the list of Where We're Appearing, including barn raisings, Garden By Janet & Steven sessions and conventional talks.