Plant Identification Certificate




This course provides an overview of the different families of plants, the characteristics that will enable you to easily identify plants, their optimal growing conditions, common pests and diseases. Discover what plants are hardy in the Lower Mainland environment and which ones will be “high maintenance”. Confidently choose the appropriate plant for your chosen location.

This course is suitable for home gardeners who want to spend their plant dollars wisely and for landscapers or horticulturists who want their customers’ gardens to thrive. Spend Saturdays exploring some of our incredible local gardens.


Catherine Dale

After a decade of maintenance work in the horticulture industry, I started to wonder if there were better ways to deal with landscape problems. I realized I was treating the symptoms, not the causes, of the sick landscapes I was supposed to be caring for – that the conventional approach was not working. I began to explore organic principles and realized that the key to landscape health was working with nature, not warring against it. Time for an awakening!

In partnership with the Burnaby School District and Gaia College, I instruct the Organic Master Gardener and Organic Horticulture Specialist programs. I also instruct the Plant Identification course and guest lecture in the Ecological Landscape Design program. These courses are designed for professional and home gardeners to learn how to manage the landscape in an environmentally friendly way.

I also teach the Residential Landscape Technician program – for 20 years! It is an entry-level program to landscapers, many of whom have started their own businesses.

I work with the BC Landscape and Nursery Association, instructing the Horticulture Basics program, preparing and presenting entry-level information to new landscape employees across the province.

Burnaby School District’s Community & Continuing Education Services have been approved by the Industry Training Authority as a Training Provider for the Landscape Horticulturist Apprenticeship, so I coordinate the instructors and learning material in this program. Graduates of this program become trade certified in Landscape Horticulture, a Red Seal program.

Other qualifications:

  • Qualified for my Journeyperson certification in Landscape Horticulture in the early 1990’s
  • Instructor at Capilano College’s Horticulture program in 2005-2006 teaching Soils and Integrated Pest Management
  • SOUL certified in Organic Landcare, 2005
  • Over 30 years of experience in the horticulture industry, working for several municipalities, golf courses, private gardens, restoring heritage gardens and organically managing the GVRD’s compost demonstration garden
  • “Educator of the Year” award from the BC Landscape and Nursery Association, 2004
  • Awarded the City of Burnaby’s Environmental Award for work at the Eagles Estate Heritage Garden on the shores of Deer Lake, 2006
  • Worked as head gardener on the mainland for the Land Conservancy restoring historical and cultural gardens
  • Completed the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma in Adult Education
  • Involved with the Communities in Bloom program
  • Instructing Horticulture programs for Corrections Canada inmates
  • Certified Permaculture Instructor
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