I've been gardening organically since the 1970's, and teaching gardening and nature classes for children and adults since the 1990's. I enjoy sharing what I've learned from these decades of gardening and teaching, and in continuing to learn from others too.

My classes are known for photo-laden PowerPoint shows, featuring plants and planting, mulching, pruning, and other gardening tasks, as well as gardening humor!

As an educator, my goals are to help connect children and adults to the natural world in a deeper way, with a holistic view of the plants, insects, birds, microorganisms, and other delightful creatures that we share the earth with. I believe that understanding the natural world also opens the door for gardening recommendations and nature science to make perfect sense, no matter what age we are.

My goals are also to provide ideas that help gardeners make their landscapes beautiful and healthy, sustainable, a benefit to their lives, and a benefit to the environment. Also, to provide practical gardening skills that make maintenance time enjoyable and successful, and save the time and expense of trial-and-error.

I have developed a wide variety of gardening and design classes for adults, and for kids and families, which are listed on the Available class topics & details page


Here is the schedule of my 2022 summer and fall sustainable gardening classes, all of which will be held online:


Hosted by the Tilth Alliance (for Seattle P-Patch gardeners): To register, visit https://tilthalliance.org/event/success-from-the-ground-up-a-soil-panel-discussion-for-p-patch-gardeners/

  • Success from the Ground Up: A Conversation with Local Gardeners and Farmers on Thursday July 21st from 6:00-7:30pm

Join us for a moderated panel discussion and learn about soil health from local urban farmers, gardeners and soil scientists. The panelists will share about their passions, the projects they’ve been working on, as well as tips & tricks they’ve found helpful in stewarding the soil. This educational session will include conversation sparked by questions from P-Patch gardeners, and there will be time for live Q & A.


Hosted by Cascade Water Alliance: To register, visit https://emilybishtonlawnalternatives.bpt.me/

  • Lawn Alternatives: on July 23rd from 10:00-11:00am

(Be sure to include an email address when registering to receive class handouts and related information)

Growing a healthy lawn in the Pacific Northwest can be a challenge, even with our ample rains in spring and fall. If your yard is shaded, sloped, or has other difficult conditions, there are many beautiful plant alternatives that require less maintenance, less water, and less resources! This class will cover how to choose beautiful, low-maintenance groundcovers and shrubs that will thrive on your site, easy ways to use sheet-mulching to reduce the size of your lawn and build healthy soil for the new plants, proper planting techniques, and more.



Hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens: To register, visit https://botanicgardens.uw.edu/education/adults/classes-workshops/

  • Preparing for Autumn in the Food Garden: Building Bounty on Thursday September 1st from 6:30 - 8:00pm

Just as the late-summer harvest of tomatoes and other heat-loving crops is a huge payoff for your good garden preparations in spring, autumn is the perfect time to begin the next steps for many more bountiful harvests! This class will cover how to sow-and-grow fall and winter crops, ways to renew and protect your garden soil during the rainy season, troubleshoot any problem areas and decide on changes to make, easy ways to add new growing areas by sheet-mulching, plan crop rotations for next year, and much more! Fall is also the best time to choose and plant dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes that are pest-and-disease-resistant in our climate, and to start a home composting system that fits your garden and lifestyle, and creates the best “garden gold” for your soil's health in years to come.


  • Rain Gardens and More! on Tuesday September 27th from 6:30 - 8:00pm

As the open space in the Puget Sound region has become more developed, problems with excessive storm water have also increased. You may have experienced this in your own yard and neighborhood, with seasonal flooding, erosion, or other problems. The good news is that you can add beautiful features to your garden that will be part of the solution! This class illustrates the benefits and methods of creating a rain garden, rock-lined swale, and other projects that you can do to incorporate storm water management into an existing garden. The class includes a PowerPoint and plenty of time for Q&A, and all attendees will receive handouts on ways to create a "Rain Wise" garden.


  • Lawn Alternatives on Thursday October 27th from 6:30 - 8:00pm

Growing a healthy lawn in the Pacific Northwest can be a challenge, even with our ample rains in spring and fall. If your yard is shaded, sloped, or has other difficult conditions, there are many beautiful plant alternatives that require less maintenance, less water, and less resources! This class will cover how to choose beautiful, low-maintenance groundcovers and shrubs that will thrive on your site, easy ways to use sheet-mulching to reduce the size of your lawn and build healthy soil for the new plants, proper planting techniques, and more.


You will also see me volunteering during the summer at the Free classes and stewardship events hosted by the Magnuson Children's Garden Committee!