Outreach & Education at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

Since 2007, our unique partnership with the City of Providence Parks Department has brought the University’s expertise in sustainable horticulture and urban agriculture to the staff, volunteers and visitors at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. Through the involvement of URI Extension staff and trained URI Master Gardener volunteers, science-based information and research is shared in the classroom and garden setting at the Botanical Center to foster environmental stewardship.

Educational Programs

In cooperation with Providence Parks Department staff, Extension staff and URI Master Gardener volunteers are working collaboratively to create a vibrant community center in the middle of historic Roger Williams Park!  To educate and engage our audience about best horticultural practices, we are offering the following programs in 2016:

  • Urban Garden Series
    Saturdays in April-October, 11am – 12pm
    Join our URI Master Gardeners at the Roger Williams Park Community Garden for workshops on food related horticultural topics! Topics may include growing potatoes in bins, growing in containers, controlling garden pests or composting techniques.
    Registration is not required. The community garden is adjacent to the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center parking lot; park there and come down! Bring a lawn chair, a notebook and lots of questions! In the event of inclement weather, please check our Facebook page for the latest information

    Click here for the 2016 Urban Garden Series schedule!

  • Curious about a flower or weed in your garden? Want some gardening tips and tricks? Need some inspiration? Come join us and we’ll point you in the right direction!

    “Ask a Master Gardener” Kiosk
    1st Saturday of the month in February-June and August-December.  Due to the holiday weekend, the kiosk will be there on July 9th.  Available 11am-2pm on all dates.
    Since its debut, our URI Master Gardeners have been offering their expertise to the public in this interactive way.  Come talk to us and get answers to gardening questions, have a plant sample identified, or pick up various handouts on current horticultural topics.  We are here to help!  
    pH Soil Testing
    1st Saturday of the month in March-June and September-October,  11am – 2pm
    Starting a garden? Looking to enhance an existing garden?  Soil testing is an excellent practice to incorporate into your gardening routine.  Our URI Master Gardener volunteers will test a soil sample for a pH reading and provide an explanation and recommendation for remedial action.  Grow your healthiest garden!  Bring a cup of dry soil from your garden for us to test.
    Soil Sample Instructions: http://www.urimastergardeners.org/soil-testing

    *Kiosk and Soil Testing are free with paid admission to the Botanical Center

  • The Botanical Center is a great place to see and learn about tropical plants.  Those housed in this unique environment provide interest with flowers, fruit and foliage that we just can’t see in the New England climate.

    At any time of day, enjoy a self-guided tour and learn about the plants, their uses, their unusual and highly varied physical characteristics, and information on how they have adapted to the climates in which they naturally exist.

    Simply pick up a handout at the welcome booth upon entry and enjoy!
    Available during Botanical Center hours of operation.

    Example: August 2016

  • A variety of demonstration gardens have been installed on the Botanical Center grounds to showcase gardening type and techniques. These demonstration gardens include a large community garden, an edible forest garden, a 400+ square foot rain garden and a Rhody Native™ pollinator garden

    RWP Community Garden- SchnabelRoger Williams Park Community Garden

    Established in 2011, this garden allows individuals living near the park to lease plots on an annual-basis to grow their own food. The garden also houses the Produce Donation Program, a URI Master Gardener-led project that showcases organic growing practices and produced over 1,600 pounds of fresh produce in 2013, all of which was donated to a South Providence soup kitchen.

    IMG_1603Edible Forest Garden

    This garden was established in 2012 to showcase a wide variety of permaculture concepts and food-producing plants that can be grown in Rhode Island to provide food, fiber, fuel or fodder to families. Additional exhibits for beekeeping, backyard mushroom cultivation and an herb spiral have recently been added to the forest garden as well.
    Edible Forest Garden Informational Flyer

    RWPBotanicalCenter_01Rain Garden

    Through a partnership with the URI Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program, Outreach Center staff and attendees of the first RI Residential Rain Garden Training Program installed a 400+ square foot rain garden in April of 2011. The rain garden accepts roof runoff from the Botanical Center blockhouse and prevents it from reaching nearby Edgewood Lake. The garden features woody and herbaceous plant material native to New England.

    Betsy William CollegeBetsey Williams Cottage

    A family farmhouse built in 1773, this garden features perennials and herbs grown in the late 1700’s for cooking. It is located at the former home of Betsey Williams, the last surviving descendant of Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island.

Curious about other happenings at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center?

Check out our partners! 

Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

Botanical Center Conservancy