February 9 – March 4, 2021 (Tuesdays 2pm- 5pm and Thursday 2pm – 5pm)
Instructor: Susan Epstein assisted by Beverly Rivers


Charleston Horticultural Society’s esteemed Docent Training Course returns in winter of 2021 with a month of intensive study focused on the horticultural heritage and history of the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Charleston’s most in-depth garden docent training program will feature instruction from renowned Charleston horticulturalist Susan Epstein with assistance from Charleston gardening professional Beverly Rivers.

Course highlights will include an overview of Charleston’s earliest agricultural and ornamental history and the contributions of the botanists and landowners during that period of wealth, leadership and discovery. Study will include deeper understanding of the effects from the Civil War on the horticultural world and how the city recovered and re-established its position as a leader in garden design. Further exploration will include visits to a wide variety of gardens to learn plant material by common and botanical names as well as discussions and visits to study the work of modern era designers and garden owners who’s work continues our city’s beloved horticultural legacy.

This year’s course, which features an historical approach, will offer 8 classes on Tuesday and Thursday from Feb. 9 – Mar. 4. All students will take a final qualifying test to become a certified CHS Garden Docent. All graduates of this program are given first priority for all garden tour and volunteer opportunities and will receive a certificate and docent lanyard upon course completion.

Course dates: Tuesdays Feb. 9, 16, 23 and Mar. 2 and Thursday Feb. 11, 18, 25 and Mar. 4
(2:00pm – 5:00pm with possible small time extension)


Tuesday classes will be held at Susan Epstein’s West Ashley property enabling all to study the actual plants and envision their full size in a garden. Susan will convert her large garage space into our classroom offering good ventilation and social distancing space.

Thursday classes will include an outdoor visit to local gardens. All attendees are required to wear masks and all social distancing practices will be observed.

Course Fee:
$250 for CHS Hort Members
$300 Non -Members (fee includes one year individual membership to CHS Hort)

Course Requirements:

  1. Completed application (download this file > 2021 Application)
  2. Attendance at each session: Tues. 2:00 – 5:00pm and Thurs. 2:00 – 5:00pm
  3. The ability to walk/stand for periods of time
  4. The ability to speak to a small group

*class is limited to 18 participants and is first come first serve. Payment required at time of reservation. No holds.