Originally Posted by Banksy
If going back to college to get a degree is not a realistic option, where else can one learn more about horticutlure or at least some solid basics?
Check with your state's nursery and landscape association. I'm on the board for the Northern VA Nursery and Landscape Association and we put on educational opportunities throughout the year. We just hosted Allan Armitage for two talks about plants, we provide a study course to become a certified horticulturist, and we work with another group to put on an awesome green industry field day in the summer. I'll be doing one of the classes, so drive up to DC and watch a fat man melt while talking about plants in July.
Which dovetails nicely with the OP's question - you can be successful without going to college for this. I majored in Sociology/Criminology at Miami U, and ten years later studied interior design for two years. Everything I've learned has been either on the job or from books, lectures, and bugging smart people to teach me. Now I teach classes about plants, design, and running a business.
I will say though that if you CAN do school, it'll almost always jumpstart your career. I would never talk someone out of education, but if you can't swing it, don't think that means your career is over before it starts.