January is one of the best times to dream and plan for the gardening season. Several upcoming seminars in central Wisconsin and beyond are sure to get your garden inspiration flowing.
Jan. 12 – Garden Dreams, Amherst
Join Portage County Master Gardener Volunteers for presentations by two well-known Wisconsin landscapers. Registration is due Jan. 9, so you’ll want to act soon.
Jeff Epping, director of horticulture at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, will present two sessions with a sustainable gardens theme, focusing on greener gardens that require less time, water and chemicals to grow.
“Designs and plants for greener gardens” will focus on the importance of analyzing site conditions and using plants well-adapted to the conditions in which they are planted. In “creating and maintaining a gravel garden,” Epping will show these gardens are as beautiful as any perennial bed or border and require only a fraction of the labor to grow. Not to be confused with traditional rock or alpine gardens, gravel gardens are suitable replacements for lawns and traditional perennial beds.
Frank Hassler, owner of Good Oak Ecological Services, Madison, will speak about native plants in the home landscape that look good and grow well in a variety of conditions. He will discuss problems caused by invasive species and why native plants are good choices.
The seminar is from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lettie W. Jensen Community Center, 487 N. Main St., Amherst. The $30 fee includes lunch.
For more information, call 715-341-4941, pick up a registration brochure at the Portage County University Extension Office or download the brochure at the Wisconsin Master Gardener website at wimastergardener.org/sites/wimastergardener.org/files/event%20pdfs/2013GardenDreams.pdf.
Jan. 18- Feb. 17 – Winter’s Garden, Stevens Point
This juried exhibition of floral and botanical art is a winter highlight at the Riverfront Arts Center in downtown Stevens Point. Live blooming orchids are available for sale.
Jan. 25-26 – Garden Visions, Wausau
After a one-year hiatus, this conference for cold climate gardeners returns to a new venue in Wausau, the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County (UW-Marathon County). It is sponsored by the North Central Wisconsin Master Gardener Association. A host of topics and speakers are featured during the daylong conference Saturday. Friday night workshops are extra.
The keynote speaker is Tracy DiSabato-Aust, an internationally known garden writer and speaker. She has written several terrific gardening books, and her talk will focus on one of them: “The Well-Designed Mixed Garden: Building Borders with Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals and Bulbs.”
Participants can choose from numerous breakout sessions Saturday. Topics include hummingbirds and woodpeckers with photographer and entertaining birder Stan Tekiela; better ornamental trees and shrubs for the home garden with Dave Wanninger, horticulturist at Boerner Botanic Gardens; “Exploring the Water’s Edge: Shorelands, Restoration and Native Plants” with UW Extension lake specialist Patrick Goggin; gardening for butterflies with Pat Thomas; good and bad bugs and how to encourage good ones with UW Entomologist Phil Pellitteri; grafting fruit trees with permaculturist John Holzwart; growing produce to suit your lifestyle and abilities with journalist-turned-community-supported agriculture farmer Kriss Marion; wildflowers with Jim Bray; and peonies with Michelle Ovans, a commercial grower.
The Saturday registration fee is $45 and includes lunch. Registration is due Jan. 18.
Optional three-hour workshops are available Friday night, covering topics from back care basics, beekeeping, broom making, cooking with herbs, flower arranging, nature photography, native plant seed collecting and propagation, creating miniature gardens and winter bird care. Most sessions have a $25 fee plus materials.
Jan. 26 – Toward Harmony with Nature, Oshkosh
Offered by The Wild Ones, this day-long conference features the keynote address “Ecological Restoration: Extending Leopold’s Legacy in the 21st Century” by Curt Meine, senior fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Nine breakout sessions cover topics including woodland species, native plants for wet places, bird friendly yards, prairie management, identifying and managing invasive plants, and state natural areas.
The conference is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oshkosh Convention Center. The cost is $30 for Wild Ones members and $35 for nonmembers who register by Jan. 23. Same day registration is available for $5 more. For more information see the Wild Ones website at www.towardharmonywithnature.org or email moc.liamgnull@yellavxofsenodliw.
Feb. 8-10 – WPT’s Garden Expo, Madison
This continues to be the best botanical buy, even with the travel. For $7 a day ($8 at the door) or $11 for a two-day pass, visitors can choose to attend any of 100 educational seminars and demonstrations. Sponsored by Wisconsin Public Television and UW-Extension Horticulture, the annual event is held at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison.
Numerous educational seminars are held throughout the day. This year, start times are staggered, which hopefully will relieve some congestion. Topics range from cultivating mushrooms to preventing and managing drought, raising chickens, installing pavers, growing and preserving produce, designing landscaping, choosing plants for sun, shade or night gardens, bonsai, disease and pest problems and lawn care without pesticides.
Nearly 400 vendors turn the large exhibition hall into a series of spring floral displays, sunrooms and ponds. Browse for books, garden art, furniture, equipment, tools, seeds and much more.
For additional fees (and preregistration), you can learn about vegetable fermentation, make a floral fused pendant or grout-less mosaic, stained glass butterfly or frog, miniature garden, herbal vinegar or infused oils.
A complete schedule of seminars and exhibitors is at www.wpt.org/gardenexpo/. Tickets are available locally at Jung Garden Center.
Enjoy this terrific line-up and register soon for the local seminars. All are open to the public.