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Midwest Gardening Symposium:

Green Gardening from the Ground Up
by Olbrich Botanical Gardens
February 28, 2010

Green is the new lifestyle trend. Whether you are a conscientious homeowner looking for safer and healthier options for your yard, or you are interested in growing tastier and locally grown produce or you are an established gardener looking for ways to make your plants thrive without chemicals, this event celebrates greener gardening with practical advice for everyone.

This symposium, co-sponsored by Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Allen Centennial Gardens, will illustrate the importance of reclaiming the health of your soil, tackle current plant health issues, determine the value of native versus non-native plants and create low-maintenance home landscapes.

Learn from Midwest-focused, hands-on gardening experts how we are degrading our soils and what to do about it; how to garden with the right plant in the right place for cultural health controls over chemical; how to analyze your site to determine proper applications of native versus ornamental plants; and then discover the newest plant selections of shrubs, the latest excitement in low-maintenance plants.

Our expert panel includes authors, radio and television hosts, newspaper columnists, award winners, innovators and, most importantly, gardeners who know environmentally correct methods of correcting your problems and issues.

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web

Expecting a “dry” scientific lecture on soils that rolls your eyeballs back in their sockets? Then you haven’t learned about soils from a gardener. Jeff Lowenfel’s dynamic, energetic and humorous talk is based on a book he co-authored by the same name. Barbara Perry Lawton heralded it in the St. Louis Post Dispatch this way, “This intense little book may well change the way you garden, teaching you to manage your garden soil in new yet old ways that result in less expense and healthier plants”. Whether you are experienced in ornamental gardener plants, are a produce gardener or novice homeowner interested in a healthy, safe lawn, you will learn how to create rich, nurturing, LIVING soil without resorting to harmful synthetic chemicals. Jeff is a member of the Garden Writers’ Hall of fame and has been writing a weekly column for the Anchorage Daily News since 1977. A native New Yorker, he now works as an attorney in Alaska and is one of the nation’s leading proponents of gardening using the concepts of the soil food web.

The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly

After you listen to Jeff talk about healthy soils, you will be anxious to run home and make necessary changes to your gardens and lawns. But healthy landscapes, plants and gardens go beyond soils. Are you tired of every pest and disease solution being chemically dependent and still not seeing a healthy ecosystem in your yard, safe and delicious produce or thriving garden plants? You've likely heard the right plant in the right place but do you know all of the implications of what that means to cultural control as opposed to chemical? How does one apply the same theories discussed in healthy soils to plants, edible or ornamental? How can plant selection and design change your landscape to be healthier and more sustainable? Can good plants go bad? No one may be more qualified to address this issue than Melinda Myers.

With more than 30 years of horticulture experience, she's authored over 20 books, is the host of the nationally syndicated Melinda's Garden Moments, which air on 50 network TV stations throughout the country and is contributing editor and columnist for Birds & Blooms magazine. She also hosted the Plant Doctor show on 620 WTMJ for over 20 years and is the host of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS.

Natural Beauty

“Native plants”. Trendy and a new buzzword among home gardeners. So much so that “ornamental” or “exotic” has developed negative connotations. But what does native mean? What makes a plant native? Are native plants always the best choices in a home landscape? Could a native plant be appropriate in one spot where ornamental might excel in another and vice-versa? What might work in one setting may become a nightmare in another. Learn plant traits and how to combine the best of all choices for maximum effect and minimal worry. Christine Nye has been horticultural manager at Shedd Aquarium since 1998.

She began working inside the aquarium on exhibit spaces with animals, so it was a natural transition to take organic practices to the care of the grounds. She brings experience from both ornamental horticulture and native plants and has most recently used that experience in the development of WaterShedd, which she designed in collaboration with Roy Diblik, co-owner of Northwest Perennial Farm. WaterShedd illustrates effective and pleasing ways to compose a xeriscape garden--an environment that requires no or minimal irrigation--using native and non-native plant species. She has been using compost teas at the gardens of the Shedd Aquarium for 16 years, making her a perfect fit for a green gardening from the ground up gathering!

Shrubs, the New Perennials

Low maintenance gardening has long been appealing to advanced and novice gardeners alike. Many trends touting low maintenance have fallen short in their claims and have left homeowners either discouraged or vowing not to garden again. The next decade may well be the decade of the shrub. Shrubs provide seasonal interest; exhibit flower bloom and foliage color, texture and form; fit small landscapes as well as the perennial garden; many are resistant to insect, disease and health issues; are durable and reliable; AND require far less maintenance than perennials, annuals, vegetables and turf. Ezra Haggard has been in the landscape business since 1980, with majority of projects have been designed, and constructed in the Midwest. Based in Lexington, KY, his passion for gardens and landscapes has sent him to commissions from Indiana to Florida. His knowledge of plants and garden construction lead him to publish three books, "Basic Projects & Plantings", "Perennials for the Lower Midwest", and "Trees, Shrubs, and Roses For The Midwest". He will guide you through the some of the exciting choices and new releases for gardeners based in the upper Midwest.

Saturday, March 13, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Registration deadline March 5, 2010

$99 Olbrich members/$119 public

$99 horticulture students and Master Gardeners. Please provide a current student Master Gardener ID.

Fee includes lunch.

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row