Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Winter Day in the Garden

I had a fun weekend in Robinson, Illinois at the Zwermann Arts Theater, Lincoln Trails College. I was one of several speakers at the University of Illinois Extension program, "A Winter Day in the Garden," sponsored by Crawford County Master Gardeners and Lincoln Trails College (which now offers horticulture classes).

The keynote speaker was Erica Glasener, a horticulturist, author and host of HGTV's "A Gardener's Diary." Erica's presentation was "On the Road with a Gardener's Diary: People, Places and Plants." She had some amazing slides of gardeners and the people who created them from one end of the country to the other. Erica lives in Atlanta with her husband and young daughter -- she has a rich and varied background in the gardening world.

The brother and sister team of Judy Burris and Wayne Richards did a fascinating and hilarious presentation called "Butterflies: Gardening with a Purpose" that covered their first baby steps in gardening, leading up to their obsession with butterflies. From there, they discussed the life cycles and feeding habits of butterflies, based on their book "The Life Cycles of Butterflies." I picked up a copy of their book -- I recommend it to young and old!

I finally got to meet Dave Wanninger of Beaver Creek Nursery, part of Roy Klehm's commercial dynasty. I had interviewed Dave for articles in The Landscape Contractor -- telephone interviews. Dave did a presentation on "Low Maintenance Perennials" and his great slides and enthusiastic delivery have forced me to order some of the plants he discussed. My husband Marty, who came along as my "technical advisor/roadie" to help with any PowerPoint complications, just shook his head after watching Dave's presentation. "Too bad Dave doesn't have any enthusiasm for his subject," he said, after Dave had the audience in hysterics with his plant stories.

I kicked off the session with an early-bird talk on "Garden Writing: Getting Published." I was amazed that about 150 people showed up! There were about 300 people there for the main event, really a nice group. I believe most were in the U of I Master Gardener program and/or the Crawford County Garden Club but I'm not really sure. The other sessions I led were "Dark and Purple Plants" and "Creating Garden Rooms."

Marty and I both had a great time, both at the Friday night reception and the events on Saturday. Luckily, the snow and extreme cold held off until today so we had nice weather for the interstate trek. I would like to thank Gloria MacDonald, Hope Dennis, Dorothy Smith, Dale Tye, Colleen, and all the people whose names I am sure to garble -- our wonderful hosts at this event. I was sorry that Gloria was unable to attend after all the work she put into this, but I enjoyed meeting everyone else!


Treethyme said...

I neglected to mention one person -- Gene Bush of Munchkin Nurseries. He was a past speaker at this event, and I hope to visit his nursery one of these days!