From beekeeping to blueberries, you’ll find a wide variety of topics covered at the “Art of Gardening” to be offered Saturday, March 17, in Muscatine.
There also will be three “make-and-take” classes, including a terra cotta fountain, a small replica porch swing planted with succulents and a terrarium. Garden art vendors will be on hand, and there will be a raffle for a wooden garden bench.
The day will begin at 8 a.m. with coffee, rolls and registration, followed from 9 to 10 a.m. by the keynote address. Craig Hignight, the former owner of Hignight Valley Market in Coal Valley and now on the staff at Wallace’s Garden Center & Greenhouse in Bettendorf, will talk about “My Life with Plants.”
Hignight grew up in the nursery business, and for more than 27 years he answered gardening questions and gave plant tips on WQAD-TV.
Participants will then attend their choice of 22 different breakout sessions.
Session 1: 10:15–11:15 a.m.
- The wonderful world of beekeeping: Ron Fischer, an Orion, Ill., beekeeper, will explain how to start keeping honeybees, including equipment. Also, there will be a tasting of more than 12 varieties of honey.
- Blueberries: Deb Walser, a Linn County (Iowa) Master Gardener, will explain how to grow blueberries, including their need for soil adjustment, water and pruning.
- Starting garden transplants at home: Zora Ronan, a Linn County (Iowa) Master Gardener.
- Freezing and drying your bounty: Philip Pfister, a Linn County (Iowa) Master Gardener.
- Designing a garden for a small area: Nicole Hoben, the owner of Barnyard Blooms, Grandview, Iowa.
- Ornamentals — Trees and shrubs for the Iowa Landscape: Chuck Porto of Iowa City Landscaping will pay special attention to plants with multi-season interest and those with multiple uses.
Lunch 1: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Lunch 2: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
To accommodate participants, lunch is split into two seatings. The Session 2 talks will be given twice.
Session 2: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m.
- Ornamental grasses and complementary plants: Shane Mairet, owner of Mairet’s Garden Center, Muscatine.
- Color your world with new annuals: Maria McCalley, Hilltop Green Houses, Illinois City, will explain how plant breeding has produced new colors.
- The cutting garden: Sarah Cutler, owner of Seeded Earth Growers, Muscatine, will discuss annuals, perennials, bulbs and woody plants that make excellent cuts for fresh floral arrangements.
Session 3: 1:45-2:45 p.m.
- My Life with Plants: Craig Hignight, Wallace’s Garden Center
- Gardening with children: Linda Naeve, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach program coordinator, will give ideas for formal and informal settings, including curriculum and resources.
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- Using native plants to attract butterflies to your garden: Ion Exchange, Harper’s Ferry, Iowa.
- Landscaping in layers for all-season color: Peggy Burrows, Meyer’s Landscape & Design, Moline, will discuss blooms, but also foliage and bark textures, screening, habitat for birds and butterflies, and how adding layers to an older landscape can give it a fresh look.
- Exploring heirloom vegetables: Valerie Ortberg, a Linn County Master Gardener, will discuss the benefits of heirlooms and how to start and save your own seeds.
- Ring My Bells for Coral Bells: Deb Walser (see today’s cover story for details).
- Perennials 101: Zora Ronan, a Linn County Master Gardener, will focus on care.
Session 4: 3-4 p.m.
- Terra cotta fountain: Deb Walser, a Linn County Master Gardener, will show you how to make a fountain using terra cotta pots, and you can take it home with you. ($35 additional materials fee paid to the instructor.)
- Creating a living miniature world: Sarah Cutler of Seeded Earth Growers, Muscatine, will show you how to make and care for a terrarium, and you can take it home with you. ($40 additional materials fee paid to the instructor.)
- Swinging succulents: Laura Schmitz, Iowa City Landscaping. Succulents have become a popular plant because of their unique shapes and drought-tolerant characteristics. Schmitz will guide you through the planting of a 22-by-10-inch-by-11-inch-deep, ready-to-hang cedar replica porch swing with a variety of succulents that you can take home with you. ($50 additional materials fee paid to the instructor.)
- Creative cooking with honey: Ron Fischer, an Orion, Ill., beekeeper, will share recipes for appetizers, breads, pies and cookies. Also, a sample tasting.
- Organic vegetable gardening: Philip Pfister, a Linn County Master Gardener. This class is recommended for gardeners of all levels of experience who want to enjoy the healthful benefits of organic gardening.
- Certifying your wildlife habitat: Becki Lynch, a Linn County Master Gardener, will walk you through the process and identify the elements required to create a Certified National Wildlife Habitat.