Horticulture in the Heartland

Susan Davis, CEED - Clinton County, Southeast Area

Problem Statement

According to a recent survey, gardening is the most popular outdoor leisure activity in America. A healthy, attractive home landscape increases the value of a property and enhances the quality of life. Access to research-based information and programs will help the consumer make wise decisions in plant selection, culture, and pest management.  Clinton County Extension Plant Partner clinic annually serves more than 200 clients requiring assistance with horticulture questions. As interest in home or consumer horticulture grows, so does the demand for sources of unbiased, scientific-based information.
Programmatic Response

Clinton County Extension partnered with Clinton Trees Forever, Bickelhaupt Arboretum, and Clinton Community College to develop workshops utilizing research based education to provide lectures, discussions, and demonstrations  to reach the consumer horticulture audience.  14 Educational Opportunities were presented.  Field Specialists Dr.  Mark Shour and Dr. Patrick OMalley provided educational sessions and demonstrations. The workshop also featured DNR Specialist Mark Vitosh, Jack Pizzo Landscape Architect, and  Denny Schrock, editor Meredith Publishing and former Missouri Extension Specialist.  During the 6 hour conference 162 individuals from 41 communities throughout Iowa and Illinois  were educated.  Clinton County Master Gardeners present will  use their education to contribute to the Clinton County Master Gardener Plant Clinic Program.  

132 Evaluations were submitted.  Participants said they will adopt new practices as a result of this program.   Planned changes include    I plan to plant a couple of new fruit trees and start pruning the right way.  I plan to use technique to help control spur development and control fruiting. Dean Piatt. 
The recent National Gardening Survey indicates that consumers spend $74 annually on garden related activities.  Because this group is more interested in gardening than most people, they will likely spend two to three times as much.  For the entire group, the total increased annual spending as a result of this program was estimated to be $11,000. The Clinton Tourism Council estimated an immediate positive economic impact of  $5720 in tourism dollars. 
Community Capacity has increased. In the prior years Clinton Trees Forever has been responsible for a Trees Forever Conference reaching approximately 50-75 participants.  This year the conference coalition worked together to increase capacity and impact.  The result was a conference serving 162 registered participants from 41 communities with 14 sessions and 12 educators from educational agencies including Iowa State University, and the Iowa DNR.  The collaboration was successful and planning has begun for 2007.

February 10, 2005
146 - Consumer Horticulture and Forestry

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu