From the Ground Up: Garden Events

Master Gardener Jackie MacLaren

by Jackie MacLaren, ISU Extension and Outreach Linn County Master Gardener

It has seemed a tough, cold winter! However days are getting longer and the garden calendar is heating up with events to get your gardening season moving. Here are a few for your consideration.

There’s no shortage of weekly gardening classes to choose attend, as Master Gardeners present class series at the Hiawatha, Ely and Cedar Rapids libraries. All classes are free and no registration is required.

During February, stop in at the Hiawatha library Monday nights during from 6:30 to 7:30 to hear how plants have played a part in history, and how to build a garden using bales of straw.  Thursday night class topics at the Ely library during include cottage gardens, hydrangeas and planting for winter interest.

April classes at the Cedar Rapids Ladd Library are scheduled Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 7:30. Topics include fabulous foliage and growing baskets and containers.

The Creative Gardening Series is back, and 2014 sees a change in location. The series will be presented in the Whipple Auditorium at the Cedar Rapids Public Library downtown location. All sessions are from 6:30 to 8:30 and are generally well attended, so arrive early for best seating. The series kicks off on Thursday, March 27 with Bill Shore’s presentation on Small Space Food Gardens. Learn techniques to produce food organically in small urban/suburban spaces. Among his garden pursuits, Bill manages gardens for renowned Chicago restaurateur Rick Bayless.

If you’d like to trade synthetic fertilizers and pervasive pesticides for more natural lawn care, you won’t want to miss Guys on Grass: Organic Lawn Care 101 presented Thursday, April 3 by Mike Nowak. Mike explains how some simple cultural practices can be just as effective as expensive chemicals to keep your lawn green and healthy.

Jim Locklear closes out the series on April 10 with his presentation The View from Phlox Mountain. Jim is the director of conservation at Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens and takes us on a tour of the phlox genus of 60 species that includes many of America’s most beloved wildflowers, and has yielded plants that are cultivated by gardeners around the world.

Mark your calendars now for upcoming plant sales! The Indian Creek Nature Center’s annual sale is slated Saturday, May 2, followed by Iowa City’s Project Green sale on May 10 and our own Linn County Master Gardener plant sale on May 17.

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