Freezing rain and biting cold temperatures in the air did not deter 100 avid gardeners from attending the ‘Ready, Set, Grow’ workshop at Sauk Valley Community College on Saturday, March 9. University of Illinois Extension Program Coordinators and Master Gardeners from Lee, Ogle & Whiteside counties planned a sensational gardening day with the latest trends in gardening and landscaping. Participants had the opportunity to choose from 15 educational seminars throughout the day ranging from Growing Vegetables and This Organic Soil with Master Gardener Rich Tobiasz to New for 2013: Latest in Annuals & Perennials with Bud LeFevre from Distinctive Gardens in Dixon . Three hands-on presentations allowed participants to take home their own rain barrel or succulent container garden presented by University of Illinois Extension Horticulture educator, Candice Miller. Participants were encouraged to use their imagination to create a Magical Miniature Garden with Jim Brown from Distinctive Gardens in Dixon.
Also featured that day were presentations by Jeff White on Starting a Community Garden; Ellen Phillips on Composting Essentials; Beneficial Insects & Pollinators and Common Garden Pests in the Vegetable Garden with Kelly Allsup; Seed Starting at Home with BJ Miller; Waterscaping Your Landscape by Tim Seigner of Natural Water Gardens; Sustainable Landscapes: Using Low-Maintenance Native Plants by Andy Stahr of ecology + vision, llc and keynote speaker Mark Dwyer also did a breakout session on Vertical Gardening.
The day was concluded with keynote speaker Mark Dwyer of the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI whose presentation on Ornamental Edibles encouraged gardeners to try various herbs & vegetables alongside their annuals and perennials in the garden and in a variety of unique containers. Mark’s eye-catching pictures and creative ideas had participants eagerly taking notes.
New this year to Ready, Set, Grow was the addition of 15 vendors which included: Heavenly Winds; Fast Tools; Pampered Chef; Stone Crete; Midwest Permaculture; Tower Gardens; Longaberger Baskets; Linda Cunningham Homemade Crafts; Jamie Coffey Miche Bags; Charlotte Combs Ruffled Scarfs; McCormicks; Koch Design Source; Sterling Development Organization-Kitchen Incubator & Self Help Enterprises from Sterling. The Master Gardeners from Lee, Ogle & Whiteside counties were also on-hand to answer gardening questions throughout the day.
Gardeners enjoyed a day of workshops, connecting with other gardeners, shopping from local vendors, a buffet breakfast, garden lunch and many door prizes. Each participant was given a reusable BALL bag filled with gardening goodies.
Ready, Set, Grow may be over for 2013; but the gardening season is just beginning!