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The Garden Scoop

The Garden Scoop is a collection of reflections about the Master Gardeners in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion.
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Garden Day Workshop and Spring Festival 2016

Posted by Jenney Hanrahan -

Mid-winter can be a rather dreary time in East Central Illinois. The landscape is drab and a single yellow dandelion can be cause for celebration. Hang in there becauseā€¦ 'Spring is Coming' with the annual University of IL Extension Garden Day Workshop and Spring Festival. For nearly a decade local gardeners have kicked off spring by attending this yearly event. Garden Day features everything plant lovers enjoy: speakers who entertain and educate, a wide variety of vendors to explore and a delicious made from scratch lunch. The silent auction includes a small Hobby Greenhouse, Large Compost Wizard, 12 yards of topsoil or compost and much more. There will be loads of door prizes. It is a great way to shake off the winter doldrums and get inspiration for this year's garden.

Vermilion County Master Gardeners will hold this year's event Saturday, March 12, 8-4 pm, once again at Crossroads Church in Danville, IL. The doors open at 8am and the public is welcome to start shopping at the multitude of vendors and enjoy the silent auction and raffle room. If you wish to listen to the speakers, enjoy the legendary lunch, and receive a bag filled with coupons, information and goodies the price is $25 and you must pre-pay to reserve your seat. This event has sold out the last several years.

Gardening can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, burn calories, improve your community and eat healthier. It can also be a virtual minefield of safety issues. Master Gardener, John Bodensteiner; radio and TV personality on WDAN and MidAmerican Gardener will address these issues in his program, 'Safety in the Garden'. Learn how to protect the most valuable tool a gardener possesses-yourself!

The next program, 'Raised Garden Beds' is a hot topic with gardeners these days because there are so many benefits. Walter Deck, owner of Walt's Acres in Ridge Farm is known for his gardening expertise and humor. Walter has extensive raised beds on his property and has learned through research and hands on experience. He understands the soil requirements and after years of perfecting the process has designed and now sells raised beds. Walter will be a vendor at Garden Day and be available for questions after his presentation.

Keynote speaker Carol Reese invites you to 'Take a Walk on the Wild Side'. A wildlife garden can be alive with humming birds, bees and butterflies, yet still have a strong sense of design. Create a fabulous habitat with year round appeal for humans as well as the wildlife that visits and entertains us. This program features beautiful plants that support our pollinators and don't need chemicals to thrive. Carol will explode the myth that a wildlife garden needs to be all-native.

Reese is an educator with the University of Tennessee Extension and a nationally known garden speaker who attributes her love of horticulture to being raised on a farm by generations of plant nuts. She is a gardening columnist for the Jackson Sun and a contributor to several gardening magazines, including Fine Gardening and Horticulture. She shows plant lovers how to create gardens that express creativity and appeal to all our senses. In order to make her recommended list, a plant must be beautiful, easy to grow, locally available, and a real workhorse in the garden. Her talk will be tailored to gardeners and plants that can be grown in Illinois.

To reserve your spot, stop by the Vermilion County Extension office at 3164 N Vermilion Danville, Il

217-442-8615 and pay by cash or check. You may wait and pay $30 at the door but space is limited and in recent years Garden Day sold out before the big day.

If you wish to pay by credit card you must visit the University of IL Extension website:

Profits are used to fund and maintain Master Gardener educational programs and community projects in Vermilion County.

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