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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Garden Day Events

I am scheduled to speak at several garden day events this spring. Garden day events are sponsored by University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and are held all over the state. You can find a garden event to attend on almost every Saturday between late February and early April.

My garden day circuit begins March 16th in Macomb. This day features local experts speaking on new plant releases, designing for extreme weather, creating certified wildlife backyard habitats, local food, and more. They are also doing a tour of the over 2,000 plants in the Western Illinois University living library.

I am giving two presentations that day. I start the day with Lawncare Tips. This is one of my favorite topics to talk about. I teach day-long turfgrass classes for Master Gardener trainees each winter. They always laugh when I tell them my favorite topics are mowing and weeds. I love to mow grass. For me it is relaxing, free of stress, and connects me with my yard that I love. I also do my best landscape design while mowing. Unfortunately, most people do not mow properly. In this session I provide tips for establishing and maintaining the yard of your dreams.

My second topic on March 16th is Bargain Gardening. Gardening can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. A limited budget should never keep you out of the garden. I try to show people how gardens can be simple, fun, and inexpensive by teaching gardening tips and ideas that save time and money. As with all my presentations, I give examples from my own yard.

On April 6th I will be at Gardeners' Big Day held in Lewistown at Dickson Mounds Museum. Sponsored by the Fulton and Mason county Master Gardeners, this event includes garden seminars, workshops, vendors, displays, and so much more. This year they've asked me to speak about hot new plants for 2013. Every year new plants are introduced to fit a particular horticultural need or garden niche. The best of the best is promoted each year through the various gardening organizations and plant testing groups. I show the top plants for 2013 and encourage participants to select a few to try in their own garden.

Finally, I am helping with the Gardener's Day in Jacksonville on March 23rd. The morning session includes information on pollinator plants, rain gardens, and emerald ask borer. A workshop in the afternoon will teach the basics of setting up a rain barrel from easy to find materials. This event could be emotional for me because it will be my last Garden Day event there as their horticulture educator. On April 1st my appointment changes to a 100 percent appointment in the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Extension Unit. I will miss working half-time in Jacksonville and certainly will miss the wonderful staff and volunteers there.

I hope to see you at an upcoming Garden Day event. For more information and registration specifics, go to and follow the "Find an Office" or "Today's Events" links. Happy Gardening!

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