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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.

2013 Home Lawn and Garden Article

Home, Lawn and Garden Show

The 11th Annual 2013 Home, Lawn and Garden Show, planned by the McLean County Master Gardeners exhibited some of the popular gardening trends of 2013. This year's show left an impression on 397 program attendees and Master Gardener volunteers from all over Illinois. Horticulture educator, Kelly Allsup, says the Home Lawn and Garden Show participants were encouraged to find a purpose in their garden, use succulents, garden vertically, re-purpose junkyard finds and were given tips on dealing with the drought.

Kaizad Irani, who is a highly respected professor and program director at Parkland Community College, an Associate professor at the University of Illinois, and a regular panelist on WILL's "Mid-American Gardener," was this year's keynote speaker. Kaizad Irani spoke of textures and curves within the landscape, not skipping a beat to take the opportunity to mock the pink flamingos and life-sized cardboard cut-outs spread across America's lawn. Irani's address entitled 'The Inner Sanctum: Creating a Place of Respite and Relaxation in your Garden," did not receive a standing ovation because of his spot on humor or his fantastic garden design pictures, but for his involvement in one very special project. The project entailed the designing of a children's garden for the St. Jude's Cancer Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee involving Kaizad Irani and his landscape design students from Parkland Community College. Irani was inspired by a former student and cancer survivor. The Parkland team raised money and designed and built this very special garden that can be viewed from the windows of the hospital.

In addition to a garden with purpose, the top 2013 Home, Lawn and Garden trends spread throughout the entire day. The gardening trends started off with building a living wall out of succulents. Allsup says "succulents are the plants to grow this year because of the interesting textures and colors and that they are very easy to take care of requiring less water than most annuals and tropicals." Another trend spotlighted during the show was vertical gardening because we no longer have vegetable gardens that take up an acre of land but we are restricted with small spaces. A small space, utilizing the vertical element, can produce vegetables, herbs, flowers, vines, succulents and tropical plants.

Marsha Clark, Home Lawn and Garden Chair and program presenter, encouraged attendees to use annual vines to build a living wall. The living wall presented was built out of an old door and followed yet another trend: salvage gardening. Salvage gardening is repurposing a door, bed frame, old farm equipment or a shoe and using it to grow plants in or as art in your garden. Shane Cultra, a nursery man from Urbana, Illinois, taught a salvage gardening program which stood out as one of the most popular programs. Cultra's presentation proved "Creativity is King."

Drought played a key role in the programs of Home Lawn and Garden Day. Master Gardeners, Extension Educators, area specialists and local industry professionals gave tips on dealing with drought and gardening. Allsup says, "after experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades, combined with one of the hottest summers recorded, it's no wonder gardeners are thinking of ways to reduce water usage and using plants tolerant to the drought without sacrificing color."

The program committee chair, Ellen Culver (2011 McLean County Master Gardener Graduate), was asked why she spent countless hours organizing the Home, Lawn and Garden Day. She replied "all the smiling faces and interaction between the attendees and Master Gardeners made all the work worth it." Culver later described Master Gardeners as a creative, enthusiastic and sharing group.

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