Things are Going up with Vertical Gardening

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"Vertical Gardening" is the theme for this year's Home, Lawn and Garden Show presented by the McLean County Master Gardeners. Mark Dwyer, director of horticulture for the Rotary Botanical Garden in Janesville, Wis., will speak on the popular garden trend of growing plants up. His presentation will include great examples of vertical gardening at the award-winning botanical garden in Janesville. Dwyer's passion for obtaining, growing, observing and photographing plants will be highlighted throughout the talk.

"All of our gardens offer situations where growing plants vertically can be both functional and beautiful. Gardening in three dimensions by maximizing vertical space is a goal that makes sense with our limited time, resources and sometimes lack of space," says Dwyer.

When growing vegetables vertically, the structures take up relatively little garden space compared to vegetables that vine out on the ground. There are new varieties of vine crops that cater to this type of gardening because the fruits weigh in below 7 pounds and the vines remain compact. Vertical gardening minimizes some maintenance issues, like allowing growers to use containers, keeping plants off the ground for good disease prevention and allowing for more sunlight to reach the leaves.

Dwyer will help teach proper plant selection, paired with creative vertical structures, while minimizing their gardening efforts.

Please visit Mark Dwyer and the McLean County Master Gardeners at the Home, Lawn and Garden Day on March 7 at Central Catholic High School. This is the ideal gardening educational event to get inspiration for future garden projects, fall in love with must-have plants or learn the basics of everyday gardening. Register for the event at or call 309-663-8306. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please let us know.

The $50 program fee covers the keynote speaker, choice of three classes, morning refreshments, a buffet lunch and a dessert session with McLean County Master Gardeners.

Other classes include making palette furniture, new plants of 2015, miniature gardening, straw bale gardening, rain gardening, hostas, conifers, tropical plants, orchids, Sarah's Garden heirlooms from the David Davis Mansion, preserving a salsa garden, growing vegetables and herbs, creating a habitat for hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and making a teacup bird feeder.

Photos by Candice Miller at Rotary Botanical Garden