Home, Lawn and Garden Day 2016 hosted by McLean County Master Gardeners

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Home, Lawn and Garden Day

The 14th annual University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardener Home, Lawn and Garden Day will be hosted at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington, Illinois on Saturday, March 5. It is an all-day gardening extravaganza in which attendees get inspired, visit local vendors and interact with other knowledge seekers. Attendees will attend the keynote session, three breakout sessions, one mini-session with a Master Gardener, and breakfast and lunch for a $50 registration fee. Registration is open until February 26 and classes fill up fast. For registration please visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw or stop by the McLean County Extension office at 1615 Commerce Parkway, Bloomington for more details. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program or have further questions please contact Brittnay Haag at the Extension office at (309) 663-8306.

Just a few classes highlighted at this year's event includes Herbal Tea Gardens by McLean County Master Gardener Diane Boeck; String Ball Gardening by Mary Leach from the Peoria Orchid Society; and Seven Steps to Set Up Your Home Landscape Design by Patrick Murphy, Horticulturist and Curator of the Fell Arboretum at Illinois State University. Dr. Lesley Deem from the University of Illinois Pollinatarium will talk about plants to include in the garden for larvae and adult butterflies.

Amanda Thomsen is one of the most popular garden bloggers of our generation. The name of the blog is "Kiss My Aster;" an eye brow-raising name for a woman loved by gardeners young and old. She writes for the popular trade journal, Greenhouse Grower, and is often highlighted in Fine Gardening magazine. Her mission, according to the editors, is to "youngify" the content.

"She's unassuming. She's loud. She's somewhat inappropriate, that is if you were thinking you were going to get gardening advice from your grandma. She describes herself as a grade below Martha Stewart and uses common sense to distill her gardening woes," states University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup. This year she brings her garden philosophies and easy to apply gardening hacks to the 14th annual Home, Lawn and Garden Day hosted by the University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners. Her keynote presentation is entitled "150 Ways to Create a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You." Attendees will be inspired and ready to take on the gardening season.

Amanda Thomsen, garden blogger and author, has gained popularity with her laid back approach to writing how she would talk to her best friend. She doesn't pretend to have the perfect garden and has no intention to do so. She describes gardening and personal expression and baulks at the idea of a pristine garden. She embraces the garden tasks as a form of anger management and the need to pass on the love of Mother Nature to her 4 year old daughter.

Growing up in a family that idealized Jim Crockett's Victory Garden ideals, she became a garden blogger when there weren't blogs about gardening, first writing about her experiences as a garden center employee. She does not boast accolades but only describes it as "hot fudge" on top of a need to write about all things gardening. Her favorite plant is 'Black Lace' elderberry and she is obsessed with dahlias. Her best gardening hack is to exchange the wheel barrel for a large versatile tarp.

She has gained even more popularity with her memes. She describes memes as short, memorable, free, funny and a terrific way to reach out to more generations. They are quotes superimposed on top of pictures that are easily shared on social media. One such meme shows a baby shaking his fist with a sour face with the quote "every time I see a Bradford pear snapped in half by the wind." Horticulturists know Bradford pears have notorious weak branch angles that are unable to stand up to the winter weather of Illinois leaving us to sympathize with the homeowners that planted them.

The ever popular Shane Cultra from County Arbors Nursery in Urbana will open the day focusing on "New and Exciting Plants for 2016." Shane is known for his charismatic presentations, super star amongst the Master Gardeners and will sure to have you running to the garden centers to buy the hot new plants for the year.

For more information please contact Kelly Allsup, Extension unit educator, Horticulture-Livingston, McLean and Woodford Unit at (309) 663-8306, or email Kelly at kallsup@illinois.edu.