Ella Maxwell at A Day in the Garden Patch hosted by Livingston County Master Gardeners

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Ella Maxwell of Hoerr Nursery to Present at 'A Day in the Garden Patch'

Please join Ella Maxwell and the Livingston County Master Gardeners in welcoming spring with an educational workshop entitled 'A Day in the Garden Patch' from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 9 at the University of Illinois Extension Livingston County Office at 1412 South Locust Street in Pontiac. Past participants have said this is the best gardening event in Livingston County, so registration will fill up fast. A $20 registration fee will include morning refreshments, two stellar presentations and one hands-on workshop, where you will make your very own container of specialty annuals. To register, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/register/ or call (815) 842-1776. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact us.

Ella Maxwell from Hoerr Nursery in Peoria, will speak at this year's University of Illinois Extension Livingston County Master Gardeners 'A Day in the Garden Patch.' University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup says "Horticulturist and frequent guest on Mid-American Gardener and CI News Now, Ella will talk about some of the new must have plants of 2016."

Ella is a "hunter of the unusual," but prefers plants with versatility in where they grow. She is excited about the steady introductions of new and fascinating hydrangeas, new dwarf ninebarks, 'Little Devil' and 'Tiny Wine,' and a new series of potentilla. Previous ninebark cultivars grew very tall and became unmanageable in a smaller garden. The new compact versions allow gardeners to have the beauty of the purple foliage and white flowers with little maintenance for this drought tolerant plant. Potentilla has bright yellow flowers in early summer and stays tidy and compact. Ella feels both ninebark and potentilla should be used more by gardeners.

Ella says "YouTube is an extensive resource for anyone looking to learn more about gardening." She has noticed the biggest new garden trend is edibles like fruit trees, berries, vegetables, and herbs. Homeowners are buying more compact miniature plants. More customers are using plants to dress up the curb appeal of their homes during holidays, like Halloween and Thanksgiving.

When asked what trends were falling out of favor, she mentioned water gardening and gimmicky items like the infamous topsy turvy tomato planter that hangs the tomato plant perilously upside down leaving very little room for root growth, and limits production of fruits.

She advises homeowners buying new trees to replace their dying ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer infestation with a diversity of trees outside of oak and maple. She encourages homeowners to plant beeches, hophornbeams, dogwoods, serviceberries, gingko and honey locust.

Her greatest gardening hack for all is to amend your soil before you plant. This is one of the greatest reasons plants fail in the landscape.

'A Day in the Garden Patch' is all about inspiring, educating and encouraging gardeners, whether they have a balcony and a sunny window or an acre to grow. This educational event is for all who love plants and want to discover new gardening tips while having fun. Also presenting will be Master Gardeners Dee Woodburn and Sheri King, focusing on starting a native plant garden and Master Gardener Dawn Baker will lead the container making party.

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