Ginny Hodgson from Ball Horticulture to Speak at Gardener's Gathering

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Please join Ginny Hodgson and the University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardeners at the "Gardeners' Gathering" from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 16 at the Great Oaks Community Church, located at 515 Rt. IL-116 in Germantown Hills. Past participants have said this is the best gardening event in Woodford County, so registration will fill up quickly. A $20 registration fee will include morning refreshments, two stellar presentations, one hands-on workshop where you will make your very own container of unique succulents. Please register at or call (309) 467-3789. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact our office.

Ginny Hodgson, from Ball Horticultural Company will speak at this year's University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardener "Gardeners' Gathering: Sharing a Garden Secret." University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup says "Sales representative for the largest plant breeder and developer in the United States, former garden center manager and continuous learner of all things horticulture, Ginny will give insight to the next generation of favorite plants and planter combinations that are sure to make your mama proud."

Ball Horticultural Company is responsible for developing gardening favorites like wave petunias, dragon wing begonias, gerbera daisies and Burpee vegetables. They also give back to the community as part of their commitment to education. Ginny is excited about their upcoming introduction of 'Night Sky' petunia that boasts dark blue-purple blooms with white blotches. She says the white blotches (stars) will get smaller in the heat and larger when it is cooler. This is fitting name because the night sky changes, too.

The biggest new trend that she sees is gardening with succulents in the urban environment. She also says new, more interesting plants are replacing the old standbys of dracaena spike and vinca vine. The new gardener will not be limited to the "thriller," "filler" and "spiller" rule of designing containers and will have many more options.

Ginny's best advice to new gardeners is to buy in bulk. She says "less variety and more of each type of plant, draws the eye and has a greater impact." Her best gardening hack is to use 10 inch baskets to create instant gratification in a container design. If you must separate the basket, use a knife to cut rather than pull apart. Pulling apart the roots puts the plant through stress and causes them to grow slower and present plant damage.

Ginny encourages experimentation and says, "You are not a real gardener until you kill a few plants, so never give up!"

"Gardeners' Gathering: Sharing a Growing Secret" 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 hacks and tips while having fun. In addition to Ginny, Woodford Master Gardener, Mary Niemi, will present on shade gardening and Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup will lead a succulent 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