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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

2018 Home, Lawn & Garden Day welcomes Gold Standard Perennials

2018 Home, Lawn & Garden Day welcomes Gold Standard Perennials
McLean County Master Gardeners welcome Susan Martin, as their keynote speaker for their 2018 Home, Lawn, and Garden Day. Susan receives accolades as a freelance writer, with features in Garden Gate Magazine, Michigan Gardening, Wisconsin Gardening, Minnesota Gardener and Iowa Gardener magazines; but is best known for her ability to educate growers and gardeners about perennials.
There is still time to save your spot for her keynote entitled "Gold-Standard Perennials," at this year's event on Saturday, March 3 at Central Catholic High School.Join us to hear why these perennials "stand head and shoulders above the rest and never have a bad day in the garden." She will explain why they might be more resistant to diseases, have a nicer shape, be more floriferous or flower for longer periods. Her latest plant obsession is the Winter Thriller series Helleborus commonly known as Lenten Rose. She raves over this plant because it is one of the first perennials to bloom (possibly breaking through a layer of snow!), it's evergreen, deer resistant, and the flowers keep their color for a long time.
Susan finds her gold standards at trial gardens and gets new ideas for perennial plant combinations at botanical gardens. She encourages gardeners to peruse their local demonstration spots. Central Illinois has few in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, and Peoria and they are a must-visit for garden selections and design.Susan is also inspired by the New Perennial Movement; a naturalistic approach that considers how the plants relate to each other as a community and using tough and durable plants like mountain mint, 'Solar Cascade' goldenrod and Joe Pye Weed. In this approach, perennials and grasses are planted in drifts and in managed prairies similar to how they would grow in nature.
Susan relates to the gardeners in her writings and teachings because she is a lifelong gardener herself. She offers tips to gardeners when buying plants not buy diseased plants, even if they are cheap or on sale.
Do not waste your money on poorly grown plants. Even plants with the best genetics will struggle once they are over-stressed.
Do research before going into a garden center. Everything looks good during the growing season in a greenhouse, but learn what varieties will grow best in your garden during the dog days of summer.
If the garden centers do not have the plants you want, ask for them by name. Their aim is to please their customers.
Looking for a fully formed root ball that has healthy white roots and is not root bound. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, ask the growers for assistance.
Learn which gold standard perennials are on Susan Martin's must-have list for gardeners by saving your seat at this year's event. Spots are filling up and your final day to register is Thursday, February 22.Help us welcome spring with a variety of gardening presentations from local experts and experienced master gardeners!
Home, Lawn & Garden Day's $50 registration includes:· Keynote Session with Susan Martin, horticultural marketer, writer, speaker, and consultant· Morning Session with Illinois Master Gardener Coordinator, Sandy Mason· Lunch Session with Ella Maxwell, horticulturist at Hoerr Nursery, on what is new at the garden center for 2018·
Three additional workshops of your choice· Lunch· Vendors, exhibitors, and door prizes· Silent auction to benefit local Master Gardener projects
Registration is required online at or by contacting us at the McLean County Extension Office at (309) 663-8306.
For more information on this program or additional Extension programming, please contact us at your local Extension office. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Kelly Allsup at (309) 663-8306 or
Photo of Susan Martin and her garden highlighting goat's beard and citronella
Photo of Helleborus Winter Thriller Series from Walter Gardens