The landscape is drab and we impatiently await the first tulip. But hang in there, because the University of Illinois Extension Garden Day Workshop and Spring Festival is right around the corner! For over a decade, local gardeners have celebrated the arrival of spring by attending this yearly event. Garden Day features everything plant lovers enjoy: speakers who entertain and educate, a wide variety of vendors to shop, a delicious made-from-scratch lunch, a silent auction, door prizes and a raffle room. It is a great way to shake off the winter doldrums and get inspiration for this year's garden.
Vermilion County Master Gardeners will hold this year's event on Saturday, March 11, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at DACC in Danville, IL. The doors open at 8 a.m. and the public is welcome to start shopping at the multitude of vendors and visit the raffle room. If you wish to listen to the speakers, enjoy the tasty lunch prepared by the DACC Culinary Arts School and receive a bag filled with garden information and goodies, the price is $25. It should be noted that this event has sold out the last several years with no room for walk-ins.
The first program will be 'Garden Trends' with DACC Horticulture Educator, Amanda Krabbe. Scatter gardens for the lazy gardener; underused edibles like immature sweet corn, carrot tops, radish pods and squash blossoms;and micro greens—What do all these things have in common? They are current garden trends that will be discussed in Amanda Krabbe's thought-provoking presentation. There will be micro greens to taste after her presentation.
The second program, '8 months of Color in the Garden,' will have you dreaming of beautiful blooms with Vermilion County Master Gardener Pat Sollars. Sollars has been gardening since she was a child. She has been featured on numerous Garden Walks, holds her own annual plant sale and heads the Master Gardener speaker's bureau. Pat also collects perennials with over 300 different types in her Danville garden. She will share how to achieve long-lasting color in the garden by using shrubs, trees, annuals, bulbs and of course perennials, providing you with gorgeous blooms from early spring through late autumn.
The Keynote speaker is the popular author Doug Tallamy, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware-Newark. Tallamy has been called the 'guru of the habitat gardening movement'.
Tallamy has said, "We can no longer view plants only as ornaments but must consider all of their roles when selecting them for our landscapes." Many homeowners are concerned that natives are prone to insect damage, messy, unattractive and cannot be used formally. Tallamy will dispel these misconceptions and suggest ways to make your property a showpiece without losing its ecological function in the local ecosystem.
Think, as Tallamy does, about having something blooming every week from early spring through late autumn so birds and pollinators have a steady diet. This will create a living space that works with nature providing a healthy and therapeutic environment for both homeowner and wildlife.
Doug has said planting a garden is not merely outdoor decorating. "Plants do so many things, and if we only look at what they look like—if we only look at their decorative value—then we're ignoring all those wonderful things they do, and we actually pay a heavy price for that."
To reserve your spot in this annual event, stop by the Vermilion County Extension office at 3164 N Vermilion in Danville to pay by cash or check. You may wait and pay $30 at the door, but space is limited and in recent years Garden Day sold out before the big day with no room for walk-ins.
To pay by credit card, visit the website go.illinois.edu/GardenDay. We can only accept credit card payments online.
Profits are used to fund and maintain Master Gardener educational programs and community projects in Vermilion County. If you have questions, call the University of Illinois Extension office at 217.442.8615 and ask for Jenney Hanrahan.
University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodations to participate call 217.442.8615.
University of Illinois * U.S. Dept. of Agriculture * Local Extension Councils Cooperating