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Experience the Joys of Gardening

For those of us that enjoy plants and gardening, winter can seem long and boring. Cabin fever sets in while our mailboxes fill up with seed catalogs and our minds drift to plans for the coming growing season. If you are looking for a good excuse to get out of the house and be with other garden enthusiasts join the University of Illinois Extension at the 20th annual Joys of Gardening workshop.

Slated for Saturday, February 18, Joys of Gardening will be held at the Highland Community College Student Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport. The program will begin with registration at 8 a.m., keynote address at 8:25 a.m., and breakout sessions following the keynote. University of Illinois Extension and the Master Gardeners sponsor the Joys of Gardening workshop that is full of many different garden topics sure to please any plant enthusiast.

The Joys of Gardening Keynote Presentation "Flowering Shrubs for All Seasons" will be presented by David G. Stevens, Curator at Longnecker Horticultural Gardens at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. While often associated with spring, flowering shrubs can add color and interest throughout the growing season. David will highlight some of his favorite flowering shrubs from the U.W. Arboretum's extensive collection. Sure to be a crowd pleaser with lots of colorful pictures!

Following the keynote presentation will be a series of four breakout sessions. Each breakout session will include unique classes to choose from. Session one will include the following topics: The Art Of Pruning; Cooking With Fresh Produce; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme; and Bright, Beautiful Birdhouses. Session two topics include: Totally Tomatoes, Perfect Peppers; Propagation; Companion Planting: Flowers that are Best Friends; The Art of Fermentation; Going Native in Public: The Freeport Roundabout; and Make Mine a Hummingbird Garden. Session three topics are: Pruning the Old Apple Tree; Drought Tolerant Annuals and Perennials; Edible Flowers; Plan to Make Gardening Easier; and How to Attract and Feed Birds. The day will conclude with a single presentation in session four: Plantus Musthavus 2017, an overview of new and notable perennials for the upcoming season. Local professionals, Extension Staff and U of I Extension Master Gardeners present the classes in each session.

The day is full other fun activities for gardeners including the Master Gardener seed giveaway, a silent auction, garden magazine and seed catalog give away, and don't forget about networking with other fellow gardeners from the area. So consider attending Joys of Gardening to break out of those winter doldrums and enjoy learning something new! For more information about Joys of Gardening visit or call (815) 235-4125. The registration cost for the workshop is $25, which includes lunch. Registration deadline is February 10.