Gardening in the Air

Gardening in the Air is a virtual nine-session series held seasonally and co-hosted by University of Illinois Extension and Iowa State University Extension. Experts from both institutions will present on a variety of timely gardening topics about fall gardening activities, pollinators, vegetables and herbs, and trees.

Sessions will be hosted on Zoom at with three sessions each at 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. CDT. Participants may register for a single session or the entire series. Sessions are free to attend, but a donation is appreciated. Access links and handouts will be provided upon registration.

February 5: Wildlife, Houseplants, Spring Trends

Register Online 

If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate, or for more information, contact Bruce Black at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for the requested accommodation. Some programs will be recorded. If recorded, closed captioning for requested programs will be honored after the event.


9-10 AM CDT

Native Shrubs and Wildlife Benefits

Kevin Rohling, University of Illinois Extension

This presentation will review a number of characteristics of desirable native shrubs, their site preferences, and their relative importance compared to non-native species for enhancing wildlife value. Several species of native shrubs and small trees and their use by insects, birds, and other wildlife will be discussed along with non-native invasive species to avoid or remove. 

10:15 - 11:15 AM CDT

Move beyond the lawn!  Small scale prairie restorations for pollinators and other wildlife

Chris Evans, University of Illinois Extension

Prairie restorations, both large and small, can greatly benefit wildlife, particularly insects and birds. Replacing lawn or adding in prairie plantings in flower beds, field edges, fence rows, grassed waterways or other areas is an easy way to enhance the wildlife habitat value of a parcel of land and can be an option for any landowner, even those with small parcels in residential areas. This presentation will discuss the processes and benefits of small-scale prairie restoration and highlight personal experiences of establishing and managing prairies.


11:30 AM - 12:30 PM CDT

Taking Action for Native Bees

Amy Loving, Director of Education at Nahant Marsh Education Center

Did you know that North America is home to over 4,000 species of bees? In this presentation, we will explore the world of wild bees their life cycles, nesting habits, and basic identification. Along with how you can take action to help protect them. 

9-10 AM CDT

Plant Propagation Techniques for the Home: Indoors and Out

Grant Thompson, Iowa State University Extension.

Propagating plants is a fun and rewarding experience that can also seem daunting to the uninitiated. We will demonstrate a few common propagation techniques for many common house plants, herbaceous perennials, trees, and shrubs. The presentation will focus on how the plant (re)grows to direct the propagation technique and after care rather than species-specific recommendations to build a more holistic understanding of propagation from the plant’s perspective. 


10:15 - 11:15 AM CDT

Diagnosing Indoor Plant Problems: Troubleshooting Common Issues with Houseplants

Aaron Steil, Iowa State University Extension

Growing indoors plants is a rewarding hobby that yields beautiful results. But when houseplants are not looking so beautiful and problems arise with your indoor plants, it can be difficult to determine what to do to fix the problem. Learn more about how to diagnose common problems indoor gardeners face and what you can do to fix them and get back to growing beautiful plants! 


11:30 AM - 12:30 PM CDT

Kokedama String Gardening

Candice Hart, University of Illinois Extension

String Gardening is a term that has become attached to a style of Japanese bonsai known as Kokedama, which literally means “moss ball” in English. To create these “moss balls”, a plant is taken out of its pot, most of its soil removed, and is inserted into a ball of soil, wrapped in moss which is then held together with string, and hung from decorative string. Learn from Extension State Master Gardener Specialist, Candice Hart, the history of these interesting plantings, the exact process of making a string garden, and the specific care instructions. Participants will be sent a list of materials upon registration if they would like to build their own Kokedama during the class. 

9-10 AM CDT

Trees that Pop in the Spring!

Emily Swihart, University of Illinois Extension 

Spring is such an exciting time in the garden. Bulbs are emerging, birds are singing, and everything is coming to life again. Join us as we pause a minute to look up into the trees. These pillars of our landscape are also enjoying a reawakening in spring. Together, we will explore the subtle and not so subtle ways trees can add interest and excitement to our spring landscape. 


10:15-11:15 AM CDT

Tree Pruning Tips

Kelly Allsup, University of Illinois Extension

Many say the worst and best thing for a tree in an urban environment is pruning. The worst is derived from improper pruning practices. Topped trees to stubbed branches cause the tree to grow weak branches and create a potential avenue for insect and disease issues. Proper pruning allows good structural growth, protection from wind and reduces the risk of tree failure. With this class, explore simple pruning tips you can implement this winter to lengthen the life your tree. Show some love by making the right cut! 


11:30 AM - 12:30 PM CDT

2022 Cool Kid in the Garden

Martha Smith, University of Illinois Extension

Every year there are always new plants to try out. From Perennials to annuals to shrubs, let Martha Smith, retired Horticulture Educator, University of Illinois Extension, share her soon to be favorites! USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 6 will be presented.