In an unsettling time in the world, horticulturalist Chuck Levine said the home can be an individual's refuge of peace, especially in the garden.
Levine is the keynote speaker for the second annual Garden Expo from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 5 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.
"I really think -- especially at times like this -- we have to have a place to have our inner peace and that's what a garden can provide," Levine said.
Gardeners can create a little bit of paradise in their own back yards, Levine said, adding the effort can be good physically and emotionally.
Geraniums are perennially popular garden flowers that provide color all summer long. Many shades offer gardeners great variety. Plants work well in garden beds and containers. Garden landscapes and designs will be part of the discussion at the Garden Expo April 5 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.
"We need a positive healthy diversion," he said. "... We are going to do everything we can in our own little bit to make the world a beautiful place; if we have to start from our own back yard or our own deck, that's where we have to do it."
There are many things individuals cannot control, Levine said. But he said planting trees and wildflowers, encouraging natural vegetation in ditches versus mowing for roadside habitat and cost savings and creating garden retreats can help create a natural balance.
"I think people are going to be happy to have this kind of diversion," Levine said.
He said people are going to be spending more time at home, so they can create their own outdoor living spaces.
The Garden Expo is set from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 5 at Central Lakes College. The expo will include displays and exhibits by area organizations and garden clubs, lunch and classes on popular garden topics presented by Minnesota master gardeners. Registration is limited. The registration fee is $25 with a deadline of Wednesday. The second annual Garden Expo will start with keynote speaker Chuck Levine, a horticulturist.
The garden program provides an opportunity to become well versed on gardens, specifically in this growing climate.
"Many plants will not work well so it really helps to hand select what is going to be appropriate," Levine said.
Levine's keynote speech is called "Garden Reflections." He said the talk is a virtual field trip through his garden during various seasons. He will show attendees new and interesting plants they might try to work into their own places.
Levine is an award-winning professional horticulturist and teacher of horticulture and botany. He is the garden "answer man" at the Minnesota State Horticultural Society where he also serves on the board of directors and executive committee.
He recently edited the Minnesota Gardener's Guide and Month-By-Month Gardening in Minnesota. He has worked as a horticulture specialist for the Chicago Botanical Garden and the Minnesota Extension Service. He has a master's degree in horticulture education from the University of Minnesota. He has developed and implemented a curriculum on vocational plant production for the Hennepin Country Corrections Facility in Plymouth.
The Central Minnesota Master Gardener's "Ready, Set, Grow" Garden Expo is co-sponsored by the Crow Wing and Cass County master gardeners and Brainerd Community Education.
University of Minnesota master gardeners will host and teach classes during the expo. Levine will stay after his presentation if individuals want to talk and he will autograph garden books he worked on.
Garden Expo topics listed
The first Garden Expo was last year at Brainerd High School and nearly 150 people attended. Master gardeners were able to donate $500 to the Northland Arboretum from expo proceeds. Moving the event to Central Lakes College this year will allow the expo to have up to 200 attendees. Proceeds will be used to support community organizations.
Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. April 5 with a drawing for gifts donated by area merchants, followed from 9:30 to 11 a.m. by the keynote speaker, Chuck Levine. A gourmet lunch will be served and information booths and exhibits will be available for participants to visit.
Master gardeners will man the "Ask the Master Gardener" booth all day. During the afternoon participants will choose two breakout sessions from those being offered.
Topics include -- Wild Flower Gardens, Gardening for the Physically Challenged, Wild Mushroom Identification, Vegetable Gardening and Container Gardening.
There will be time for questions, prize drawings and to visit exhibits.
Breakout sessions include:
* Vegetable Gardening-Why, Where, How -- presented by Gay Swecker, Cass County master gardener. Touching on everything from "Why" (pleasure, exercise, food) "Where" (pots, plots, sand, clay) to "How" (starting seeds, mulching) with comments and questions from the audience.
Swecker lives on a dairy farm in Cass County, where she and her husband raised seven children. She has taught gardening classes for the Council on Aging and 4-H leader training and she acts as a 4-H conference judge in horticulture at the Pillager and Motley fairs.
* Gardening for the Physically Challenged -- presented by Orv Hastad, Crow Wing County master gardener. This class will provide information and techniques for the gardener who is interested, but physically unable to garden via traditional methods.
Alternative methods to eliminate the bending and kneeling will be discussed. Hastad was a popular speaker at the 2002 Garden Expo with his Garbage to Gold composting program. He has been involved in the master gardener organization since 2000. He especially enjoys herbs and vegetables in his Merrifield plot.
* Wild Mushrooms in Minnesota -- presented by David Moe, Cass County master gardener, will teach the what, when and where of identifying, gathering and safely preparing Minnesota's native mushrooms. Moe is a member of the Minnesota Mycological Society, a Cass County lakeshore volunteer/specialist and a past member of the Native Plant Society. He conducts wildflower and nature walks and wild mushroom forays.
* Cultivating Wildflowers in the Garden -- presented by Jane Kimball, Crow Wing County master gardener intern. Kimball is a graduate of the landscape technology program of Brainerd Technical Institute and is a certified professional with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. The wildflower program will have two parts: how to create a wildflower meadow with video and planting woodland wildflowers with slides.
Expo organizers plan to retain 25 percent of the profits for the master gardener program and to donate the other 75 percent to various area charities.
For more information on the master gardener program go online at www.mg.umn.edu.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.