The Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association Inc. will present a symposium, “How’s It Growing? 2020 Gardening Visions,” on Saturday April 4, with the aim to help gardeners use earth-friendly practices.
“Our vision is that we will have beautiful gardens and landscapes and bountiful vegetable gardens, while living in harmony with nature and promoting the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems,” said Master Gardener Toi T. Graham, who assists with the event.
The symposium will take place at Holyoke High School, 500 Beech St. Doors open Saturday April 4, at 8 a.m. for those who pre-registered to pick up materials and for late registrations. The symposium workshops will take place from 8:40 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Purpose of the symposium is to educate the public in good and sustainable gardening practices and to share Master Gardeners’ knowledge and expertise with the community.
The 18 gardening workshops cover diverse topics from planting flowers, bulbs, trees and shrubs to enhance the beauty and biodiversity in the garden, to ideas about making landscapes and home gardens more edible, including a session on cultivating mushrooms and space-saving vegetable gardening.
Practical “how-to” sessions will help participants learn how to prune, design perennial beds, create container gardens, select a healthy tree or shrub from the nursery or create “super soils.” There are workshops on understanding and dealing with good and bad bugs, good
and bad weeds, dealing with climate change and its impact on gardening in Western Massachusetts and how to create a low maintenance lawn.
“Each year we try to select a range of workshops to cater to gardeners from beginner to experienced. We try to choose topics of interest to vegetable gardeners and to flower gardeners,” Graham said, noting that several new topics (mushrooming, the design workshops, and adding fruits and vegetables to the landscape) are a result of feedback last year’s attendees.
Presenters are local experts with a depth and breadth of knowledge and practical experience. They include incorporate Master Gardeners, horticulturists, a retired director of the Berkshire Botanical Gardens, garden and landscape designers and university experts.
Because of The Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association’s educational mission being to promote good and sustainable gardening practices, “the topic of climate change must be a part of our workshops,” Graham said.
Evelyn Beaury, a University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate student, will address global
warming specifically in her workshop, “Moving from Zone 5 to Zone 6: Climate Change and the Gardener.” This workshop specifically addresses the fact that this area has been reclassified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as Zone 6 (minimum winter temperature of 0 to minus 10
degrees) rather than Zone 5 (minus 10 to minus 20 degrees). “Our winter temperatures are warmer, and our growing season is now longer, all of which seems wonderful,” Graham said. “But with the good comes the bad: New invasive species that can winter over and create mayhem in our gardens.”
This workshop will address the use of native plants to help with the transition.
The subject of climate change and its impact on gardening is part of other workshops too. For example, sessions on designing flower beds that thrive in our changing climate, choosing flowering bulbs, vegetables and shrubs that can thrive in Zone 6 and becoming aware of
invasive plants and insects that may now be a problem.
Master Gardener Larri L. Cochran will teach a workshop on how to design a home garden that supports pollinators, thrives in a changing climate and is reasonably priced and a workshop
on adapting existing gardens to become more pollinator friendly, resilient and aesthetically pleasing throughout the year.
This year the symposium will offer new and used books and garden-related items for
sale. There will be a raffle of garden items including a selection of Hypertufa planters made by Master Gardeners.
There also will be an opportunity for pH soil testing for a suggested $2 donation.
During breaks and lunch, participants may browse among the vendors with their local offerings or stop by our Master Gardener Booth to ask question.
Registration through March 20 is $35. Registration from March 21-27 is $40. A box lunch is available for $6 for those registering by March 27.
Walk-in registration on April 4 is $45, and the boxed lunch is not available.
To register and for more information, go to WMMGA.org. Click on the home page
link. There will be information about three different symposia: March 21 in South Deerfield; March 28 in Lenox and April 4 in Holyoke; each has different workshop offerings.
“Each year the three WMMGA Spring Gardening Symposia focus on the most current gardening topics and bring in leading speakers on those topics. All our symposia are geared towards home gardeners and we work to ensure that the workshops, presentations and classes have relevant information for gardeners of all levels,” said Cochran, president of WMMGA. Our symposia are places where gardeners can learn/ask questions to further their knowledge on topics they’re somewhat familiar with, begin to learn about things in the horticulture world which are new to them and mingle with other gardeners — all in one information-packed day.”
Event: “How’s It Growing? 2020 Gardening Visions” symposium
When: Saturday April 4, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Holyoke High School
Cost: $35 through March 20
For more info: Visit WMMGA.org
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