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posted: 2/3/2014 2:17 PM

Learn how to use native plants on your own property

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  • Roy Diblik, who has been growing native grasses and flowers from seed since the late 1970s, will be one of the speakers at Garfield Farm Museum's Prairie, Woodlands and Wetlands Managmenet Seminar, set for Saturday, Feb. 22.

      Roy Diblik, who has been growing native grasses and flowers from seed since the late 1970s, will be one of the speakers at Garfield Farm Museum's Prairie, Woodlands and Wetlands Managmenet Seminar, set for Saturday, Feb. 22.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Learn how to help native plants thrive at an upcoming land management seminar at Garfield Farm Museum.

      Learn how to help native plants thrive at an upcoming land management seminar at Garfield Farm Museum.
    Courtesy Midwest Groundcovers LLC

  • Jerome Johnson, executive director of Garfield Farm Museum, will share his knowledge at the museum's Prairie, Woodlands and Wetlands Managmenet Seminar, set for Saturday, Feb. 22.

      Jerome Johnson, executive director of Garfield Farm Museum, will share his knowledge at the museum's Prairie, Woodlands and Wetlands Managmenet Seminar, set for Saturday, Feb. 22.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
Submitted by Garfield Farm Museum

Reservations for Garfield Farm Museum's 29th annual Prairie, Woodlands, and Wetlands Management Seminar, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, are now being taken.

From backyard gardeners, homeowner associations to owners of natural area acreage, this seminar covers all the key methods and techniques of preserving and using the best adapted plants for the Illinois environment. Experts Roy Diblik, Conner Shaw and Jerome Johnson will help explain the best techniques and methods to increase and maintain native plant communities. There is a $55 donation for the all-day seminar, which includes lunch and refreshments. Half-day attendance without lunch is $25.

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The day's outline will consist of researching property history, identifying native plants, identifying invasive species and the use of fire, herbicides, cutting and brush-stacking equipment. Special topics include using native species with ornamental plants and the use of native trees and shrubs in home landscaping.

With the extreme ranges in weather over the last dozen years, only native plants have the genetic ability to deal with such fluctuations. Deep roots, delayed germination or growth, drought and flood tolerance, can be just some of the defenses against an uncertain environment. This is where the 100 years plus collective experiences of the seminar's speakers will help guide property owners in selecting plants that are genetically programmed to withstand climatic extremes.

The long-term picture is problematic, but Conner Shaw knows what trees and shrubs can thrive here and provide a food source for animals. Shaw is one of the few people who collects seed from the wild and can grow native Illinois trees and shrubs like few others. Since 1978, his Possibilities Place Nursery in Monee is one-of-a-kind. For homeowners in town who want just the right tree for their backyard, Shaw knows what will grow in such suburban conditions. For larger properties, his combinations of native shrubs like the viburnums and deciduous oaks or Kentucky coffee trees makes one's landscaping truly grand scale.

Roy Diblik, who has been growing native grasses and flowers from seed since the late 1970s, knows how critical soil preparation and mechanical or chemical control of "weeds" are when he installs more formal landscape plantings be it public parks or palatial estates. From Northwind Perennial Farm in Springfield, WI, Diblik has consulted and supplied plants for around the country and has published a book "Small Perennial Gardens: The Know Maintenance Approach." His approach is to cut down on the amount of unnecessary maintenance and minimize the use of water.

For property owners who are looking to turn the backyard into a natural area to large acreage owners, Johnson will bring his 30 years of experience to the table. Jerome Johnson, executive director and museum biologist grew up walking the fields, woods, and streams around Garfield Farm. Recalling woods full of spring flowers, little did he realize how rare such features would become with habitat loss, invasive plants, and over grazing by deer which were once rarely seen. Housing developments certainly caused loss but without management, Johnson quickly learned at Garfield Farm, its prairie and woods were struggling to survive.

This seminar has both a history and method unlike any others. It offers information that can be directly taken to the field and put in place. Participants are welcome to return in March to gain hands on experience in the museum's controlled burns.

Garfield Farm Museum is five miles west of Geneva, off Route 38 on Garfield Road. For reservations, call (630) 584-8485 or email info@garfieldfarm.org.

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