U of I Extension to host McHenry County Gardenfest April 10
Earn your green thumb while in pajamas at the virtual 2021 McHenry County Gardenfest, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 10, via Zoom. You will learn about new garden trends, plants and techniques at this half-day-long series of garden seminars.
Gardenfest has been hosted by the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners in person for more than 20 years, and this year it will be conducted virtually.
A keynote speaker kicks off the seminar at 9 a.m., followed by six breakout sessions presented by industry experts, U of I Extension Master Gardeners and extension educators.
"We are excited to bring Gardenfest to a virtual platform this year," said Suzanne Morrissey, co-chairman of the Gardenfest committee. "Attendees will have the opportunity to watch the keynote speaker plus two classes as live online sessions, but then attendees will have access to the recordings of all six sessions for a limited time."
The morning keynote speaker will be Diane Blazek, executive director of the National Garden Bureau and All-America Selections, based in Downers Grove, Illinois. Blazek will present "Inspiring Plant Varieties for Your Future Garden," which will touch on the National Garden Bureau's "Year Of" program, as well as some of the innovative breeding that NGB members are working on. She also will have fun facts about past, present and future gardens.
The six 2021 Gardenfest topics will be:
• "Hydroponics at McHenry County College" by Rich Tobiasz. He will present an overview of MCC uses of hydroponics as a soilless method of growing plants, and finish the session with a tour of the MCC hydroponics area. Tobiasz is an adjunct faculty at McHenry County College where he teaches both horticulture and agriculture courses.
• "Long-Blooming Perennials" by Kim Hartmann. Learn how to select perennial plants that have a long-bloom time and partner well together. Hartmann will share combination and design ideas to create a long progression of bloom in your perennial landscape. Create a visually striking and harmonious look for your garden using color, texture, height, and bloom! She is a landscape designer who has been with Countryside for 14 years.
• "Growing Your Own Bouquets" by Liz Cardella. Find out what makes a great cut flower and the annual and perennial varieties that are most productive. Learn how to make your cut flowers last longer with proper harvesting and post harvest care. Topics covered are: when to plant, seed starting, bed prep and maintenance, mulch and plant support, harvesting, deadheading and post harvest care for long-lasting blooms. Cardella is the owner/grower at Collie Flower Farm, a 4-acre cut flower farm located in historic Woodstock.
• "Native Plants: Beauty and Benefits" by Carol Rice and Kris Hall. Learn about the value of native plants for the environment and wildlife. Emphasis will be on the role that homeowners can play in providing native habitat, as the populations of pollinators, birds, and other wildlife have declined seriously in recent years. Rice has been active with the Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee for over 30 years. Hall, a retired teacher, is manager of WPPC's mentoring program, A Natural Garden in Your Yard.
• "Landscaping for Birds" by Lisa Maier. The vice president of McHenry County Audubon will discuss using natives to support the primary needs of birds; food, shelter, and nesting as well as other tips you can implement in your yard to attract and help birds thrive.
• "Community Composting" by Sarah Farley and Amy DeLorenzo. In this session, they will discuss the issue of food scrap composting and explore collective solutions. The session will include an overview of compost fundamentals, principles, and models of community composting. Participants will engage in small group discussions and leave with resources and ideas on how to implement composting in their community. Farley serves as the Local Food Systems and Small Farms Extension Educator in Lake and McHenry Counties. DeLorenzo is an Extension Educator located at the Discovery Partners Institute in downtown Chicago.
Attendees will choose to watch two of these six classes live online. Then after the seminars have ended, attendees will have access to the recordings of all six sessions for a limited time.
Registrants will receive instructions for using Zoom after they register; the active Zoom link will be emailed the day before, April 9.
Registration for Gardenfest is available at extension.illinois.edu/events/2021-04-10-virtual-2021-gardenfest.
The registration cost is $20, payable via credit card. Space is limited to 150, so register early. The registration deadline is April 4 or until capacity is reached. No refunds will be given.
Several local vendors, who have supported U of I Extension Master Gardeners in the past, will offer their wares and services through websites and online contact information.
Visit the vendors at extension.illinois.edu.
For more information, email Brenda Dahlfors at email@example.com or call the U of I Extension McHenry County office at (815) 338-3737.