Large Crowd At Extension’s Spring Fling

(LtoR) Washington County Master Gardeners Leora McTall Jan Endres Marlene Kahre Will Summers Shelby Claypool Linda Summers and Janet Klie_

Local gardeners joined Extension Master Gardeners and Naturalists for a daylong educational event to kick off the spring season. Over 80 attendees filled the Hoffman Community room to learn the latest research based information on gardening

Master Gardener/Naturalist Kathy Kingsley and Sarah Lee teamed up to share information about ‘Living with Japanese Beetles’. The program covered basic information on Japanese Beetles including how to identify them at all stages of their lives. Understanding the life cycle of an insect provides more opportunities to control them before they become adults.

Bill Ruppert, from National Nursery Products presented ‘Using Native Plants in a Designed Landscape’. Attendees learned basic design principles and selecting native plants to create a neat and tidy landscape. Ruppert has volunteered in numerous projects in and around his hometown of Kirkwood Missouri and shared step-by-step guidance how he created beautiful landscapes using native plants that meet the needs of the community.

New garden ideas introduce ways to create interesting landscapes for the home. University of Illinois Educator, Austin Little provided us with many ways to create landscapes that are also functional. Little provided a detailed list of edible plants that will add color and texture to our existing landscapes that also provide a bonus of nutritious foods to add to our daily meals.

Mike DeVilbiss discussing fertilization in the hydroponic system display he built
Kathy Kingsley studying one of the informational displays available at Spring Fling
Keynote speaker Bill Rupper and CCo MG Carla Haselhorst

To extend the hobby of gardening, Extension Educator Laurie George presented a program on ‘Hydroponics at Home’. George shared information on numerous types of hydroponics systems; many that can be adapted for home hobbyists. Mike DeVilbiss, a friend of the Master Gardener program had a functional hydroponic garden display as an example of what a few items from the hardware store can create. The small garden was planted with Lettuce and kale.

Unit 23 volunteer Master Gardeners and Naturalists from Bond, Clinton, Marion, Jefferson and Washington Counties created displays to extend the educational reach of the program. Displays included Identifying Garden Birds, Companion Planting, Community Gardens, Prairie/Pollinator Gardens, Seed Saving and Edible Plants.

The program included a pleasant lunch and many door Prizes. Information on becoming a Master Gardener can be obtained by calling 618-526-4551 to speak with Program Coordinator Gail DeVilbiss.

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