I have seen my first robin and I have a nice little patch of snowdrops near my garden door. But my mountain top, zone 4 garden is at the moment under about 6 inches of icy snow. Since outdoor gardening is not going to be possible for a few weeks I am looking forward to Saturday, April 13, the "Come Grow With Us" gardening workshop sponsored by the Penn State Master Gardeners of Warren County.
The symposium will be held at Allegheny Community Center, 42 Clark St., Warren. Cost of $30 will include a catered lunch).
Speakers for the day were carefully chosen to cover all aspects of gardening:
"Edible Flowers" by Denise Schreiber, keynote speaker. While some flowers are simply beautiful, others are also delectable. Author of Eat Your Roses, Pansies, Lavender, and 49 Other Delicious Flowers, Denise will discuss which flowers are edible and which are not. She will include general growing tips and how flowers can be used in recipes. A lifelong gardener with a degree in floriculture, Denise started the popular Edible Flowers Food Fest held in Pittsburgh every July. She is the greenhouse manager for Allegheny County Parks and is a regular on KDKA's Sunday morning radio show "The Organic Gardeners."
"Journaling: A Gardener's Power Tool" by Rebecca Norton Ryan. Writing about your day in the garden is fun - and a powerful tool that will help you produce consistent results year after year. Rebecca will explain the many benefits of garden journaling: organizes your garden activities and information; keeps track of all you've planted, including photographs; serves as a reference to past seasons' rainfall and temperatures; provides a record of fertilizers and other soil amendments as well as your frequent observations of the season in progress; serve as a reference to what the bunnies and deer ate (and what they did not). Through journaling, you will build on your past successes as you move in the direction of an exceptional home garden. Rebecca Ryan, Penn State Master Gardener, contributes garden articles to the Warren Times Observer.
"Cheap-scaping: The Down and Dirty on Green Gardening" by Denise Grant and Sharon Johnson. You'll gain a new perspective on saving money on landscaping and gardening by repurposing unwanted items. Denise and Sharon will share their green philosophy and tips for recycling curbside leftovers to help alleviate landfill stress while also saving you money to spend on more seeds, plants or garden art. Denise is a freelance writer and photographer living in northwest Pennsylvania. She maintains several garden-related websites. An avid gardener since the age of 12, she reluctantly admits she can still kill a garden plant. She studied art and photography at JCC, RIT, and Portsmouth School of Art and Design. A Penn State Extension Master Gardener of Warren County, Denise is planning to open a cutting garden near her home along the Conewango Creek. Sharon has been an avid gardener for 30 years. She is a Penn State Extension Master Gardener of Warren County and founder of Mountain Valley Garden Club. She was the creator of the original "Garden Extravaganza," from which "Come Grow with Us" was developed. Her numerous perennial gardens have brought her much joy through the years. She is currently in the process of creating a more sustainable lifestyle by adding fruit orchards and heirloom vegetable gardens to her small homestead in Scandia.
"Gardening for the Birds" by Jean Farver. Jean will discuss the four zones for bird habitat and how to landscape a garden to encourage many feathered friends to stay. Jean is a retired naval officer with a degree in botany from the University of Massachusetts. She is the president of the Corry Garden Club and is a Penn State Extension Master Gardener of Warren County.
"Gardens Grow Healthy Communities" by Janet Forbes. Learn how gardens of all types - home, community, and school - build healthy communities and families. Farm to School, Giving Gardens, gardens for the elderly, children, and developmentally disabled will all be explored. Pictures, stories, successful projects and resources will be shared, so be prepared to become excited and involved in community gardening for the benefit of your health and that of your community! Janet is a registered nurse who has spent most of her career in acute care. She is the project coordinator for Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play at the Chautauqua County Health Network. She is a lifelong avid gardener and Cornell Chautauqua County Master Gardener whose passion is community and inter-generational gardening.
"Grow, Harvest and Preserve" by Josie Gerardi. Reduce your grocery bill and eat more fresh, delicious vegetables! With some careful planning, you can grow and preserve produce to feed your family more affordably and healthfully. Josie will cover all the basics on food preservation methods, including dehydration, freezing, and canning. Josie is a retired Family and Consumer Science teacher (Home Economics), lifelong gardener, Penn State Extension Master Gardener of Warren County, member of The Warren Garden Club, and Coordinator of Warren Farmers Market.
"Insects and Their Relatives in the Home and Garden" by Tom Erlandson. Inside your house, outside in your gardens, insects are everywhere. This program is of special interest to homeowners, especially those who have gardens. Tom's primary focus will be on insects; spiders, millipedes and centipedes are also discussed. With a PhD in Zoology, MS in Entomology, and lifelong interest and experience in the western New York State region, Tom shares his extensive knowledge in terms the layperson can understand and appreciate. In addition to giving presentations to schools, service clubs and church groups on a variety of topics, he has taught the insect section for the Cornell Chautauqua County Master Gardener courses for the past two years. Tom has written numerous articles on natural history and ecology for western New York State organizations, including the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, the Jamestown Audubon Society, and the Central and Western NY Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
"Learning to See Nature, with Your Camera" by Jennifer Schlick. Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange said, "A camera is an instrument that teaches you how to see the world without a camera." In this session, you will explore how your camera - no matter what type, make or model it is - can teach you how to see the world with fresh eyes. Jennifer is program director at Jamestown Audubon. Photography has been her avocation for over a decade. Her nature articles and photographs have been published for Jamestown Audubon in Warren Times Observer, Jamestown Post Journal, and Dunkirk Observer. Her photos have been displayed in many galleries in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, published in brochures and books, and used on interpretive signs at nature centers across the country.
"The No-Dig Lasagna Gardening Method" by Denise Grant. Make and maintain a garden with no digging, no tilling and no sweat? You bet, when you learn the lasagna gardening method! Denise will teach how to layer different natural materials that you have on hand. (Think compost, leaves, straw, dryer lint, grass clippings old sawdust or shredded paper.) The layers make a garden bed that will break down over time and create a nutrient-rich soil that is perfect for flowers and vegetables. This form of gardening works well in poor soil locations, where you want to add raised beds, and for those who are physically unable to do labor-intensive gardening. Denise is a freelance writer and photographer living in NW Pennsylvania. She maintains several garden-related websites. An avid gardener since the age of 12, she reluctantly admits she can still kill a garden plant. She studied art and photography at JCC, RIT and Portsmouth School of Art and Design. A Penn State Extension Master Gardener of Warren County, Denise is planning to open a cutting garden near her home along the Conewango Creek in northwest Pennsylvania.
"The Versatility of Herbs" by Wanda S. Buerkle. Learn how to grow and process your herbs for a healthier, more natural way of life. Wanda loves herbs and will share with you some of their many uses, from food and drinks, health and beauty aides, to fiber for clothing. Whether you are enjoying a cup of relaxing herbal tea or cleaning your home with herbal concoctions, you'll enjoy working with these natural wonders. Wanda has been a Penn State Master Gardener since 2004, as well as a teacher, naturalist, and a Speaker/Instructor for the National Wildlife Federation.
"So, You've Decided to Plant a Garden: The Basics" by Judy Kepple. New to gardening? Judy will provide the essential basics to ensure your first season is successful and satisfying. Topics covered include: shopping for correct tools, selecting the right garden space for what you want to grow, testing and amending soil, starting your own seeds, purchasing plants, and harvesting for your family. A Penn State Master Gardener of Warren County, Judy owns a 16-acre hobby farm in Russell, PA. In addition to cultivating a large vegetable garden, a small grape vineyard, and a variety of fruit trees (including American walnut), she raises chickens for meat and eggs. She cans and freezes much of her bounty, selling the overabundance at the Warren County Farmers Market. Judy has been a registered volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America for more than 10 years and has shared her knowledge of gardening with the Cub Scouts through a variety of programs.
To register for the event, visit agsci.psu.edu/come-grow or call 563-9388.