Friday, December 16, 2011

First Six Lectures of 2012 Set!

Although we're ending a successful year at the gardens, preparations for 2012 have been going on for quite some time and we'll have the majority of our events, lectures, etc. planned very shortly and promoted on our website and thru other venues. Kris has already organized the continuation of our popular lecture series that ran thru this year. In 2011, we had 653 adults attend our 12 monthly lectures which is a nice average of 54 attendees per lecture. The momentum continues with a January 18th (Wednesday) lecture on Bonsai Basics given by Karl Bethke of the Badger Bonsai Society. The lecture will be from 6:30 pm to 8 pm. RBG members will be $5 with others asked for $10. This pricing will be consistent for this lecture series. We're hoping to get Karl back in April for a bonsai workshop too! The image directly above is a bonsai at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (San Marino, CA). I've seen many bonsai collections and this one was spectacular as were the ones at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Hidden Lake Gardens maintained by Michigan State University (Tipton, MI) and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Orchids for Everyone will be offered on Wednesday, February 15th (6:30 pm - 8 pm) by Dee Speaker of K&W Greenery (Janesville). I can't recall an orchid topic here and Dee is very knowledgeable. Both the bonsai and orchid topics were heavily requested as topics by attendees of our 2011 lectures. We always appreciate input and are happy to oblige with facilitating these educational opportunities. On Wednesday, March 14th, Jeff Miller of Land of the Giants Hosta Farm (Milton, WI) will be presenting on Hostas, Hostas, Hostas!. This presentation will also be between 6:30 pm - 8 pm at the Parker Education Center. Jeff has donated many hostas to the gardens and has been a great source of information as well. His nursery is also top notch and his entire landscape (including the nursery) will be one of the destinations for our 2012 Home Garden Tour (July 21st, 2012, 10 am - 4 pm). Our April 18th speaker will be Jay Bando of Bando Organics (Madison, WI). Jay will be discussing Healthy Soils - Healthy Plants - Healthy People. Jay is well known for his knowledge and experience regarding organic gardening methods, composting, compost teas and their application and we're very excited to have him present at the gardens. I've known Jay for years and have enjoyed our conversations on topics that are becoming increasingly more relevant for all gardeners. The topic title speaks for itself. Unfortunately I didn't have a "pretty" shot of compost tea but the bucket of tea below is the leachate from my brother's worm bins (composting). He uses both the tea and the worm castings out in his garden. Last year we sold both worm castings and "worm tea" at our spring sale and saw some interest in both products but also quite a bit of confusion that should be addressed in this lecture. On Wednesday, May 16th (6:30 pm - 8 pm), I'll be presenting Vertical Gardening: Growing Your Gardens Upwards. This is a topic that has always been of interest to me and we're staring to dabble with some vertical "opportunities" here at RBG. This discussion will include vines and upright supports and structures that will maximize smaller gardening spaces. I'll also talk about the "green wall" movement and show some neat examples of going vertical as seen in the image to the left that I took at Chicago Botanic Garden in late September of this year. The orange you see are dwarf snapdragons and all the white blooms are from the perennial heath aster (Aster ericoides 'First Snow') which we have at RBG as well. This upright planter (very accessible) is showing it's third transition after having both a spring and summer display. Our June 20th presentation will be on Wisconsin Lichens: Love 'em or Like 'em by Dr. Jim Bennett from The Nelson Institue for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. Dr. Bennett will cover lots of information on lichens and dispel some of the myths regarding their growth. Lichens are quite interesting and Jim is one of the foremost experts on this topic.

Kris will be further developing this lecture series along with workshops, evening events, Smelly Garden opportunities, youth education, etc. The spring symposium (March 24th, 2012) is coming together nicely as well. Stay tuned!

Quiet day today. Urban and Pat were out pruning this morning and I saw Maury, Bill O., Julie G., Kay and some others today. I'm blogging early as I'll take a Siesta this afternoon before returning to fire up the Holiday Lights Show for our first official night this evening (4:30 pm - 8 pm)!!!

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