A couple of sure signs it’s mid-February (neither brought to you by Hallmark): The sun, when it is out, seems brighter and higher in the sky as days begin to get longer. (Minneapolis goes from days that are under 9 hours long at the beginning of January to almost 11 hours long by the beginning of March.) The second sign that winter is more than half over (please, please, please!!!) is the arrival of many notices about spring gardening workshops and classes.
I just finished editing the March/April issue of Northern Gardener, which will be on newsstands in a couple of weeks, and the calendar is crammed with notices about garden schools sponsored by Master Gardeners, local extension offices, and garden clubs. I’m having a hard time deciding which courses and workshops to attend, but a couple are already on my calendar.
This weekend, I’m kicking it off with a class on seed starting at Just Food Co-op in Northfield. Sara Morrison, owner of a garden consulting company called The Backyard Grocery, is teaching. I’ve always found seed starting to be tricky, so I’m looking forward to hearing some expert advice.
On March 13, I’m going to be attending (and reporting on) the Proven Winners Outdoor Living Extravaganza, an annual event that brings together some high-powered gardening experts to talk about what’s new and interesting in gardening this year. Topics will include using color in the garden, container gardens, and plenty about new plants.
I usually try to attend the Rice County Horticulture Day, which is a social and information-packed day at Buntrock Commons at St. Olaf College. This year, the speaker’s list is especially intriguing: Michelle Mero Riedel on winter sowing of seeds, Lisa Ruevers on butterfly gardening, Jeff Gillman on organic gardening, and Jerry and Karen Zierdt on growing and designing with dahlias.
This year, I’m also hoping to hit the Westonka Horticulture Society‘s Horticulture Day March 27. This is a huge event that I have not been able to attend in the past. Dr. Mary Meyer, interim director of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the U of M’s expert on ornamental grasses, will be the keynote speaker.
There are dozens more garden days and schools from Grand Rapids to Rochester. For a more complete list, check out the calendar page at the Minnesota State Horticulture Society web site.