If you want to get excited about gardening or learn something new to take into the garden, now is the time to do it. In addition to being the beginning of seed-starting season, March is the time when many garden clubs, horticultural societies, and Master Gardener groups sponsor educational programs. I know I won’t make it to all of these, but here are a few upcoming events you may want to put on your calendar.
Minneapolis Spring Home and Garden Show, March 2-6, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis. This is the ultimate display of what’s new, interesting, and fun in gardening and landscaping. The Minnesota State Horticulture Society has a great booth and sponsors a great line up of speakers. Also, be sure to pick up some lily bulbs from the hort folks — they are the best bulbs around.
Beginning Beekeeping, Thursday, March 3, Just Food Co-op, Northfield. I’ve never been real interested in keeping chickens, which is so popular with gardeners and urban farmers, but bees are another matter. There is something intensely fascinating about the social organization of these amazing creatures. Local farmer and beekeeper Chris Sullivan Kelley will be presenting this program.
Rice County Horticulture Day, Saturday, March 5, Buntrock Commons, St. Olaf College, Northfield. I’ll be doing my first gig as a Master Gardener intern volunteering at this annual event. It’s a great start to the garden season and this year’s program includes bird expert Stan Tekiela on birds, as well as Keith Swenson on peonies, Dale Longfellow on how to grow a great vegetable garden, and Shari Mayer on herbs. The event costs $30, and includes a lunch in the St. Olaf dining hall, which is not your typical college food! Contact the Rice County extension office to register.
Let’s Get Growing Spring Expo, Saturday, March 12, Rosemount Community Center, Rosemount. Sponsored by the Dakota County Master Gardeners, this is another great horticulture day. The keynote speaker is Debbie Lonnee, who works with Bailey Nurseries and is in-the-know on all the new plant varieties. She’ll be talking about what’s new for 2011. (She has an article on new annuals for 2011 in the March/April issue of Northern Gardener, too.) The event also includes presentations on grasses, roses, and creating curb appeal, among other topics. It costs $35. Click here to see the full schedule and register.
Plant Society Day, March 27, Gertens Greenhouse, Inver Grove Heights. If you have a special interest in iris, peonies, African violets, lilies or any other plant, this is the place to go for information and to find out more about the specialty societies that share your interest. The event is sponsored by MSHS.
Westonka Horticulture Day, Saturday, April 2, Mound-Westonka High School. There are some wonderful gardens in the west metro area, and some great gardeners. This annual day includes topics ranging from backyard chickens to espalier to gardening in small spaces. Fee is $25 before March 12.
This is just a sampling of the many programs available for gardeners this time of year. Check out a complete list on the MSHS website.