Early registration open for gardening conference

Photo courtesy of the Taylor Conservatory Foundation
Iris Underwood, owner of Yule Love It Lavender Farm in Leonard, is a veteran of the Growing Great Gardens conference.

TAYLOR — Registration is open for the sixth annual Growing Great Gardens conference, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 at Wayne County Community College District Downriver Campus, 21000 North Line.

Registration is $35, until Feb. 21 and $45 after. The cost includes four presentations, a genetically modified organism-free box lunch, and a chance to win many garden-related door prizes. Registration is required, and can be done by calling Pattie Kehr at 313-292-8316 or going to www.taylorconservatory.org, or www.taylorgardenclub.com.

Hosted by the Taylor Conservatory Foundation, Taylor Garden Club, and WCCCD, the event kicks off the local gardening season and this year more than 400 people are expected.

“We’re very excited about this year’s lineup and new format,” said Patricia Donahue, executive director of the Taylor Conservatory Foundation. “Each year our attendees give us feedback and we incorporate suggestions into the next event. This year, we allowed more time for presentations and shopping, which was important to our guests.”

Attendees can look forward to a low-cost, high-value day of learning, along with surprises, shopping, music and socializing. There is something for everyone — from the person who wants to try gardening for the first time, to the gardening professional who wants to learn the latest in garden trends. The event also provides five education hours for master gardeners.

Returning this year is the Garden Marketplace, which is free and open to the public. Products include fanciful garden art, stepping stones, birdhouses, teas, indoor plants, soaps, baskets, garden tools, local honey and jam, and jewelry.

“You don’t have to be registered for the seminar to shop with more than 30 new and returning top-quality vendors,” said Sherry Soja-Molloy, vendor coordinator for the event.

Laura Deeter, associate professor of Horticulture at Ohio State University, is the morning keynote with “Hortus Mortus: Plants You Gotta Have!” She’ll also speak in the afternoon with “Getting to ‘Know’ Maintenance: Tips and Tricks to Make Perennials Work for You.”

Rebecca Titus, farm manager of Titus Farms, will present “Vegetables of a Different Color,” sharing her creative perspective on how to incorporate colorful vegetables into your landscape. Garden designer Jack Barnwell, of Barnwell Landscape & Garden presents “Pedal Power: Creating the Signature Mackinac Island Look,” planting thousands of plants, trees and shrubs each year without the use of trucks or machinery on Mackinac island.

There is also a chance to win two passes to the second annual Grand Garden Show held on Mackinac Island Aug.24 to 26. The package features a two-night stay at the Grand Hotel, breakfasts and dinners, cocktail reception, gardening seminars, and passes to exclusive tours of private gardens on the island.

“Growing Great Gardens is a wonderful event that we are proud to sponsor,” said Phil Matous, president of Total Community Credit Union. “We stand behind organizations that are committed to promoting education and strengthening their communities.”