Breakout Sessions

How to Make a Freeform Twig Trellis – Demonstration by Sandy Lotto

Here’s a fun and unique opportunity to learn how to make a one-of-a-kind, freeform twig trellis using maple saplings, nails and a little imagination. These beautiful and simple trellises are a great beginner project that allow for a lot of individual creativity. And the best part is, there are no rules! This demonstration, including handouts with written instructions, will give you plenty of information and inspiration to make your own trellis at home. Your climbing plants will love it, and when your friends ask where you got such an awesome trellis, you’ll be able to say, “I made it!” This program is geared towards people with little or no previous woodworking experience. All are welcome!

Natives in Shade Gardens and Natives in Shade Gardens – by Alan J. Branhagen

The Midwest offers a rich and unique flora that has incredible value to gardeners and landscapers.  The movement to cultivate America’s native flora had its roots in the Midwest (Eloise Butler was an icon in Minneapolis beginning in the late 1800’s, Laurie Otto a late 1900’s champion from Milwaukee) and gardening with native plants has experienced a recent increase in popularity tied to being green, buying local and living sustainably.  There still remain widespread misunderstandings about what native plants are and why they are so valuable to a healthy garden and landscape.  Homeowners, gardeners and landscapers want to do the right thing so I wrote the book as a practical resource that helps them be successful in selecting, growing and maintaining Midwestern native plants.

See some of the iconic Midwestern native wildflowers that thrive in woodland conditions from wet to dry and degrees of shade from open to dense. Learn what creatures they engage in the garden to enrich your landscape beyond pure aesthetics. A successful woodland garden is a celebration of each season and yes, there are plants beyond spring! You also need to ask: are there any plants that still look good in the winter?

Midwestern native shrubs offer a wealth of interest in the landscape from spring through winter. Many don’t conform to the ease of production (they grow deep roots and/or take time to produce through special propagation methods) and are thus more expensive while others have adaptations that make them run or self-sow; not conforming to traditional gardens. Learn the inherent character and beauty of Midwestern native shrubs and how to use them in the home landscape so that they will enrich your garden experience.

The Art of Growing Food – by Ellen Ecker Ogden

A true kitchen garden opens your senses both in the garden and in the kitchen, and in this keynote address Ellen Ecker Ogden will share her journey from art school to co-founder of The Cook’s Garden seed catalog to author of The Complete Kitchen Garden, featuring theme garden designs with recipes for cooks who love to garden.  Learn the tools to create an edible garden that is both productive and beautiful, turning “ordinary” into “extraordinary.” based on classic design techniques that anyone can follow. Discover 6 steps to success that will turn work into play, and inspire you to transform any edible garden into a kitchen garden with an eye towards beauty, easy care, and pleasure.

The Living Soil – by Amy Jo Dusick

The soil is often referenced as an abiotic, or non-living entity of an ecosystem. The soil food web, however, is a highly complex and interactive biotic community that is tightly linked to above-ground nutrient and water availability. Get to know these tiny, yet charismatic key players, learn about their their roles in maintaining soil health and the ways you can promote a functional and sustainable soil environment in your home landscape.

Vertical Gardening Session Summary – by Heather Schlesser

Are you like me and you wish you had a little extra space to get more into your garden, or do you want more flowers to help brighten up the place?  Well do not fear, this session will discuss various ways to grow plants vertically.  Vertical gardening makes the most of a small garden footprint and allows you to get more out of your space.  In this session I will talk about the vertical gardening structures I have experience with through the UW-Extension teaching garden and experience as an Agriculture teacher.  Vertical gardening doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  Come and learn how to grow things vertically the economical way.


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