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by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

In the heat of August, It’s hard to imagine, that  the annual Fall Plant Sale is just around the corner, on Sept. 17 &18.  This is an event that many avid gardeners look forward to all summer.  Our volunteers have been working hard planning the sale and growing plants to sell.  Part of our mission here at the Garden is to educate visitors when we can about plants, and I’m happy to say that this year, we’ll be expanding that effort with the help of the Master Gardeners from Henrico Co. Extention.   In addition to the many tents we have for independent vendors selling plants and our own volunteers running the Bloemendaal tent for the Garden, we’ll also have volunteers from the   Master Gardeners from Henrico Co. Extension office offering demonstrations for both adults and children!  All day long, both days, we’ll have free educational sessions on everything from perennials to composting to pruning.  If you are like me, and can’t seem to get enough of this sort of information, you may be tempted to stay all day!

Here’s what we’ve got planned for the kiddos:

~ Pine Cone bird feeders

~Leaf rubbings

~Planting ‘hair’ (wheat grass) in cups with faces drawn on them  all sponsored by the Junior Master Gardener Committee.

Adult drop-in sessions include:

Friday Class Schedule (Plant Sale Time – 10 a.m. -6 p.m.)

10:30 a.m.  Perennials - Are you thinking of adding perennials to your landscape? Perennials can provide you with a year-round season of bloom and interest in your garden. This session will cover considerations of preparing for a perennial planting as well as a selection of tried and true perennials for your garden.

11:00 a.m.  Gardening Greener - Reduce negative impacts on the environment by making greener choices in your own landscape. Utilizing mulch to conserve moisture and reduce weeds, composting kitchen scraps and landscape “waste”, monitoring soil pH and nutrients, improving your soil by adding organic matter and selecting the right plant for the right place help to reduce non-organic inputs into your garden.

11:30 a.m.  Fall Lawn Care – This talk reviews all the steps necessary this fall to have your lawn survive the winter and look great next spring.

12:00 Noon Weed ID/Organic Controls - Are you unsure of what to do about those pesky weeds in your lawn or landscape beds? This session will cover some of the basic weeds you find in your landscape as well as organic ways to rid your garden of them!

1:00 p.m. Pruning Trees and Shrubs - Are you unsure of how to bring that wild plant in your garden back into control? Sit in on this session so you may learn when, where and how to prune trees and shrubs to correctly improve the appearance and health of your plants. Pruning Calendars produced by Virginia Cooperative Extension will be a great take-home resource!

1:30 p.m.  Backyard Composting - Compost is a valuable resource for beautifying your landscape, and it is virtually free! Learn the good keys to good composting and how to use it on your lawn, in the garden and around trees and shrubs.

2:00 p.m.  Roses for the Virginia Garden - Become familiar with all facets of selecting, planting and maintaining roses in the Richmond area. Topics may include favorite varieties, pruning techniques and managing disease and insects.

2:30 p.m. How to Plant a Tree – After proper selection, nothing is more important to the successful growth of a young tree than how it is planted and cared for its first few years. Factors to consider include watering, fertilizing, mulching, pruning, and protecting from insects, diseases and other stresses.

3:00 p.m.  Sustainable Landscaping/Xeriscaping – Learn how to really get to know your own landscape so that you can select the right plant for the right place. Topics will include the characteristics to analyze in your landscape from sun and shade, slope, microclimates, soil drainage, and more! Sustainable landscapes are designed to provide long-lasting, attractive solutions to your landscape problems.

3:30 p.m.  Vermicomposting – Let Worms Recycle Your Garbage! Composting is a natural process that converts organic material such as kitchen scraps and yard waste into a dark nutrient-rich soil amendment called humus. However, if you don’t have adequate space, or don’t relish tramping back and forth from kitchen to yard, you might consider vermicomposting instead. Vermicomposting is simply composting with worms. Worms speed up the composting process, produce a richer end product, and allow the process to occur indoors, making it more convenient than traditional composting. Attend this session if you want to learn how to start your own bin!

4:00 p.m.  Four-Season Gardening – This session will cover plants for your landscape that will provide you with year-round interest – from flowers to foliage to showy bark. Learn those plants you can add to your landscape so you can enjoy your garden even in the winter!

Saturday Class Schedule (Plant Sale Time – 9:00-3:00)

9:30 Right Tree/Right Place – Putting the “right tree in the right place for the right reason” optimizes tree health and longevity. Being knowledgeable about tree species common to Virginia and their specific cultural needs is critical to the selection process and ultimate success of your landscape.

10:00 Perennials – Are you thinking of adding perennials to your landscape? Perennials can provide you with a year-round season of bloom and interest in your garden. This session will cover considerations of preparing for a perennial planting as well as a selection of tried and true perennials for your garden.

10:30 4-Season Gardening – This session will cover plants for your landscape that will provide you with year-round interest – from flowers to foliage to showy bark. Learn those plants you can add to your landscape so you can enjoy your garden even in the winter!

11:00 Backyard Composting – Compost is a valuable resource for beautifying your landscape, and it is virtually free! Learn the good keys to good composting and how to use it on your lawn, in the garden and around trees and shrubs.

11:30 Renovating a Lawn – A Master Gardener examines how to establish a new lawn from “scratch” or how to rejuvenate and re-energize an existing one to make it look great for the next spring. This talk covers tilling, pre-emergence weed killers for next spring and incorporating essentials into a poor soil.

12:00 Weed ID/Organic Controls – Are you unsure of what to do about those pesky weeds in your lawn or landscape beds? This session will cover some of the basic weeds you find in your landscape as well as organic ways to rid your garden of them! 12:30 Container Gardening – Container gardens offer multiple possibilities in your landscape. If space is limited or you are trying to dress up the entrance to your home, try gardening in a container! This session is for you if you want to know about selecting containers and different types of planting media. Plant selection, watering and fertilization will be discussed.

1:00 Pruning – Are you unsure of how to bring that wild plant in your garden back into control? Sit in on this session so you may learn when, where and how to prune trees and shrubs to correctly improve the appearance and health of your plants. Pruning Calendars produced by Virginia Cooperative Extension will be a great take-home resource!

1:30 Vermicomposting – Let Worms Recycle Your Garbage! Composting is a natural process that converts organic material such as kitchen scraps and yard waste into a dark nutrient-rich soil amendment called humus. However, if you don’t have adequate space, or don’t relish tramping back and forth from kitchen to yard, you might consider vermicomposting instead. Vermicomposting is simply composting with worms. Worms speed up the composting process, produce a richer end product, and allow the process to occur indoors, making it more convenient than traditional composting. Attend this session if you want to learn how to start your own bin!

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