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Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005 10:54 am

Give the gift of gardening knowledge

Sign up now for seminars and programs

During the winter months, outdoor garden activities are few, but it’s still a great time to learn. Books, garden catalogs, and seed catalogs are a good way to start, but a more exciting option is to learn with others in a gardening program. Registration for an upcoming program would make a great gift for a gardener. Here are some suggestions: • Held Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Urbana Holiday Inn, Herb Day 2006 will feature two talks by talented herb-and-gardening author Sharon Lovejoy, a past president of the International Herb Association. Pat Lanza, author of the popular book Lasagna Gardening, will speak about her most recent publication, Lasagna Herb Gardening, and Susan Belsinger, author of Just Desserts, will present a demonstration on using herbs in sweet treats. Carolee Snyder, owner of Carolee’s Herb Farm in Hartford City, Ind., will describe her herb-garden tour of England. The cost of registration, $49 per person, includes seating in the lectures, refreshments, an herb-themed lunch buffet (including vegetarian options), and access to a retail area. Mail checks, payable to the University of Illinois, to Herb Day 2006, attn: Carol Preston, S-406 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, Illinois 61801. For more information, call 217-333-7738 or e-mail preston1@uiuc.edu and mention Herb Day 2006. Credit-card orders cannot be accepted, and cancellations will not be refunded; reservations must be made by Jan. 13 by those who wish to attend the luncheon. • The University of Illinois Extension Sangamon-Menard Unit and the Springfield Civic Garden Club are sponsoring a Garden Basics series of five seminars for home gardeners. (This series would be especially helpful for anyone planning on participating in the Illinois Times-sponsored “Yard to Yard Challenge.”) Seminars will be held 6-8 p.m. on five consecutive Thursdays, beginning Jan. 26. Topics include: plant basics, soil basics, flower basics, tree basics, and pest basics, and participants are encouraged to attend all five sessions. University of Illinois Extension educators and specialist are the presenters. The $25 registration fee covers the cost of all five sessions and the class notebook. Seminars will be held at Extension Building No. 30, on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Because class size will be limited, registration by Jan. 18 is encouraged. For information, call 217-782-4617. Send your registration fee, payable to “Sangamon-Menard Extension,” to the Sangamon-Menard Extension Unit, P.O. Box 8467, Springfield, IL 62791.
• The Illinois Specialty Crops Conference will be held Jan. 17 and 18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. A one-day postconference workshop on tomatoes and sweet corn will be held on Thursday, Jan. 19. This conference, designed for commercial growers and diehard amateur gardeners, includes a trade show; educational sessions on fruits, vegetables, and herbs; and workshops on irrigation, risk management, and labor issues. The conference agenda may be reviewed at www.specialtygrowers.org/confagenda.htm, or you may contact Diane Handley at 309-557-2107 or e-mail handley@ilfb.org for additional information.
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