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Thursday, July 6, 2006 12:45 am

An evening in the garden

Master gardeners show off their demonstration garden July 13

As summer gets into full swing in central Illinois, some things are inevitable: lack of rainfall, the unsightly destruction caused by Japanese beetles, and, on the plus side, fresh vegetables and beautiful floral garden displays. One of the area’s favorites is the demonstration garden cultivated by the master gardeners of the University of Illinois Extension, Sangamon-Menard Unit. The public gets to visit at the annual “Evening in the Garden” event, held this year 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, July 13. This 5,000-square-foot garden is located on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, in front of the University of Illinois Extension building. It’s divided into four areas, featuring a wide variety of annuals, herbs, perennials, and shrubs. The purpose of the garden is to provide an outdoor learning center for gardeners. Master gardeners have highlighted plant combinations that will grow well in our area. Varieties of flowers planted throughout the fairgrounds are featured and labeled in the Identification Garden. The Herb Garden has more than 70 kitchen herbs and a special new section, “Herbs in Containers,” which features more than 25 pots filled with herbs. The Lorraine DeSouza Perennial Garden contains plants of interest for every season. A grape arbor is also part of this garden. A committee designs, plants, and maintains each garden area. For the past nine years, master gardeners have spent countless hours expanding and refining the gardens. During “Evening in the Garden,” those in attendance will have the opportunity to stroll through the garden while listening to the music of a harpist. Master gardeners will be available to answer questions about plants in the garden and provide handouts on maintenance issues. Gardeners are always looking for new tools to use in the garden and garden-themed items for their living spaces. During “Evening in the Garden,” gardeners will have a unique opportunity to purchase items related to their hobby at the first “Garden Shed Sale.” A wide variety of gently used outdoor garden tools, furniture, and garden-related books, clothing, jewelry, and one-of-a-kind artwork will be offered for sale by master gardeners. The program and sale are free and open to the public, but even if you are unable to attend this event, the gardens are open year-round. For more information, call 217-782-4617.  
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