Master gardener Barbara Eastman has been a presenter at Gardening for Everyone many times.
She keeps giving her time to the free community informational event because she enjoys seeing the interest from the community in all things horticulture.
“I think it's a way for us to engage with the community and get people interested in gardening,” Eastman said of the event.
Eastman is one of several presenters slated to speak at the spring session of Gardening for Everyone, which takes place 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Saturday in Washington Hall on the Centralia College campus. The WSU Lewis County Extension office master gardeners offer the free day of gardening related workshops twice yearly but master gardener program director Art Fuller said the spring one is usually the biggest session.
Nine classes will be offered in three sessions during Gardening for Everyone, ranging from talks on plant care to solutions for common gardening problems. This year, they even added an overflow class session allowing for a workshop to be repeated if any draw more attendees than there are seats. Besides the classes, there will also be tables with information from various other groups including: the Community Farmers Market, Southwest Washington Mycological Society, Lewis County Beekeeping Association, master gardener plant clinic and 4-H.
“It helps the community. It educates the community and it's advertising for us and for what we do,” Fuller said of why Gardening for Everyone is important.
“And it's good for networking, too,” said Anna Marie Pizzariello, a master gardener who will present at Gardening for Everyone. “If you have questions about anything gardening you can ask them there.”
Here are a look at a few of the offered classes:
• “Grapes 101” 9:15-10:30 a.m.
Planting, pruning and propagating grapes is not difficult, said master gardener Gary Gorremans. But for best results there are just a few important things beginners need to know, he said. Gorremans said his talk at Gardening for Everyone will include actual grape plants and cuttings that attendees will be able to look at and touch.
Gorremans said the biggest lesson for people to know about pruning grape vines is that they need to be able to identify last year's growth as well as the nodes that mark a grape vine. Last year's fruiting vine is the one that is pruned away, but is also the one used for any propagation.
“Different nodes have different fruiting characteristics, which will affect your pruning,” Gorremans said.
Gorremans said he will cover proper pruning techniques both for new plants as well as established plants that may not have been properly pruned in the past. Other techniques covered will include how to propagate new plants from cuttings, identification of the grape vine features as well as how to train a new vine. Gorremans said he hopes the biggest lesson gardeners walk away with is that they can do these things themselves.
“Grapes are very forgiving,” he noted.
• “Wild Edibles” 12:45-2:15 p.m.
Pizzariello has been collecting wild herbs since her college days and said when she goes for a walk or hike she just instinctively looks for plants she could harvest.
“There's so much food out there if you know how to collect it,” Pizzariello said.
The wild edibles talk will focus on the various herbs and plants found growing wild that can be picked and used. Some of those that Pizzariello uses most include: dandelions, nettles, chickweed, violet, plantain, comfrey, lambs quarters, raspberry leaves and rose hips.
“I get really excited for spring because I do a lot of spring greens,” Pizzariello said.
The key to finding food for free in the landscape is first knowing how to correctly identify plants. Next, she said they should be taken from areas with low pollution and no chemical spraying. It is also important to understand who owns the land on which you forage and whether you have permission to be there. In addition, know the rules for wild foraging in the area where you are. For instance in some federal parks and forests you must get a permit to forage.
“For bulb kelp you have to get a license from Washington state,” Pizzariello explained.
• Planning a Low Maintenance Perennial Garden”
If you're looking to shave time off yard maintenance, master gardener Barbara Eastman said it just takes a little bit of planning. Activities such as weeding, splitting plants, pest control and deadheading can all take up time in the garden but can also all be easily avoided with one step.
“Having a well planned sustainable garden where you think ahead and decide what you want,” Eastman explained.
Eastman said her talk will focus on how to plan a perennial garden by first thinking about your goals for the garden and second choosing plants that wisely. While all plants take some extra care at first to get them established, she said gardeners can save themselves a lot of time and hassle just by choosing plants that are typically lower maintenance and by planting them in the right environment for that particular plant. Some of her favorites include: hostas; ferns; huchera; and ornamental grasses.
“I think it's also important to try to think long term interest,” Eastman added. “Maybe a plant only blooms for two weeks but if it has a really nice veregated leaves it will continue to bring interest to the landscape after it blooms.”