Master Gardeners outgrow extension center in Jackson, move seminar to nature center

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Seminar will feature biologists, horticulturists and urban foresters discussing native plants.

Cape County Master Gardeners have changed their free spring native plant seminar venue to the Conservation Campus Nature Center this year.

For at least seven years the seminar that pumps gardeners up for spring planting has been held at the Missouri Extension Center in Jackson.

Donna Aufdenberg, horticulture specialist and master gardener coordinator for the University of Missouri Extension, said, "We needed a bigger facility. We just seem to have outgrown the other."

Nature center manager April Dozier said the opportunity to partner with Master Gardeners and promote native plants is a great one.

"Native plants are beneficial to wildlife. They are the plants they need to survive. Natives are well suited because they're environmentally friendly, not needing fertilizers and chemicals or much water."

This year's topic is native plants and among the presenters at the March 4 seminar will be biologists, horticulturists and urban foresters who all support the benefits of incorporating native plants in landscapes. Classes include natives for small spaces, dry spaces, a propagation workshop with native seeds, native plant rain gardens and edible and medicinal spring blooming native plans for use in landscaping and wildflower gardens.

Cooks who use herbs will enjoy a presentation (limited to the first 35 people) by the second-place winner of the 2005 AgriMissouri Cooking Contest, Dewayne Schaaf.

Gardeners who know the value of worms will want to catch the presentation by Natural Resource Conservation Service soil scientist Kevin Godsay.

Master Gardener Verla Carr promotes Missouri Grow Native Plants because once they're established, long-term maintenance is reduced and they're less prone to destructive insects and diseases. She and Master Gardener Judi Niederkorn consider native plants their favorites for their bright colors and the increased visits by hummingbirds and butterflies they bring.

Carr and Niederkorn recently landscaped the Jackson postal facility flowerbeds with more than 15 varieties of native plants. Postal patrons can educate themselves on the natives planted there by reading the displays posted near each plant. Aromatic aster, Missouri primrose, butterfly brushes and echinacea are among some of the varieties.

Featured seminar speaker, Larry P. Lowman is a former park naturalist who owns and operates a nursery and gardens. His presentation will feature slides of 20 native spring-blooming species suitable for landscaping in the mid-south region.

Vendors and artisans will offer native plants, jewelry, goat soap, produce and pottery.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. for the event held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is advised. For more information, call Cape Girardeau County Extension Center at 243-3581 or the Nature Center at 290-5218.

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