MALTA – Although it’s only February and snow’s on the ground, Janice Weber has already begun planning her spring gardening.
Weber is a University of Illinois Extension DeKalb County Master Gardener since 2002 and has been on the Gardener’s Pathway Planning Committee for many years.
The Master Gardeners will host the 2019 Gardener’s Pathway workshop from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Kishwaukee College Conference Center, 21193 Malta Road in Malta.
For information, call 815-758-8194.
Weber spoke to MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton about this year’s event.
Milton: What is Gardener’s Pathway?
Weber: Gardener’s Pathway is a day full of educational workshops. We do it each year, the fourth Saturday of February. This year is our 19th year. Gardener’s Pathway was originally started by Joe Pasteris, a Master Gardener. He has since retired, so he’s an MG alumnus. It’s a fun day, held in February when it’s cold out. It gets gardeners really thinking about gardening and warm weather.
Milton: How has Gardener’s Pathway changed through the years?
Weber: It has really grown in size and in popularity over the years. It has been used as a model for other workshops and events in the Chicago area.
Milton: Tell me about this year’s keynote speakers.
Weber: This year, we will have two keynote speakers. In the morning, our keynote speaker will be Beth Botts, a garden writer for the Chicago Tribune, who believes in common sense gardening and sustainable gardening. Her topic is “What now? Refreshing the Tired Garden – and Gardener.” The afternoon keynote speaker will be Richard Hawke, the long-time manager of the Plant Trial program at the Chicago Botanic Garden. His topic is “The Best of the Best Daisies: Asters, Black-eyed Susans and Tickseeds.”
Milton: Will there be other sessions and topics?
Weber: In addition to those two keynotes, we will have two break-out sessions. Each session will have eight topics to pick from. This year’s topics include deer-resistant plants and shrubs, growing day lilies, ground covers, long-blooming perennials, what’s new for 2019, gardening fun and ease with raised gardens, highlighting your front door, growing fresh leafy-greens and herbs year-round, incorporating native plants into your landscape and native wildflowers of northern Illinois. This year, there are also two make-and-take sessions, each with an additional price. There will be a succulent bowl and an open terrarium make-and-take class.
Milton: Tell me about the exhibit hall.
Weber: There will also be an exhibit hall with vendors and nonprofit organization booths and tables. There will be items to buy and door prizes. There will also be a Master Gardener Q&A desk all day and every attendee will receive a welcome bag.
Milton: What do you like the most about Gardener’s Pathway?
Weber: The day itself is a lot of fun. We’re warm indoors and the whole day is devoted to gardening topics and vendors. We have excellent keynote speakers and presenters. There’s always a wide variety of topics discussed that appeal to many types of gardeners.