KEYNOTE 1: 8:40 - 9:40 a.m.

  • Looking at Essential Living Layers
    Rick Darke
    The richness of life in any landscape is linked to the richness of its layers, and this is true for both people and wildlife. The ability to see these layers is the most important skill any of us can bring to the enjoyment, understanding, and stewardship of private gardens and community landscapes. This opening presentation will illustrate the art of observation and the inspiration to be found in celebrating the unprogrammed qualities of everyday places.

KEYNOTE 2: 9:50 - 10:50 a.m.

  • Designing and Managing for Beauty and Biodiversity in Home Gardens
    Rick Darke
    Rick Darke will illustrate how an understanding of living layers can be put to practical use in the design and stewardship of gardens and communal landscapes that are biologically diverse and joyfully livable. This approach is focused on the management of dynamic communities rather than on static collections of plants. Methods and strategies for employing truly organic architecture in creating beautiful, conserving, highly functional layers will be presented in detail.

SESSION A: 11 - 11:50 a.m.

  • So You Want to Build a Rock Garden?
    Martha Smith, University of Illinois Extension
    Three boulders and a juniper do not make a rock garden. A rock garden mimics a scene in nature and the soil is modified to host a range of plants that otherwise would not grow there. Martha will share her experiences building three small rock/alpine gardens. Garden location, design, and creating scree will be discussed.


  • Adding WOW to Your Photos
    Jack Carlson, Certified Professional Photographer, Chicago Botanical Garden
    The best time of year to get outdoors with your digital camera or smartphone is when the leaves begin to turn red and gold. Jack will discuss the capabilities and features of your camera or smartphone. You’ll learn tips for how to get maximum image quality and how to use a simple, no-cost method to add interest to any picture. Discover how to add drama and enhance your photos with shadows and angles by controlling light.


  • The Landscape Legacy of Jens Jensen
    Bill Tishler, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Jens Jensen was one of America's most distinguished landscape architects and a pioneering conservationist. During his long and productive career, this Danish-born visionary became internationally prominent for his design of landscapes throughout much of America, his numerous conservation achievements, and his philosophy that emphasized the significance of nature in the lives of people. Today, he is perhaps best known for establishing The Clearing on Wisconsin's scenic Door Peninsula. This unique learning environment embodies Jensen's philosophy of natural beauty and his vision for improving the human condition through a closer relationship with nature.


  • Designing Seasonal Containers
    Fran Krahl, Village Flower Shop
    Floral designer Fran Krahl will demonstrate how to transform your late summer porch pots and window boxes into stunning fall displays. Selecting plant materials from her garden, she will use dried hydrangea and other blooms, kale, grasses, bittersweet, sweet potato vine, and seasonal gourds and pumpkins to create containers that celebrate the beauty of autumn. Learn the fundamentals of design and create containers that reflect the beauty of each season.

LUNCH: 11:50 a.m. - 12:40 p.m.

SESSION B: 12:40 - 1:30 p.m.

  • Fantastic and Funky Favorite Spring-Blooming Bulbs
    Martha Smith, University of Illinois Extension
    Fall is the time for planting spring-blooming bulbs. Tulips and daffodils are always crowd pleasers, but there is a whole world of fantastic and funky spring-blooming bulbs beyond the traditional favorites. How about trying Nectaroscordum or Camassia? Horticulture educator Martha Smith will share the favorite uncommon bulbs she has discovered over the years.


  • Photograph Autumn Color Using Natural Light
    Jack Carlson, Certified Professional Photographer, Chicago Botanic Garden
    In autumn, gardens and fields turn into a patchwork quilt of color. Based on the time of day, light may be subtle, even, or dramatic. Each light level creates different degrees of contrast and shadow, and these require changes in camera settings. Learn how to capture these dramatic shadings using your camera or smartphone through effective use of light and contrast. The resulting images will be far and above the “point and shoot” level of photography.


  • Gardening with Conifers
    Gary Whittenbaugh, Lifetime Iowa Master Gardener
    Here’s your invitation to a whole new world of gardening. The conifer story is fascinating and unique. See how the color, texture, and form of conifers add year round beauty and contrast to gardens and landscapes. Fast growers screen your space, tiny buns add unusual shapes and textures, and distinctive forms make living sculptures. Come explore the world of conifers with us.


  • Patterns in Nature that Inspire Japanese Gardens and the Connection between Garden and Architecture
    Tim Gruner, Garden Curator, Anderson Japanese Gardens
    Much of what guides Japanese garden design is derived from patterns and rhythms found in nature and the human connection to the landscape. The general pattern formed by trees growing along streams and on slopes, the nature of a stream meandering and cascading down a mountain or winding through a gentle meadow, the gradual transition of the seasons marked by ephemeral blooms, humanity’s integration with nature, among many other things, all inform the designer of a Japanese garden.

SESSION C: 1:40 - 2:30 p.m.

  • The Plants of Reiman Gardens
    Aaron Steil, Assistant Director at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens
    Reiman Gardens features thousands of different plants across its 17 acres on Iowa State University’s campus in Ames. Each year the Gardens strive to show Iowans and fellow Midwesterners the best plants for their own gardens, whether they be trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, or tropical plants. Learn more about the tried and true plants that perform well at the Gardens and the most promising new plants and cultivars that the staff at Reiman Gardens are excited to grow.


  • Climate Change and Your Garden
    Ray Wolf, Scott County Master Gardener
    Set politics aside and learn about the science of climate change and what it means for our midwestern yards and gardens.


  • The Year-Round Garden
    Gary Whittenbaugh, Lifetime Iowa Master Gardener
    “On a nice day in the late fall, winter, or early spring, I love to take a stroll through my garden as there is so much to see,” comments Gary Whittenbaugh. If that doesn’t exactly describe what you see in your garden, let Gary show you how to bring beauty to your garden twelve months a year. You too can have a Year-Round Garden that is exciting and fun. Don’t miss this presentation!


  • Orchids—Not Just for the Jungle Anymore
    Cheryl Erins, Certified Orchid Judge, Chicago Judging center
    This session will cover types of orchids, especially those for home growing. Cheryl will share her passion for growing orchids and discuss what to look when purchasing and placing them in your home. Orchid care including light, water, and fertilizer requirements will be discussed as well as repotting techniques and treatments for common pests. Learn the answers to your questions and discover the joy of growing beautiful orchids in your home.


SESSION D: 2:40 - 3:30 p.m.

  • Prepare for Winter and Put the Garden to Bed
    Aaron Steil, Assistant Director at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens
    As winter approaches and the garden starts to wind down, many gardeners start thinking about preparations for the cold season that will give their garden the best start the following spring. Learn more about the tasks that should be on your list for the autumn—the things to do and the things that can (and should) wait until spring. These tips and advice will get your garden ready for a cold midwestern winter.


  • Sustainable Gardening
    Ray Wolf, Scott County Master Gardener
    Learn a number of simple and easy practices that you can do to make your garden more sustainable and environmentally and budget friendly.


  • Introduction to Bonsai
    Michael Harshman, President of Quad City Bonsai
    Michael Harshman will discuss many topics relating to bonsai. Participants will hear a brief history of bonsai, what it is, species used, artistic styles, tree care, training and pruning, examples of tools used, where to get bonsai trees, and much more. Time will be left near the end of the class for questions from the audience.


  • Keep your Lawn and Garden Tools in Shape
    Mark Geist, Geist Small Engine Service
    Mark will demonstrate how to clean and oil your tools, sharpen blades, care for wooden handles, and protect your equipment over the winter. Bring your favorite gardening tools—clippers, pruning shears, shovels, whatever—to this session and learn the skills to do it yourself at this hands-on class. Mark will also demonstrate the correct way to turn over a small lawnmower and remove its blade for sharpening. Whether you service your lawn equipment yourself or have it done, it’s important to understand what is involved for proper maintenance.