So many incredible lectures are planned at area libraries in coming weeks.
Already, the Linn County Master Gardeners have started their spring library talks, listed here.
Three free lectures, presented by ISU Extension and Outreach Linn County Master Gardeners, also will take place this month, at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.
The talks will be in Whipple Auditorium at the library, 450 5th Ave. SE. No registration is required.
Here are details about the upcoming events:
Thursday • MARCH 12 • 6:30pm–8:30pm
presented by: Kelly Norris
Horticultural Theatre: Creating, Staging and Directing Plant-Driven Performances
In the world of public horticulture, crafting beautiful exhibitions and award-winning gardens often involves a certain amount of theatre—staging and presenting plants for memorable and inspiring displays. From forcing to pinching to black cloths and welders, garden craftsmen around the world employ artistry and science in the pursuit of horticultural excellence. In this lecture, Kelly Norris takes you into the head houses, greenhouses and nurseries behind the scenes that just might inspire you to think about your own garden as staged production—whether scripted or improvisational.
KELLY’S BIO: Kelly D. Norris is a 20-something, award-winning author and plantsman from Iowa and the first horticulture manager at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, a newly revitalized 14-acre public garden in Des Moines, Iowa. He’s popularly known for his book: A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts. As a speaker, hehas garnered acclaim for his high-energy, zealous presentations on the national stage, leading many to call him one of the rising stars of American horticulture. Kelly’s unique 10 years of experience in the industry began at age 15 when he talked his parents into buying a nursery (Rainbow Iris Farm), and in that time he’s become one of the few gurus on marketing horticulture to emerging demographics. Kelly is the youngest person to receive the Iowa State Horticultural Society’s Presidential Citation, Award of Merit and Honor Award in the organization’s 150 year history. In 2011, he was also honored by the Perennial Plant Association with the Young Professional Award. In 2013, he won the Iowa Author Award for Special Interest Writing, the youngest Iowan to be recognized in the history of the awards program. His love for exploration has taken him to the wilds of southern and central Texas, the Ozarks, the Black Hills, and all over the Midwest in search of new plants for gardens. Kelly holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in horticulture from Iowa State University.
Thursday • MARCH 19 • 6:30pm–8:30pm
presented by: Cathy Wilkinson Barash
Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate
Flowers are commonly used as fancy garnishes—for their looks rather than their flavor. Unfortunately, sometimes the flowers used are not edible, and sometimes even toxic. Have your ever eaten a flower? Before answering, consider this: Daylilies are standard ingredients in Chinese hot-and-sour soup; chamomile and hibiscus are the basis for different herbal teas (chamomile and Red Zinger teas). In Europe, candied violets and rose petals are favorite breath fresheners. Do you remember sucking the nectar out of honeysuckle blossoms when you were a child? All are edible flowers. Author of the award-winning book Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate, Cathy Wilkinson Barash (best known as The Blooming Gourmet) will take you on a tour of the colorful and flavorful world of edible flowers. These dual-purpose blooms (pretty in the garden and fabulous in the kitchen) go beyond great garnishes – their flavors range from floral to vegetal, sweet to spicy, herbal and beyond. Discover what you may be already growing that you can cook with, too! This presentation highlights some common and favorite blooms of the 90+ edible flowers. Accompanied by luscious photography of each flower in the garden and mouth-watering images of a completed dish, it is sure to get your culinary and horticultural juices flowing.
CATHY’S BIO: Cathy Wilkinson Barash is a life-long organic gardener. From childhood she has held firm a belief in economy of space and time in the garden mainly by planting edibles among ornamentals, “so many fruits, vegetables, and herbs are beautiful themselves”—instead of relegating them to the back 40. Anne Raver of The New York Times was the first to call her a “gourmet horticulturist,” as she practices edible landscaping—specializing in edible flowers—and is a gourmet cook. Since 1986 Cathy has managed her own successful freelance business as a photographer, writer, author of 12 books, designer, and professional speaker. She is best known as the author of Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate, which Martha Stewart described as “very excellent.” Published in 1993, Edible Flowers was nominated for a Julia Child Cookbook Award and garnered an Award of Excellence from the Garden Writers Association. Her photographs have appeared in hundreds of books, magazines, newspapers, and many calendars. Cathy has written articles for numerous newspapers and magazines. As a nationally acclaimed speaker, her topics include her book subjects, travelogues, low maintenance and edible landscaping, edible aquatics, and container growing.
Thursday • MARCH 26 • 6:30pm–8:30pm
presented by: Diane Ott Whealy
Heirloom Gardening in Iowa
Diane Ott Whealy, an expert gardener and co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) – the nation’s premier nonprofit seed-saving organization – will discuss the history of the organization located in Northeast Iowa. She will share her experience as a leader in the renaissance of heirloom gardening in North America, as well as tips for designing and planting the perfect combination of flowers, vegetables and herbs for Iowa gardens. Her lessons can be applied to gardens large or small and will emphasize self-seeding annuals, seed saving, and creating a sustainable as well as edible landscape. Her presentation will be illustrated by photographs from the founding of SSE over 40 years ago as well as her current cottage-style garden at SSE’s Heritage Farm near Decorah, IA.
DIANE’S BIO: Diane Ott Whealy co-founded Seed Savers Exchange with Kent Whealy in 1975. She has been a national leader in the heirloom seed movement and a strong advocate for the protection of the earth’s rare genetic food stocks for nearly 40 years. In 1986 she helped develop Heritage Farm, SSE’s scenic 890-acre headquarters near Decorah, Iowa to maintain and display endangered varieties. Today she is a featured speaker at garden shows and botanical gardens throughout the country. In June 2011, she published “Gathering: Memoir of a Seed Saver,” which tells the story of how SSE has grown from a small coterie of passionate gardeners to one of the most active and effective seed saving organizations in the world.
The Creative Gardening Series is presented by the Linn County Extension Master Gardeners, a dedicated group of volunteers, trained by Iowa State University. They share their horticulture knowledge with the community through demonstrations, classes like the Creative Gardening Series, events and the Hortline. For unbiased, research-based answers to your horticulture questions call the Hortline: 319.447.0647.