Lily judge Wanda Lunn will explain the differences between a variety of lilies during one of the gardening library talks in April 2018. Lunn’s half-acre yard includes lilies and other flowers. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

This month is off to a cold start in Iowa, but gardening season is not far away. The Linn County Master Gardeners and other experienced gardeners will share their expertise during talks at area libraries in April 2018, which are free and open to the public.

See the list of talks here:

Linn County Master Gardeners will present a series of workshops at the Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids. The free workshops include information on a variety of spring gardening topics. Each program is from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and registration is not required.

April 4: Raised Bed Gardening
No space for a garden? You can plant enough vegetables in a 4’x4’ garden to feed 2 people or 4’x8’ for a family of 4. Hate the weeding and bug control? Having trouble getting up from the ground? Raised bed gardening is for you. Learn the how-to’s with Deb Walser.

April 11: Herbs for the Butterflies
Judy Bemer will match herbs to butterflies in our area. She will share a couple of projects that are easy to make and will also provide herbal treats.

April 18: Spring Garden Maintenance
Wake your Landscape up; it’s spring. Time to get your yard, landscape and gardens ready for another growing season, but how do I start?” Join Master Gardener Wil Carew as he covers what to do, when to do it, and why!

April 25: Your Backyard is for the Birds
The presentation will concentrate on the needs of birds and what will attract them to your yard. The focus will be on the most popular birds for Iowans. The year round enjoyment of birds is the objective, by Master Gardener Devon Dietz.

Linn County Master Gardeners will present a series of talks at the Lisbon Library, 101 E. Main St., from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in April, and one at the Coggon Library, 216 E. Main St., on April 17.

April 4: Pleasing the Bees and Butterflies: Planting for Pollinators
Speaker: Devon Dietz. Class Description: Our lives on Planet Earth are intertwined with those of many creatures, including pollinators like bees and butterflies. But pollinators and their habitats are disappearing. Learn about the bees and butterflies and other pollinators, what’s happening to them, what’s being done to save them, and how you can help by planting beautiful plants in your garden.

Helping pollinators, such as butterflies, will be a topic during the Master Gardener library talks in April 2018. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

April 11: Raised Bed Gardening
Speaker: Deb Walser. Class Description: No space for a garden? You can plant enough vegetables in a 4’x4’ garden to feed 2 people or 4’x8’ for a family of 4. Hate the weeding and bug control? Having trouble getting up from the ground? Raised bed gardening is for you.  Learn the How-tos with Deb Walser.

April 18: Containers – Beyond Thrillers, spillers, fillers
Speaker: Cindy Fagan. Class Description: Come to this class to learn how to elevate your container arrangements in dramatic ways!

April 25: Choosing True Lilies for Your Garden
Speaker: Wanda Lunn. Class Description: Explaining the difference between Asiatics, Orientals, Trumpets, Martagons, Species etc. Lots of photos of the 290 True Lilies I grow in my garden. Over view of choosing, planting & care for sun vs shade. I am a very active member of the Iowa Regional Lily Society . I am also an accredited Lily Judge with the North American Lily Society and have judged at 9 International Lily Shows in the US and Canada. In 2016, I won the Best Lily in North America at the NALS Lily Show in Chicago.

April 17 (Coggon Library) The Best of Annuals and Perennials in 2018
Speaker: Deb Walser. Class Description: Add the spice of life to your gardens. Perennial gardens do not have to be just daylily and hosta. We will talk about mixing it up by adding annuals for constant color in the same bed. LCMG Deb Walser will introduce you to some of the newest and coolest annuals and perennials. You will be surprised by some of the same but in a new way. Come and get new ideas for this spring and add some spunk to your garden.

Gardening experts will present the Creative Gardening Series on three Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. at Whipple Auditorium in the downtown Cedar Rapids Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE.

April 5: A Place for Escape
Speaker: Kathy Wilson, B.A., M.A. During the 1700s, formal gardens were all the rage with wealthy Britons and Americans, but by the early 19th century, they had fallen out of favor. Still, it would be another 60 years before country gardens, as most Americans Know them, found a place in middle and upper-class residential landscapes. What caused these transformations? How did those highly-structured gardens become places of controlled chaos hidden behind high walls, where emotion, not logic dictated the landscape? Join historian Kathy Wilson to learn the answers to these questions and others, and discover the roots of the quintessential English country garden.

April 12: Beyond the Herb Rack: Using Herbs Creatively in the Vegetable Garden
Speaker: Megan Cain. There are few greater delights than grabbing a handful of fresh herbs to complete your evening meal. And creatively incorporating herbs into your garden design can help elevate your garden from ordinary to extraordinary. Megan will share the simple step by step process of building an herb spiral to add structure and interest to your garden, how to artistically mix herbs into your plantings, unique and colorful varieties to grow, and super easy ways o preserve herbs for off-season use.

April 19: The Layered Landscape
Speaker: Rhonda Fleming Hayes. Learn how to use a variety of plants to increase wildlife habitat and visual interest while decreasing maintenance. Rhonda Fleming Hayes is a native Californian with southern roots living in Minnesota. She is a writer and Master Gardener who has learned how to “bloom where she is planted.” She will be discussing how to add a variety of native plants and plant structures as lawn alternative in our Iowa backyards.