Linn County Master Gardener Brenda Garbe, left, discusses primroses with Catherine Thompson of the Cedar Valley African Violet Club at the 2022 Winter Gardening Fair. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Headliners, including Iowa PBS gardening show host Aaron Steil, have been announced for the 2023 Linn County Master Gardener’s Winter Gardening Fair, along with a new feature.

Registration is now open for the 18th annual event, set for 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Kirkwood Regional Center, 1770 Boyson Road, Hiawatha, Iowa. 

Tuition is $59 for the all-day gardening fair, and student rate is $30 for high school or college students. Lunch is included.

See photos from the 2022 Winter Gardening Fair

More than 70 gardening workshops will be presented by Iowa gardening experts and talented local Master Gardeners. Fifty of the 70 sessions will be new topics.

Read on for more about the 2023 event, from Linn County ISU Extension & Outreach:

Linn County Master Gardener Karla McGrail, left, assists participants in building native bee houses during the 2022 Winter Gardening Fair in Hiawatha, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The Linn County Master Gardeners are proud to present expert speakers, including Aaron Steil, the Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist at Iowa State University.  He’s also the host of “Gardening with Steil” on PBS and a regular guest on Iowa Public Radio’s weekly “Hort Friday” segment. Aaron will be teaching classes on “Waking the Garden in Spring” and “Water-Wise Gardening in Iowa.”

Scott Koepke is the founder of Garden Bridge Outreach, an interactive garden life skill education program serving primarily social service agencies and correctional facilities in the corridor. He also co-founded the hunger relief farm Grow Johnson County. Scott will be teaching a class called “From Soil to Soul: The Healing of Gardening.”

Other top-notch speakers include Nick McGrath, a field coordinator at Trees Forever.  He has assisted Iowans in replanting efforts after the August 2020 derecho. Nick will be teaching “Planting Trees for Tomorrow.” 

Kacie Waters is a Natural Resources Field Specialist for ISU Extension. She works to create natural resources education programs and also assists in the coordination of the Iowa Master Conservationist Program.  She will be teaching “Gardening and Wildlife” and “Edible Ground Cover Lawn Alternatives.”

Kristine Nemec is a program director at the UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center. Kristine’s class is “Add Balance to Your Blooms: Why Native Plants, including Native Grasses, Matter.”

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at ISU, Dr. Suzanne Slack will teach “Unusual Berries for Iowa” and “How to Fight Fire (blight) in Apple and Pear Trees.”

Emelia Sautter is a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide. She will be presenting a class on “Nature and Forest Therapy.”

Emmaly Renshaw’s passion for growing local food systems and improving food access for all families led her to be the Executive Director of Feed Iowa First. Emmaly will be talking about “Regenerative Gardening – Retire the Tiller for Better Soil Health.”

A Question and Answer session will be offered with Aaron Steil, Kaycie Waters, and Dr. Suzanne Slack. And new this year is a Seed Swap. Bring your extra seeds and swap them for different ones. We’ll accept seeds from your garden or labeled packages of seeds three years old or less.

Workshop topics range from creating black gold: compost, square foot gardening, houseplant care, and ponds and water features. Hands-on classes include how to make a succulent fairy garden and how to make a native bee house. For complete class descriptions and registration, go to

There will be numerous gardening vendors and non-profit organizations to visit before, during and after the classes as well.

Registration includes your choice of five classes, and a box lunch. Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center is located at 1770 Boyson Road in Hiawatha, Iowa. This location is completely handicap accessible, and parking is on the north side of the building. Registration fills up quickly, so don’t delay. Deadline is  February 10, 2023.

The Iowa State Extension and Outreach carries Iowa State’s land-grant mission throughout all 99 counties of Iowa. They provide education and partnerships designed to solve today’s problems and prepare for the future by feeding people, keeping them healthy, helping their communities to prosper and thrive, and turning the world over to the next generation better than we found it. Master Gardeners are passionate about serving their communities and sharing gardening best practices. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners.

A participant adds finishing touches to her fairy garden during a session led by Josh Spece of In the Country Garden & Gifts during the 2022 Winter Gardening Fair. (photo/Cindy Hadish)