Citywide News

Posted on: January 20, 2017

Registration for Growing Great Gardens now open

Growing Great Gardens volunteers 2016.JPG

Registration is open for the ninth annual Growing Great Gardens conference from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.) on Saturday, March 11, at the Wayne County Community College, 21000 Northline in Taylor. Hosted by The Taylor Conservatory Foundation, Taylor Garden Club and Wayne County Community College District-Downriver Campus, the event kicks off the garden season in a big way, with over 400 people attending each year. 

“It is the largest gardening symposium in Southeast Michigan, and signifies the coming of spring for those who like to get their hands in the dirt” states Nancy Smith, co-chair of the event.

Attendees can look forward to a high-value day of learning, fun surprises, prizes, shopping and socializing, all for the best price around. There is something for everyone —from the person who wants to try gardening for the first time, to the gardening professional who wants to learn the latest in garden trends. The event also provides 5 education hours (6 if you take the optional lunch and learn) for Master Gardeners.  “We try to make Growing Great Gardens an event that gardeners look forward to each year, with a mix of wonderful speakers, interesting topics and plenty of time for networking and shopping” said Patricia Donahue, executive director of the Taylor Conservatory Foundation

Kerry Ann Mendez, a nationally reknown author and garden designer from Maine kicks off the event with “Gardening Simplified: Exceptional Plants and Design Solutions for Time-Pressed & Maturing Gardeners”. Mendez will provide easy-to follow strategies to “right-size” your garden, recommend no-fuss plant material and design tips for stunning year-round gardens that will be a close to ‘autopilot’ as you can get.  Mendez will close the afternoon session with a presentation perfect for the suburban yard- “Heavenly Plants for Hellstrips”. You know, that little strip of real estate between the sidewalk and street? She will show you which plants will thrive in your little patch of hellstrip, so it looks heavenly!  Mendez will also be on hand in the Garden Marketplace to sell and autograph her book, the Right Sized Flower Garden, which is the inspiration for her morning  presentation.

Brie Gluvna Arthur, popular speaker and professional horticulturist from North Carolina, will round out the morning sessions with “Foodscaping Revolution: Finding a Better Way to include Food and Beauty in Your Garden”.  When she is not propagating plants at Camellia Forest Nursery, Brie travels the country extolling the virtues of ornamental and edible plants in the landscape

Back by popular demand for 2 classes is Dr. Laura Deeter, horticulture professor from The Ohio State University. Ms. Deeter will present in the afternoon, with her fun, original take on “The Dirt on Soil Science: Don’t Run, Don’t Hide-it’s not your high school science class!” Deeter promises you leave this class with a new appreciation on the importance of good soil and how to improve it, and you laugh a lot in the process. Deeter will also present “The Proof is in the Pollinators” a 45-minute “Lunch and Learn” that tells participants why pollinators are important, and what we can do as gardeners and citizens to attract more of them to your gardens. The Lunch and Learn is available to paid registrants only (for an additional $10)  Space for the optional program is first come-first serve and limited to the first 150 registrants.

Visitors can also shop the Garden Marketplace, which is free and open to the public from 8-4 p.m. “You don't have to be registered for the seminar to shop with more than 30 new and returning top-quality vendors” states Sherry Soja-Molloy, vendor coordinator for the event. Products include fanciful garden art, stepping stones, birdhouses, teas, indoor plants, soaps, baskets, garden tools, local honey and jam, and jewelry.

Prizes can be won by sporting the best looking garden hat or wearing your most outrageous Irish themed costume or clothing.

“Growing Great Gardens is a wonderful event that we are proud to sponsor”, states Luba Sitar, Education Manager at ITC Holdings. .“We stand behind organizations that are committed to promoting education and strengthening their communities.”

Registration is $45, until January 31, and $55 after. Fee includes four presentations, a healthy and delicious box lunch, and a chance to win many garden-related door prizes. Pre-registration is required. An optional fifth class is available for an additional $10.  Details and registration available at, or contact: Pattie Kehr, 313-715-8316.

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