2024 Smart Gardening Conference

March 9, 2024 9:00AM - 5:00PM

Registration Deadline: March 1, 2024 - 11:45PM

Wayne County Community College District, Ted Scott Campus Atrium, 9555 Haggerty Rd., Belleville, M 48111


Contact: Diane Brady

Cost:  $100.00

We hope you will join us for an unforgettable day packed with fascinating and inspirational topics entailing big garden designs for small spaces, the lesser-known origins of our beloved garden staples, a buzz-worthy exploration of fascinating insects and “smart plant” combos that will captivate you with a cavalcade of colorful images.  

Whether you're a seasoned horticulturist or just getting your roots wet, this conference promises inspiration and discoveries that will have you itching to get back in the garden!

Register by March 1 to reserve your seat. Please indicate in your registration if you would like to be considered for a partial scholarship or if you would like to be a sponsor for the conference. 

Payment by credit card or check. To allow for processing time, checks (made out to Michigan State University) must be postmarked by Feb. 20. 

WELCOME - What is Smart Gardening?   Presenters:  Lindsey Kerr, Caitlin Splawski and Barbara Gregerson, MSU Extension Horticulture Educators, Southeast Michigan

The Butterfly Effect:  Micro Plantings for Macro Impact  Presenter:  Dr. Jared Barnes, Creator of Meristem Horticulture, Plant*Ed blog, and the Plantastic Podcast

Jared Barnes, Ph. D., started gardening when he was five years old, and since then he has enthusiastically pursued how to best cultivate plants and cultivate minds.  He currently fulfills those passions as an award-winning associate professor of horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX.  He is also the host of The Plantastic Podcast, and writes a weekly newsletter titled plant•ed.  He will share his expertise on the little things you can do as a gardener that will have a big impact in your garden and on the environment as a whole. Learn about big garden designs for small spaces.

Local Panel on Urban Agriculture and Gardening,  Hosted by Barslund Judd, with panelists Maria Larchaga, Wendy Casey and Emily Cunningham

Panelists will share with you the successes and challenges they have experienced growing food and flowers in an urban setting including city ordinances, a range of pest and disease pressures and other trials you may face to have a thriving garden in urban and suburban environments. Our panelists include:  Maria Larchaga, an Advanced Extension Master Gardener who works with Farm City Detroit, Wendy Casey, Director of Earthworks Urban Farm and Emily Cunningham, Executive Director of Growing Pontiac.

What "Mite" the Problem Be?  The Fascinating Lives of Gall-forming Insects and Mites  Presenter:  Duke Elsner, Ph. D. (The Bug Guy), Michigan State University Extension Emeritus

In most areas of Michigan there are hundreds of species of gall-forming mites or insects that live in your gardens and on your landscape plants. Most of these insects and mites cause little to no harm to the plants they inhabit. We’ll take a look into the interesting life cycles of these fascinating bugs that are all around us. Learn how to recognize some of the most common types of gall-forming insects and mites and recognize their role in our ecosystem.

Captivating Combinations - Plants and Garden Designs to Inspire  Presenter:  Rebecca Finneran, MSU Extension Senior Consumer Horticulture Educator

Nothing thrills a gardener more than seeing beautiful images of plants and garden designs.  Join Senior Horticulture Educator, Rebecca Finneran on an exploration of thrilling gardens as she shares with you a cavalcade of images and "smart plant combos" from her vast travels and garden design experience.  You may find that having one of everything may not be the best way to present your favorites.

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