Winter gardening symposium offered in East Lansing on Jan. 28, 2017

The Capital Area Master Gardeners Annual Winter Symposium is a perfect opportunity to meet with old and new gardening friends, attend great programs and browse a garden marketplace.

This time of year, in addition to poring over new seed and plant catalogs, gardeners look for programs to add to their store of knowledge before the growing season gets underway. The Capital Area Master Gardeners have created a perfect opportunity to learn more about important gardening topics in a very enjoyable setting. The Capital Area Master Gardeners Annual Winter Symposium on Jan. 28, 2017, will be at the Molecular Plant Sciences Building on the Michigan State University campus, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing, MI 48824. All sessions will be in MPS 1200, which is the new tiered classroom/auditorium.

The registration fee for the day-long symposium is $40 for Capital Area Master Gardener members, $50 for non-members actively certified as Extension Master Gardeners, and $55 for all others. This includes lunch, light morning snacks, a garden marketplace and program materials, plus a chance to win great door prizes! The symposium qualifies for five Master Gardener education hours.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “It’s All About…Seasons. The lineup of speakers and topics include:

  • A Change in Thought with Jan Bills, owner of Two Women and a Hoe and author of “Late Bloomer: How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life.” Learn how to garden for all seasons beginning with basic design principles, sustainable tips for the garden and gardener, and right plant-right place concepts. Enjoy interesting, invigorating and fun new approaches to gardening in 2017.
  • Berries, Bugs and Snags with Rosann Kovalcik, Michigan Audubon Society board member and owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Grosse Pointe Woods. This session will teach you to garden with birds in mind, providing important stop-over habitat for migrant birds as well as suitable, year-round habitat for resident birds. Learn the value of native plants and how they relate to birds that visit your yard.
  • The Late Show with Cheryl English, Wildflower Association of Michigan board member, Advanced Master Gardener and owner of Black Cat Pottery. Fall is often a difficult time in the Midwestern garden, unless you look to native plants. From asters to goldenrod, learn how you can extend your gardening season through the judicious selection of Michigan species at their best for the most exciting late show of all.
  • The Science and Art of Pruning with Chuck Martin, senior horticulturist at Dow Gardens. Gardeners appreciate that to cultivate healthy plants, they have to understand the science of plant health. Pruning is a cultural practice that demonstrates how gardeners bring science and art together. Part of pruning is timing, which will be explored along with other aspects of this art form.

To register for the symposium, download the brochure 2017 Capital Area Master Gardeners Winter Symposium and send in the registration form by Jan. 21. Checks and money orders are accepted as payment. Visit the Capital Area Master Gardeners website for information about hotel rooms, vendors who will be at the conference (as they become available), a link to a map and more. If you have further questions, please email

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