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Chilton - With the coming of spring and the start of a new growing season, Master Gardener chapters in east central Wisconsin counties are promoting attendance at their educational events on Saturdays during the next few weeks.

The first of these is being held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on March 11 at the University of Wisconsin campus in Manitowoc in cooperation with the school's office of continuing education. Titled “Garden Expo 2017,” it is being held for the 3rd year.

Sessions of 50 minutes each are scheduled on hot new plants and garden trends for 2017, growing perennials in containers, building a bulb lawn, landscape design, and a brief history of the West of the Lake Gardens in Manitowoc.

The day's keynote speaker is Benjamin Futa, an Indiana native who has been the director of the Allen Centennial Garden at the University of Wisconsin – Madison since May of 2015. His presentation is titled “Brown is a Color Too.”

Tickets for the event, which will also feature a group of vendors, are $12. They are available at Festival Foods in Manitowoc, online at https://ce.uwc.edu/manitowoc/catalog, by phone at 920-683-4702, or by e-mail to suzanne.lawrence@uws.edu.

Fond du Lac on March 18

A week later, the Fond du Lac County Master Gardeners are holding their annual “Day in the Garden” on March 18 at the UW – Fond du Lac administrative building at 400 University Drive. Related activities will be a vendor show, a silent auction, and a raffle.

Starting at 8:45 am, four presentations are scheduled. Gardening for pollinators and beneficial insects is the first of them. The presenter will be Allen Pyle, the staff horticulturist for the Jung Seed Company.

Madison resident Megan Cain of The Creative Vegetable Gardener (a blog and website) will share ideas for the design of a creative vegetable garden, Tina Nohl of The Wreath Factory at Plymouth will describe how to use nature's resources in arrangements and decorations, and Monches Farms landscape architect and garden center manager Zannah Crowe of Colgate will offer suggestions for selection of “Foolproof Perennials.”

The early registration fee of $40, which includes a lunch, is available until today (Friday, Feb. 24) before the fee goes to $45.. Send a check payable to Fond du Lac County Master Gardeners to UW Extension Fond du Lac County, Attn: DIG Registration, 227 Administration/Ext. Building, 400 University Drive, Fond du Lac 54935. Call Tina Englehardt at (920) 929-3171 for more information.

Outagamie on April 1

On April 1, the Outagamie County Master Gardeners will hold their 2017 Garden Conference at Liberty Hall in Kimberly. Starting at 8am, five speakers are scheduled for the day.

The keynote speaker will be Brian Hudelson, the director of the plant disease diagnostic clinic at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His topic will be the plant diseases in vegetables.

Straw bale gardening will be described by author and landscape horticulturist Jim Beard. Photographer and local Master Gardener member David Calle will review the historical garden design principles that can be used by today's gardeners.

Growing a landscape of edible plants will be outlined by Whistler's Knoll Vineyard owner Holly Boettcher of Hortonville. Outagamie County Master Gardener member Kathy Baum will share some of her garden tips, tricks, and techniques.

For an additional service fee of $3.25, registration is online at ocmga.net for $45, which includes a buffet lunch, snacks, and attendance prizes. The alternative is to download and print the brochure and mail the payment.

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