How Does Your Garden Programming Grow?
Angela Hanshaw | March 23, 2010
This year I decided I was going to get serious about my garden. Admittedly, my garden is a bunch of containers on a patio, and I knew I was going to plant mostly vegetables this time, so it wouldn’t be terribly complex. Or so I thought, until I started my research. A quick check on my public library’s programs found a number that I would be interested in, but didn’t turn up anything on gardening. I started to wonder what other libraries were doing.
It turns out, a few libraries are, like me, focusing on vegetable gardens:
The Brook Park Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Cleveland, Ohio, hosted a program on March 1 on how to grow vegetables. Master gardeners showed patrons what they needed to get started, including how to select the best site, how to prepare the soil, the value of raised beds, and when to plant different vegetables.
- On March 8, the Uxbridge (Mass.) Free Public Library offered “Planning, Preparing & Planting Your Vegetable Garden” with Massachusetts master gardener Betty Sanders, who gave expert advice on ordering seeds, buying healthy plants, and preparing the soil before you begin.
I also found a number of general gardening programs and gardening series:
Jamestown Press gardening columnist and local author Roger Marshall presented “Grow Your Own Garden This Year” on March 18 at the Jamestown (R.I.) Philomenian Library. Marshall covered a variety of topics for beginning and established gardeners, including starting seeds, manures and composts, staking plants, and harvesting.
"Plants: What? Where? When?” with master gardener Peggy Shaver will be held on April 14 at the Hoyt Library in Saginaw, Michigan. Patrons will learn how to use annuals, biennials, perennials, ornamental grasses, bulbs, shrubs, and evergreens in their gardens to create interest, texture, and variety in their landscapes.
The Lake County Public Library in Merrillville, Indiana, offers a series that will run from spring until next fall and covers such topics as gardening on a shoestring, new plants for adventurous gardeners, hydrangeas, attracting hummingbirds, irises, hostas, pruning, and fall lawn care.
The Flower Mound (Tex.) Public Library is hosting the 2010 Denton County Master Gardener Association spring series on Wednesdays from March 3 through April 7. The sessions will cover a variety of gardening topics, including Earth-kind landscaping, square-foot gardening, garden art, caterpillar gardening with native plants, and fire ant control, presented by prominent experts in the field.
The Sterling (Colo.) Public Library’s gardening series started with “The Good, the Bad, and Ugly,” with master gardener Cassie Kailey on observing and analyzing your site, bringing unity to the landscape,and defining your space. Three more sessions will be offered, including a session on composting.
In April, the Knox County Public Library in Vincennes, Indiana, will be starting its “Grow Organic: You CAN Grow It!” series, which will show patrons ways they can grow their own food, despite limited time, space, or money. Programs include “Easy Garden Building Projects,” “Recycling for the Garden,” “Organic Container Gardening,” and “Edible Gardening for Small Spaces."
The Seekonk (Mass.) Public Library is holding two talks on gardening with Larry Hindle of Evergreen Tree and Landscaping. On March 27 patrons can learn about planting and maintaining a vegetable garden, and on April 3 they can return for pointers on creating beautiful perennial gardens.
The Forsyth County Public Library in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, launched its gardening series with programs in March on rain gardens and successful vegetable gardening.
A few offered more specialized gardening programs:
The San Mateo (Calif.) County Library (scroll down to see list) is offering a number of programs about gardening with native plants at its branches, including sustainable landscaping, native plants for beginners, native plants in containers, and native plants for attracting diverse wildlife.
The Stoughton (Wisc.) Public Library offered a butterfly gardening program with The Flower Factory owner Nancy Nedveck that featured a slide show of flowering plants suggested for attracting and maintaining butterflies in your garden. For the vegetable gardeners, the library will be hosting a program in April on preserving and canning food with Polly Reott, and avid gardener and certified master food preserver.
Offering a slightly different slant on gardening programming, the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County in Angola, Indiana, is hosting an evening on April 12 with the “Garden Gals,” who mix fiction and food as they review authors who use food, herbs, and gardening as a basis for their novels. Patrons will leave with wonderful culinary ideas (along with recipes). The library also has a display of gardening and food books.
Not a program, but something I had to add: The Wayne County Public Library in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in conjunction with other community organizations, has gone for gardening in a big way by hosting the Wayne Community Garden on its grounds. Visit the link for images from the garden’s first spring workday.
Want to do a little gardening research on your own? Check out the National Gardening Association. (Did you know that April is National Garden Month? I didn’t, until I visited the site.) For those in urban areas, I highly recommend offering programming on using sub-irrigated planters. And don’t forget to look for partners, from gardening-related businesses in your community, to local botanic gardens, to gardening extension programs.
Have a gardening program or gardening resources you’d like to share? Leave a comment!
Angela Hanshaw is Program Officer/Web Editor for the ALA Public Programs Office.