The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 20, 2010

Welcome, spring

Gardeners eager to try new ideas, products

DANVILLE — More than 140 area gardeners got an early peek at spring when the University of Illinois (Vermilion County Chapter) Master Gardeners sponsored their annual Garden Day Workshop recently at a new location — CrossRoads Christian Church.

According to organizers, vendors and attendees, the church at 3613 N. Vermilion was the perfect venue to showcase the natural beauties of the season.

“It was so generous for CrossRoads to let us use their facility,” said Claudia DeWitt, chair of Garden Day. “It gave us so much room for vendors and attendees. I think people are more than ready for spring this year, and the cost of our program was affordable enough for many to attend.”

“I’ve had a part in planning this event since I became a master gardener in 1993,” said John Bodensteiner, “and this is the best one yet. We have twice as many vendors as last year, and for the first time we didn’t have to turn people away. This is our main fundraiser of the year, which will help keep our programs and services viable.”

The Garden Day program included three speaker presentations, 25 local and area vendors from as far away as Bourbonnais and Brazil, Ind., 81 door prizes, more than 50 raffle prizes, and eight silent auction items — all donated by area businesses.

“Going green” was a prevalent theme promoted by the vendors. Michael Kilby of the Piatt County 4-H club was selling organic T-shirts that read “Go Green,” “Green Thumb” and “Green Tea.”

Charles Bedinger of Catlin sold his “Ewe Poo” organic sheep fertilizer, and attracted customers to his booth with a bottle-fed baby lamb. Besides marketing his 20-pound bags of the home-grown mulch for vegetables and flowers, the sheep farmer/entrepreneur has even packaged the odor-free and finely-ground fertilizer as novelty “candies.”

Sully Schultz Nursery of Tilton promoted its “Go Green With Schultz” weekend scheduled for May 15 and 16. Some of its environment-friendly efforts include a green roof project, selling organic fertilizers and weed control products, and promoting recycling.

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