The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 2, 2013

Gardening workshop ushers in spring


DANVILLE — Area residents will be able to shrug off the winter doldrums and catch a breath of spring at the Garden Day Workshop and Spring Festival on March 9 in Danville.

The day-long event, sponsored by the Vermilion County Master Gardeners, will be at CrossRoads Christian Church, 3613 N. Vermilion St., from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the cost is $14 for the program.

Anyone interested in gardening can visit the vendors throughout the day at no charge, even if they don’t sign up for the workshop.

A homemade lunch prepared by the Master Gardeners will be available from 11:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. for a $6 donation. The menu includes soups, sandwiches, chips, drinks and dessert.

Workshop participants will have an opportunity to hear the three keynote speakers and receive a tote bag packed with lots of goodies, including gardening gloves, coupons to area garden centers and handout materials on gardening.

There will be two dozen vendors selling plants, gardening tools, compost, books, jewelry, garden art, herb-based soaps and other items. There also will be a raffle with dozens of door prizes, and a silent auction.

Some of the vendors include The Herb Basket, Veronica Stephen Artwork (new vendor), Mandy and Me Garden and Art Supplies, Altrussa Design 2000, Tooles Jewels, Berry’s Garden Center, Ms. Becky’s, Ewe Poo Composting, Geil Homestead, Schuren Nursery, Designs by Diane, Lynn Smith (photos, prints and cards), and Keep Vermilion County Beautiful.

Claudia DeWitt, chair of the event, said, “This is a good opportunity to get out of the house on a winter day and help the Vermilion County Extension Service at the same time. We have another lineup of wonderful speakers and vendors, as well as many door prizes and silent auction items. A special thank you goes out to the businesses and vendors who support this event every year.”

Featured workshop speakers include:

--Charlie Collom on Seed Starting Made Easy. Collom is a Master Gardener and works at the Mega Greenhouse Store in Tilton. He has many years of experience in the greenhouse industry, including time at Burgoyne’s in Georgetown.

--Mark Davidson on The Tree Factor. Known as the “Tree Man” in Montgomery County, Davidson has planted close to 1 million trees. He accomplished this in part with an innovative tree seedling planter he designed and developed for reforestation projects. In 2001, he purchased what became known as the Davidson Nursery, Inc., a family business. He has grown and nurtured his clientele by offering a large variety of exotic plants and herbs, including his well-known varieties of scented geraniums.

Davidson grew up in the greenhouse business and established a landscaping business in 1989, which has grown and prospered over 20 years.

--Dr. Tom Turpin on Bugs that Survived the Summer of 2012. Turpin, who is a professor at Purdue University, was the 2007 recipient of the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to the Rural People of Indiana. He was cited for being an outstanding educator and communicator who has taught thousands of people in various audiences about the importance of insects and the roles they play in agriculture.

The Vermilion County Master Gardeners, started in 1992, has about 70 members who work to bring horticultural information, based on U of I research, to the gardening public. Their mission is to organize and volunteer for garden-related projects that help increase the public’s understanding of gardening for the enhancement of Vermilion County.

Those interested can register for the workshop online at or by calling the U of I Extension Office at 442-8615. Those interested also can mail their name, address and phone number along with a $20 check (includes lunch) to: U of I Extension Office, 3164 N. Vermilion St., Danville, IL 61832.

For information, call DeWitt at 283-7161.