Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 EMG Educ. Conference

Just finished up with the annual Extension Master Gardener's conference here in Manhattan the last couple of days, and a rousing time of camaraderie was had by all! 

The conference here was kicked off by a great keynote speech by David Salman, the President and Chief Horticulturist of High Country Gardens.  David's opener was an interesting discussion of the principles of xeriscape gardening, with many illustrations of plants that will grow in Manhattan. It was really great to hear from a gardener who sees less rainfall than we do here in Manhattan, and one so dedicated to preserving our water resources and helping us design beautiful landscaping.  David's nursery has a blog as well, appropriately titled The Xeric Gardener.

I went to several talks, but my personal "education time" this year was cut short because I gave two talks myself.  I did one presentation about the process of writing a book and blog, in concert with Local Extension Agent Gregg Eyestone, who writes a weekly newspaper column and contributes to Riley County Extension's blog.  I did another talk on growing Hardy Roses in Kansas, and then repeated it the next hour in a second slot since it had been a couple of years since a rose topic had been on the agenda.  Had a great time and some good give and take in all those sessions, and I also enjoyed talking with other Kansas blogging friends such as GaiaGardener.

I've got enough canned talks now on roses and other topics that I'm thinking of sacrificing one of the separate pages of this blog to put up the PDF's of those talks for others to view. What do you think? Good idea or not interesting?

As far as the talks I attended for personal gain, I learned why I haven't been doing well with raspberries (DON'T GROW HERITAGE IN KANSAS), I learned about the basics of tissue culturing from a retired engineer whose home propagation setup is good enough to be a Homeland Security nightmare, and I learned a bit more about the theory of color and design in the landscape.

Along those lines, for those readers who are not Extension Master Gardener's, consider this a plug for joining and contributing to your local groups, wherever they may be across the nation.  Yes, you have to put in a little community service along the way, but that time is well paid back by the network of local gardeners you engage.  Where else do you get the opportunity to spend two days playing hookey from our day jobs and pretend you have entered the wonderful world of full-time gardening for pleasure?   


  1. You must have been in your element. I bet it was fun. I miss those times. I gave a lecture (which turned into a bad interview) one time to a group of master gardeners about pesticides and proper use. It was not well received in this day of "green" thinking, and that was 10 years ago. David Salman would have been a good speaker to see. I have purchased a few plants from him. Good post.

  2. I've purchased a few from Salman as well....mostly grasses, some perennials. I haven't had as good of luck with the Agastache as I'd hoped. My current experiment are 3 Texas Red Yucca's and one Yellow Yucca (Hesperaloe sp.) , all of which have survived their first winter and droughty summer here and seem to be expanding. No flowers yet, may be a couple of years.

  3. Great post. I enjoyed talking with you and our other fellow Kansas bloggers (and future bloggers) as well. The conference was a lot of fun.

    I happened to run into David Salman at lunch on Friday, and I asked him about Agastache because I haven't had good luck with them coming back. He said that I should try the red or orange ones, as they are more drought tolerant. Apparently the blue ones (my favorite) are derived from a more true Midwest species and/or from the Korean species, both of which require quite a bit more water.


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