Seminars at the 11th Annual Gardening Show

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Hirvela Photo

Valparaiso, IN, Jan. 8, 2014 – Former garden editor and writer for Martha Stewart Living magazine Stacey Hirvela is the keynote speaker for the 11th Annual Gardening Show on Sat., Jan. 25.  Hirvela, now the Proven Winners Shrub Specialist will present, “The Elegant Shrubs,” beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Porter County Expo, 215 E. Division Rd., Valparaiso, IN.  A host of seminars and demonstrations follow throughout the day:

10:30 am
"A to Z of Landscape Questions You Forgot to Ask"
Amanda Thomsen, Author, "Kiss My Aster" followed by book sales and signing at 11:30

"How We Reclaimed Wolf Lake"
Gregg Calpino, SEH Award-winning Landscape Architect

11:30 am
"Welcome Spring with Hosta, Heuchera and Hellebore"
Greg Stack, University of Illinois Extension Educator

12:30 pm
"150 Ways to Create a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You" Amanda Thomsen

1:30 pm
"Instant Gratification Spring Container"
Jennifer Brennan, ABC-TV Channel 7 Horticulture Correspondent

"Wetlands - the Ordinary and the Extraordinary"
Victoria Jostes, Lake County Master Gardener

2:30 pm
"Edible Ornamentals"
Jennifer Brennan

"Choosing the Right Tree for Your City Yard"
Gina Darnell, Urban Forester and Forest Resource Planner

Demonstrations Schedule

11:30 am
Worm Composting
Abe Paluch, Outreach Educator
Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County

12:30 pm
Butterfly Conservation at Home
Dolly Foster, Lake County Master Gardener

1:30 pm
Caring for Your Garden Tools
Mike Barrett, Alternate Plan Landscape Service

2:30 pm
Butterfly Conservation at Home
Dolly Foster

The 11th Annual Gardening Show will be held 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST (Chicago time) on Sat., Jan. 25.  This award-winning event features presentations by national, regional and local gardening experts, special lodging & dining packages, a seed & bulb exchange, garden photography contest, children's corner, food service by Suzie’s Café and Tate’s Place, and 100 exhibitors and vendors of products and services for and about gardens and gardening.  Admission is $10, children under 12 free, free parking and door prizes.  For more info visit

Photo:  Stacey Hirvela, presently with the marketing team for Proven Winners ColorChoice Flowering Shrubs, will share her love of gardening with attendees at the 11th Annual Gardening Show.  Hirvela is a graduate of University of Michigan and the School of Professional Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden.


Recycle Your Living Christmas Tree at Taltree in January

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Valparaiso, IN – Taltree Arboretum & Gardens will be recycling Christmas trees from January 2 through January 12, 2014. Taltree will be converting the trees into trail mulch to benefit guests.

“Utilizing Christmas trees as a renewable path material is a win-win for the environment and for our guests,” said Alexis R. Faust, President and CEO of Taltree Arboretum & Gardens. “This is just one of the many recycle-reuse-reduce programs that we offer.”

Donated trees must be free of all decorative materials, including ornaments, hooks, tinsel, nails, lights and stands. For the safety of the wildlife, removal of these non-organic items, especially tinsel, is extremely important.

Christmas tree drop-off is at Taltree’s construction entrance, located at 440 W. 100 North, Valparaiso. The drop-off area will be marked with a sign, and people are asked to place trees in the designated area only. Drop-off is available 24 hours a day from January 2 through January 12. This program is sponsored by Simko Signs in Valparaiso. For more information, visit or call 219-462-0025.


Purdue Master Gardener Pgm Seeks New Crop of Volunteers

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If you want to sharpen your gardening skills and you have an interest in sharing your knowledge with others, Purdue University has a program for you.  

Beginning January 22, 2014, a Purdue Master Gardener Program training series will be offered for residents of Lake County and surrounding areas.  The Purdue Master Gardener Program is a volunteer training program that provides a learning framework for participants to increase their knowledge on a wide variety of horticultural subjects.  In turn, participants volunteer, representing Purdue University.  As volunteers, participants grow by sharing knowledge while providing leadership and service in educational gardening activities within their communities.

Training will be held on Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. or 5:45-8:45 p.m. CST.  Participants will be exposed to a wide range of subjects including soil and plant science, diagnosis of plant problems, pesticide safety, and culture of vegetable, flower, landscape, and fruit plants.  

Materials and expenses for the series of classes cost $200.00 per participant. This expense fee covers such items as reference notebooks and supplies.  These materials all become part of the Master Gardener's personal collection.  

While the class will be encouraged to create new educational outreach programs, there are already plenty of opportunities for which volunteers are needed.  Some of these projects include the staffing information booths at gardening events, teaching public education classes, speaking to local clubs and organizations, and hand-on demonstration gardens.  

For questions about the program, contact Nikky Witkowski, 880 E. 99th Ct., Suite A, Crown Point, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 219-755-3240.  To download an application, go to


Master Recycler/Composter Program Offered in Porter Co

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Porter County -- The Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County invites Porter County residents and those who work in the county to participate in the new Master Recycler/Composter Program that is scheduled for the spring of 2014.

Participants will learn about waste prevention, recycling, and composting, and have the opportunity to meet others who have similar waste reduction and environmental interests in this extensive eight-week session.

The program will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Feb. 5 through March 26, in the meeting room at the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, 2755 State Rd. 49, Valparaiso. The course will feature guest speakers and field trips that will help students gain environmental knowledge beyond the blue bin.

Topics will include: waste prevention, recycling processes, household hazardous waste and alternatives, organics recycling and home composting. Registration is available on the District’s website,

“Reducing the waste that goes into our landfills is much more than placing glass jars, plastics containers, aluminum cans and paper products at the curb,” said Therese Davis, executive director of the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.  “By paying attention to what we do every day and rethinking our routines, we can further reduce waste and make a difference.”

A fee of $30 will help cover the cost of course materials and is due upon acceptance into the program. Class participants commit to 30 hours of volunteer time to educate and inspire others in their community to reduce waste in the home and at work.

The class is limited to 30 participants. Applicants that apply after the class is full will be placed on a waiting list and notified when the next course is scheduled.
“Volunteer work can include helping out at the Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration, teaching a local community group how to incorporate recycling at their special event, educating residents in an apartment or condo complex about recycling opportunities, working booths at special events and more,” Davis said. “We’re open to other great ideas they have about inspiring others to become knowledgeable about waste reduction.”

For more information, visit or call 465-3819.


Lake County Master Gardeners Scholarship Program 2014-15

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Crown Point, IN—The Lake County Master Gardeners are pleased to announce that they are continuing their scholarship program for the 2014-15 academic year. Scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate college & university students who are residents of Lake County. In addition to the majors of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, majors of Forestry, Botany (Horticulture Equivalent), Plant Pathology, Agricultural Education, and Entomology are eligible as well. Other majors that benefit consumer gardening may be considered if the applicant provides a one paragraph description of how they will use their major to promote the objectives of the Master Gardeners. The application deadline is February 18, 2014. Application forms are available from university departmental offices or by calling the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, Lake County Office at 755-3240 or at

The scholarships are funded by the proceeds of the Master Gardener annual plant sale, donations from the Illiana Garden Pond Society and other generous donors.

Source:  Nikky Witkowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources/Horticulture

Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, Lake County, 880 E. 99th Ct., Suite A, Crown Point, IN  46307

219-755-3240, FAX 219-755-3251

Purdue Extension – Lake County Website:

Lake County Facebook:


Master Gardeners Photography Contest

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Winning entries from past Gardening Show photography contest (photo provided)

Purdue University Cooperative Extension and its Porter County Master Gardeners invite the public to share their garden photography in a photo contest.  Winning entries will be displayed at the 11th Annual Gardening Show on Sat., Jan. 25, 2014, Porter County Expo Center, 215 E. Division Road, Valparaiso, Ind.  

Photographs may be mailed to Purdue University Cooperative Extension, Suite 301, 155 Indiana Avenue, Valparaiso, Ind., 46383 or delivered on weekdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.  All entries are due on or before Jan. 20, 2014.

Limit of three (3) photographs per person.  Nine categories include pictures of gardens in all seasons, flowers alone, flowers with something else (e.g., trellis, statue), bugs and insects, butterflies, birds, wildlife, fungus, or fruits and vegetables in the garden.  

Photographs will be judged on composition, use of color and aesthetic value.  Decisions of the judges are final.    

All photographs are to be 8 in. x 10 in. and mounted on a mounting board.   No framed or matted photographs will be accepted, nor photographs with people in them.  Name, address, telephone number, and entry category must be printed legibly on the back of each photograph submitted.  Info:  219-465-3555 or .


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