By Carol Williams and Judy Weaver, Mobile County Master Gardeners
The Azalea City will roll out its famous floral welcome next March when hundreds of Alabama Master Gardeners descend on Mobile for their annual conference. We invite local garden enthusiasts to join us to hear horticultural experts address a wide range of topics including fungi, lichens, flowering vines and container gardening, as well as Gulf Coast seasons, native plants, recycling in the garden and staying involved in gardening as we age, plus many more. The conference dates are March 30 – April 1, 2020, and the registration cost is $155, which includes a reception, lunch and dinner.
Jim Martin, director of the Charleston, South Carolina, Parks Conservancy, will turn our interests to the future of gardening with his keynote address, “Gardening Future Forward.” Dolores Hydock, a professional storyteller, will regale us with “Two Gardening Tales: Becoming Mrs. Nash and Western Civilization,” combining real life experiences with humor and inspiration about how gardens and those who tend them shape our lives. The final morning of the conference will include a new feature, a film fest. The life of the monarch butterfly will be highlighted in “Flight of the Butterflies” and local environmental reporter Ben Raines, who recently discovered the Clotilda (the last slave ship to bring human cargo to the United States) will share his film, “The Underwater Forest.”
We are encouraging attendees to come early for the Festival of Flowers (March 27-29, 2020) and also to experience the special gardens of Mobile, including the Mobile Botanical Gardens, Bellingrath Gardens and the Charles Wood Japanese Garden.
We Mobile Master Gardeners have been hard at work for two years planning the three-day conference, which will be held at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel. Visit Mobile and Mobile County have been helping us showcase Mobile and attract return visitors. Our theme is “Gardening with 2020 Vision” and our goal is for Master Gardeners from all points north to know that Coastal Alabama is more than a beach destination and that Mobile is not just for Mardi Gras. In fact, as Maarten van der Giessen reflected in this space this year, Alabama’s Port City has a rich and significant history in the nursery industry.
We invite our Mobile businesses and all Mobilians to participate in this “welcome” through sponsorships or through donations of garden-related merchandise for our silent auction. Look for contact information at the end of this article.
The Alabama Master Gardener Volunteer Program is an educational volunteer-recruitment program offered through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Volunteers work with the Extension to bring the latest science-based horticultural information to our communities. Statewide, there are over 2,000 Master Gardeners who volunteered close to 200,000 hours in 2018 to help home gardeners become more successful. As a matter of fact, Lagniappe is an important partner in this work, giving Mobile County Master Gardeners the opportunity to reach the gardening public through this column. Thanks for reading and happy gardening!
Gardening Events for Your Calendar
What: Alabama Master Gardener State Conference
When: March 30 – April 1, 2020
Current Activity: Inviting sponsors and donors to participate
Contact: AMGA2020Mobile@gmail.com for information about sponsorships and donations for the conference
What: Landscape 101: How to Have a Beautiful Yard
When: Aug. 29 and 30 (6-8 p.m.)
Where: Jon Archer Agricultural Center, 1070 Schillinger Road, North, Mobile
Presenter: Jack LeCroy, Extension Agent
Cost: $10 for the two-night course
Registration required: Call 251-574-8445
What: Monthly Meeting, Mobile County Master Gardeners
When: Thursday, Sept. 5 (10-11:45 a.m.)
Where: Jon Archer Center, 1070 Schillinger Road, North, Mobile
Program: Penny Smith, Why Propagation Fails, White Powdery Mildew
What: Sehoy Thrower, Poarch Band of Creek Indians
Topic: Traditional Uses of Native Plants by Poarch Band of Creek Indians
When: Thursday, Sept. 5 (6-7 p.m.)
Where: Marx Library, University of South Alabama
Sponsors: USA Native American Studies, Mobile Medical Museum and Mobile Master Gardeners
What: Dr. Stephen Bridge, Executive Director of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem
When: Saturday, Sept. 14 (10 a.m. – noon)
Where: Cornerstone Gardens, 1066 Government St., Mobile
Cost: Free; parking available, children welcome
For information: Call 251-377-2577
Master Gardener Helpline: 877-252-4769, or send your gardening questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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