Published Jan. 5, 2014, in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, “Grow your gardening skills this winter. There are many classes in the region to get you ready for the growing season ahead.”
By Barb Gorges
Gardeners are crazy for information and inspiration. Summer may be the time for garden tours, but winter is the time for garden lectures and classes.
Laramie County Master Gardeners and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are bringing back their popular series of acclaimed garden speakers—and you would be wise not to wait to buy tickets.
On the other hand, you can sign up for the Master Gardeners training program right up until the first day of class, which is Jan. 13.
Laramie County Community College has been offering a wealth of gardening classes the last three years, but they are hidden in the non-credit “Outreach and Workforce Development” schedules mailed to all addresses in Laramie County.
If you want to head south for a little winter break, check out classes at Fort Collins Nursery in Colorado.
In any case, well before it’s time to start digging in the dirt, you can fortify your mind with new garden ideas and strategies.
Gardening with Altitude 2014
Sponsored by Laramie County Master Gardeners and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, tickets are $15 each or $50 for all four dates. They may be purchased (cash or check) at the Gardens’ greenhouse in Lions Park.
Call Darcee Snider at 637-6458 or visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com (keyword: “Gardening with Altitude”).
The lectures are held Saturdays, 1- 2:30 p.m., in the Cottonwood Room of the Laramie County Library, 2200 Pioneer Ave. Tickets may be available at the door.
— “Edible Gardening in Tough Climates: Using Season Extension Tools, Microclimates and Strategic Variety Choices,” Willi Galloway, Jan. 25. Galloway, an award-winning radio commentator and writer, and native of Wyoming, is the author of “Grow, Cook, Eat.” She currently gardens in Portland, Ore. She’ll explain how to warm up the soil earlier in spring, how to extend the harvest season in fall and what are the best tasting and most productive vegetable varieties for the Cheyenne region.
— “Unique and Functional Landscapes: Creating and Maintaining a Flourishing Outdoor Space,” with Loretta Mannix, Feb. 15. Mannix, of Loveland, Colo., with degrees in fine art and landscape horticulture, and years of experience in many areas of horticulture and landscape design, will show new ways of making your landscape unique, including plants that are underused but can be successful here.
— “Tuning Up the Wyoming Garden: What’s New in Plants and Growing Techniques,” Tom Heald, Mar. 15. Heald and his wife own the Wyoming Plant Company in Casper, with the goal of providing the kinds of plants he found Wyoming gardeners needed when he was a university extension agent. He will talk about how to reflect the high elevation prairie and sagebrush steppe and their extraordinary color and durability, and will also present new ideas in growing plants horizontally and vertically in our challenging climate.
— “Seed, Soil, Sun, Water: All You Need to Grow Food in the West,” with Penn and Cord Parmenter, Apr. 26. The Parmenters have been gardening above 8,000 feet in south-central Colorado since 1992 using sustainable, bio-intensive methods that “rock out food 365 days a year.” Learn to garden like our grandparents, focusing on what already works, how to work with what you have, and be inspired by nature’s ability to feed us.
Laramie County Master Gardener Training
Anyone can become a Master Gardener—no prior experience required. Sign up for the 10-week course that begins Jan. 13. Classes are Monday and Wednesday evenings, 6-9 p.m. Completion of the course and 40 hours of volunteer internship by next fall is required for Master Gardener certification.
The course, held in Cheyenne, is taught by Catherine Wissner, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service horticulturist, along with other local experts.
The $100 fee includes the 500-page manual, “Sustainable Horticulture for Wyoming.” Sign up at the extension office in the old Laramie County Courthouse, 310 W. 19th St., Suite 100. For more information call 633-4383 or visit www.lcmg.org.
LCCC Gardening Classes
Instructor Jeff Dyer said, “You can garden here despite the challenging environment.”
Laramie County Community College’s Life Enrichment classes in gardening are held on campus. Almost all classes are one session and most are offered twice.
For complete class descriptions, visit http://lccc.wy.edu/workforce/lifeEnrichment. For specifics, call Dyer at 421-1176 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register, call 778-1236 or 778-1134. Register no later than two days before the class is scheduled, and four days before the Botanical Arrangement class.
Fort Collins Nursery Classes, Ft. Collins, Colo.
This garden center, at 2121 E. Mulberry St., brings in a variety of well-known Front Range gardeners. And for the most part, what they teach is applicable to Cheyenne’s environment.
All classes are held on Saturdays. See complete class descriptions, and more classes, at www.fortcollinsnursery.com. Register online or call 970-482-1984 or 866-384-7516.
–“50 Shades of Green: Gardening for Sensuality” with Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden. Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m., $22. What makes a garden sensual? Play of light and darkness, sound, motion, serenity, fragrance, creation of mystery. The Colorado couple are authors of several garden books.
–“My Favorite Pollinators and How to Attract Them,” with Beth Conrey. Jan. 25, 10 a.m.-noon, $18. Without pollinating insects, most plants won’t produce fruit and seeds. Discover the full spectrum of pollinators. Conrey is president of the Colorado State Beekeepers Association.
–“Even More Secrets from My Grandmother’s Garden,” with Don Eversoll. Jan. 25, 1-3 p.m., $18. How to make super soil, new tricks for growing “killer” tomatoes with heirlooms and other secrets from Coloradoan Eversoll’s new book, “Secrets from My Grandma’s Garden.”
–“Organic Gardener’s Companion: Cool & Warm Season Vegetables,” with Jane Shellenberger. Feb. 1,10 a.m.
-noon, $18. Shellenberger is publisher and editor of the Colorado Gardener seasonal newspaper and author of “Organic Gardener’s Companion: Growing Vegetables in the West.”
— “Raised Bed Gardening 101,” with Bryant Mason. Feb. 1, 1-3 p.m., $18. The founder of The Urban Farm Company of Colorado covers the basics. “Raised Bed 201” will be held Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.
–“Design Tips for Western-inspired Gardens with Plant Select®,” with Pat Hayward. Feb. 8, 10 a.m.-noon, $18. Plant Select® is a plant introduction program from Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University focusing on unique, adaptable and resilient plants for western gardens.
— “Incorporating Native Plants into Your Landscape,” with Joanie Schneider. Feb. 15, 1-3 p.m., $18. Contrary to their reputation as dusty prickly plants, the native flora around the Rocky Mountain Front Range is truly exquisite, with a great diversity of colors and textures.