Garden Party brings community together

Published 12:51 am Wednesday, March 15, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The quick fix to the gardening itch is back again. The Niles District Library has once again teamed up with the Niles Garden Club to host the Third Annual Garden Party on Saturday, March 18.
A member of the club, Nancy Clough of Niles, said the day is a chance for the group to get involved with the community and even attract some new members. Clough said three new people joined at last year's party.
There are five speakers scheduled for the day with each program running about 45 minutes followed by a question session, library Gallery Coordinator Mickie Spencer said.
Also on hand in the lobby will be an information booth hosted by the club. Plus, East Main Gardens will create a display of spring flowers, gardening books will be given away in drawings and all participants will receive a small gift, Spencer said.
The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m in the library's Community Room and is free to the public. Pre-registration is requested and for all-day participants a box lunch will be available for a pre-payment of $7.50, which must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15.
Spencer said there is no deadline for registration, but the room does have a limited amount of seating and those signed-up are guaranteed a spot.
The day will begin with the Manager of Plant Collections at Fernwood Botanical Garden, Steve Bornell. Bornell will discuss incorporating native plants into the home garden, including the benefits of native plants, selection, planting, maintenance and the new native plant garden at Fernwood. Bornell holds a degree in agriculture from Purdue University and owned a landscape business for 18 years before coming to Fernwood.
The second presenter at 10:45 a.m. is the co-owner of Child's Play Organic Lawns, Brian Bengtsson, who will address the pros and cons of organic and chemical lawn care. Bengtsson is a certified pesticide applicator in Indiana and Michigan and specializes in organic lawncare.
Tim Polega, the co-owner of God's Green Earth, will follow at 1 p.m. with a presentation on shade gardening beyond hostas and impatiens. Polega is a certified master gardener and master of ponds. He is also an adjunct instructor of landscaping and ponds at Southwestern Michigan State College.
A program about rhododendrons and azaleas with the owner of Windmill Acre Ken Poling is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Poling will cover the plant's habits, growing conditions and the differences in, and examples of, the main varieties of each.
The final presentation at 3:30 p.m. is with members of the Michiana Photo Club, who will demonstrate nature photography techniques. The group participates in workshops, lectures and fieldtrips throughout the area.
Spencer said presenters are found through the club and also from the previous year's evaluation forms. The timing of the event is a little difficult because of the amount of work many of the speakers are facing in preparation for the upcoming season, Spencer added.
Clough said the date works well for the gardeners because they are ready to get back in the dirt.