Fernwood to host Spring Garden Symposium

NILES — Fernwood Botanical Garden will host a 2018 Spring Garden Symposium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 3.

The event will be presented in partnership with “Chicagoland Gardening Magazine,” “Garden Design Magazine,” Stonehouse Nursery, and Vite Greenhouses. Guest speakers will include r Andrew Bunting, Jeff Epping, Annamaria León, and Christy Webber, who are nationally recognized garden leaders, horticulturists, landscape architects, and garden designers.

The daylong symposium will explore design approaches that enhance and evoke the unique features of exceptional gardens and will present powerful stories of industry entrepreneurship and urban community garden activism. Lunch by Fernwood Chef Tim Carrigan will be included as well as a guided tour of Fernwood. Andrew Bunting of Chicago Botanic Garden will sign his book that will be on sale in Fernwood’s gift shop.

An early registration special runs through Feb. 25. Tickets are $90 ($72 Members). Registration will take place from Feb. 26 to March 1 will be $110 (Members $88).

VIP Symposium tickets include reserved seating and a special private lunch with Symposium speakers. VIP tickets are $120 (Members $96). Registration can be taken online at fernwoodbotanical.org or by phone at (269) 695-6491.

Guest speakers and topics will include:

It’s Not as Simple as Green Side Up

Christy Webber, President of Christy Webber Landscapes and Christy Webber Farm and Garden in Chicago, founded the company in 1989 that was incorporated in 1994, when she was told that a “sole proprietor wasn’t going to cut it.”

Revenue in 2003 topped $7 million, and with the help of key staff, friends, consultants, and a couple of acquisitions, the company has grown with its best year at $45 million in sales. Christy will share how she started, the lessons she has learned along the way, and where she is today. She went with her instinct and worked day and night to make it happen. And like anything else, some ideas became winners and many didn’t, but Christy and her staff (350+) never stopped believing in the industry and the importance of helping people care for mother nature’s handiwork.

Sustainable Gardens: Creating and Maintaining Gravel Gardens

Many people want beautiful gardens but don’t have the time nor want to see precious resources like water and energy go into growing them. Jeff Epping, the director of horticulture, and his staff have created a number of gravel gardens at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, that are designed to be easily incorporated into home landscapes. Jeff will show participants how they have replaced lawns and traditional annual and perennial beds with these sustainable gardens at Olbrich.

What’s Hot at the Chicago Botanic Garden

This program will be an insider’s overview of some exciting plants and designs at the garden such as the titan arum, plantings of large “Echium,” and the recent installation of “Brazil in the Garden.”

The program will be taught by Andrew Bunting is the assistant director of the garden and director of plant collections at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Just prior to relocating to the Midwest, Andrew was the curator at The Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College for 26 years. From 1991 to 1992, Andrew was the curator at Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania. He has published more than 100 articles in numerous gardening magazines. His home garden in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania―Belvidere―has been featured in “This Old House” magazine and in the Wall Street Journal. Andrew published “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias,” in 2016. “What’s Hot at the Chicago Botanic Garden”

The Role of Greening in Creating Possibilities for Communities

Creating a food forest, transforming vacant lots into community gardens, collaborating with the maintenance of a municipal green infrastructure – Annamaria León, the edible landscapes director at Christy Webber Landscapes – Farm & Garden Center, will show how individual actions culminated to empower an entire community from the ground up. Filled with innovative ideas and a spirit to triumph over circumstances, the people of North Lawndale are creating an urban renaissance 10 minutes from downtown Chicago filled with arts and culture, housing collaboratives, job training and healthy living initiatives, and the first Restorative Justice Hub in the nation. Inside of all these seemingly disconnected areas is the common thread that all industry and all human activity are based on the natural resources available. To this end, there is a subcommittee that was formed through the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council called The Greening, Open Space, Water and Soil Subcommittee that has gathered the organizations committed to the education and beautification of North Lawndale and coordinates their efforts. Greening can intertwine and permeate all areas of rising industry in North Lawndale and can serve as a model for other communities as well.

Fernwood is a place where nature blends with gardens and art to create an experience of wonder for all ages. Fernwood is comprised of 105 acres on the St. Joseph River near Buchanan, 13988 Range Line Road, Niles. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Winter café hours are noon to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday through February. Call (269) 695- 6491 or visit fernwoodbotanical.org for more information and to confirm status of classes.

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