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Purdue Master Gardeners Spring Symposium held

Several areas of interest were covered by the speakers at Purdue Master Gardeners of Lagrange County’s 8th Annual Spring Symposium on Saturday, March 22.  Many garden enthusiasts from northeast Indiana attended the day-long event held at the Shipshewana Event Center.

Rosemary Marcon, a master herbalist and Lagrange County Master Gardener covered the interesting history of herbs dating from before biblical times up through the present day.  She explained growing herbs and how they are used both in cooking and medicinally.  The use of herbs for aromatherapy, perfumes and baths was also discussed.  Attendees were given a sample of a potpourri and some enticing herbal recipes as well.

Elysia Rodgers, Purdue Extension Educator of DeKalb County, educated attendees about organic gardening.  She spoke of the value of organic gardening such as reducing the risk of exposure to pesticides for humans, pets, and wildlife plus its being more environmentally friendly.  She also explained methods of disease and pest management for organic gardening and detailed the basic organic gardening principles.  She also noted that organic growing is not new, that there was published material on organics as early as 1924.

David Traylor, beekeeper, owner of Knob Haven Honey, and Lagrange County Master Gardener, presented a fascinating look into beekeeping as either a hobby or business.  He explained in detail the life cycle of bees, the types of hives, and several products of the hive in addition to the honey with which we are most familiar.  He spoke of the inestimable value of the bee as a pollinator.  He also explained how those who are interested could get started as a beekeeper.

To finish the day Marjorie Hershman, Pokagon State Park Interpretive Naturalist, spoke on native plantings.  She explained the benefits of native plantings.  She also noted that the preservation of native vegetation is low maintenance, creates a functional ecosystem and establishes year round provisions for our wildlife.  She gave many examples of specific native plants that could be used in place of more invasive non-native plants.  She also detailed the basics of wildlife gardening and gave many ideas and uses for native plantings.

During breaks throughout the day, attendees could shop at booths of local vendors offering a variety of products or peruse the silent auction items to place bids on their favorite items.  Also during the breaks many door prizes donated by vendors, local businesses and individuals were given to those holding the lucky ticket numbers.  An excellent box lunch was provided by the Town Center Catering team.

Anyone interested in learning more about Purdue Master Gardeners of LaGrange County can contact the LaGrange County office of Purdue Extension 260-499-6334.