National speakers at Men’s Garden Club annual winter seminar



Northern gardens are covered with snow, but gardeners still have planting on their minds.

About 140 people from Northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania attended the ninth annual Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown’s winter seminar Saturday to learn more about gardening.

“We feel that the winter is a great time to have a garden seminar, because people have their tools put away and their gardens have been put to bed,” said Lynn Hoffman, chairman of the event. “So it’s a great time for gardeners to gather.”

The theme for this year’s seminar, at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens, was “Four Seasons of Color.”

Speakers from Cleveland, Philadelphia and Boston gave talks on container gardening, conifers and other topics.

Sharon Hodge, a master gardener from New Castle, Pa., has attended for three years.

“They always have an excellent program, and I always learn something new in terms of the new plants that are coming out or I learn about how to solve a problem in my landscape,” Hodge said. “I always want to come here because I learn so much all in one day.”

This year, for example, she learned about conifers. The speakers are helpful, she noted, and willing to answer questions.

“I was looking to fill a hillside, but [a speaker] said conifers grow best in well-drained soil, but I don’t have well-drained soil,” Hodge said.

So she asked how to handle that problem and learned that planting any member of the spruce family would be a good option.

First-time attendee Leonard Fisher of Liberty recently built a house and will be adding plants around it.

“So, we want to get some knowledge on what to plant, what not to plant, get some landscape ideas,” he said.

He particularly enjoyed learning about container gardening. He plans to use some of the ideas on his patio.

The event included lunch, a raffle with more than $2,800 in items, including books, tools and gift certificates and more than $500 in door prizes.

Speakers were Andrew Bunting, curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College; Brent Markus, owner of Markus Specimen Trees; and Bob Rensel, a gardener at Cleveland Botanical Garden.

The Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown is one of the oldest men’s garden clubs in the country. It aims to promote a better understanding of gardening through education and to practice horticultural diversity for all segments of the community. Its annual winter seminar sells out each year.

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