When it comes to gardening, Kelly Allsup is quick to point out an emerging trend: The days of working tirelessly to create a perfect plot of veggie-friendly green space are out. Authenticity, she says, is in.
This transition in thinking will be a recurring theme at the upcoming Home, Garden and Lawn Day, a staple in Central Illinois for nearly a decade-and-a-half. This year’s program, which includes a variety of workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions, will be held Saturday, March 5.
“Gardening is no longer about everything being pristine,” said Allsup, a horticulture educator within the University of Illinois Extension’s Livingston-McLean-Woodford Unit. “People are shifting their focus toward the environmental impact.”
Allsup is heading up two of the 25 workshops slated for this year’s event, which fittingly takes place each year as people begin shifting their attention away from winter and toward the upcoming spring planting season.
One of the topics Allsup will speak on and demonstrate is the relatively unknown concept of insect hotels, and how they should be assembled. The man made structures, made of natural materials, are designed to offer shelter and refuse to a variety of insects.
The goal, Allsup said, is to offer a wide enough array of activities throughout the day so everyone walks away with a new kernel of insight.
“I think there is going to be something for everyone,” she said. “(The Home, Lawn and Garden Day) has just been growing and growing and growing with each passing year. People have been coming from all over to attend it, so it’s gotten more popular.”
As has been the case in prior years, the upcoming Home, Garden and Lawn Day features a keynote speaker: Chicago-based author and master gardener Amanda Thomsen. In 2012, Thomsen penned the book, “Kiss My Aster.”
During her talk at the upcoming show, Thomsen will speak on, “150 Ways to Create a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to you.” Allsup said Thomsen is well suited for the event because she is sure to captivate the attention and imagination of every person in attendance.
“The fact she’s going to be here is going to be very exciting,” Allsup said. “I think a lot of people are going to walk away inspired.”
Another newcomer to this year’s Home, Garden and Lawn Day is Shane Cultra, who oversees the Country Arbors Nursery in Urbana. Cultra will kick off the day’s festivities with his talk, “New and Exciting Plants for 2016.”
“He’s kind of the Elvis of master gardeners, so he’ll be a great addition,” Allsup said of Cultra.
This year’s program also includes a number of silent auction items. Proceeds will go toward some of the University of Illinois Extension’s community projects, including the ongoing development of oasis gardens that are used as a healing mechanism for persons undergoing cancer treatments.
“Flowers can be more than just something pretty to look at,” Allsup said. “They’ve been found to be very therapeutic.”
PLANNING TO GO?
WHO: University of Illinois Extension staffers, Keynote Speaker Amanda Thomsen
WHAT: 14th annual Home, Garden and Lawn Day
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5
WHERE: Central Catholic High School, 1201 Airport Road, Bloomington
INFORMATION: cost is $50; for information, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw or call (309) 663-8306
— Annual Home, Garden and Lawn Day returns to Bloomington —