Joys of Gardening returns this February


University of Illinois Extension’s series Joys of Gardening returns as an in-person event to offer gardening tips for the growing season. There will be three fun and informative topics offered from 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Highland Community College Student Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport.

To start the day, Martha Smith, retired Extension educator, will talk about “4 Season Garden Design.” We all buy those plants on sale with no idea where we will fit them in – we don’t think about seasonal design.  What we are left with is a hodge-podge of plants rather than a seasonal flow of visual interest.

Do your gardens have some downtime when things aren’t in bloom and the gardens lack pizzazz?  Learn how to plan for color and excitement all year round. Smith will walk you through the basic steps to create eye-catching all-season perennial gardens.

Next, “Container Vegetable (and Fruit) Gardening” will be presented by Extension small farms and local foods educator Grant McCarty. Changes in your space or a desire to reduce the size of your yearly garden may have you considering container vegetable gardening.

With some slight modifications, you can still grow many of the same vegetables you and your family enjoy but in a smaller growing system. This class will cover the basics of growing vegetables, herbs, and fruits in containers to prepare you for your 2022 growing season.

To finish the morning, Bruce J. Black, Extension horticulture educator, will talk about “Growing and Preserving Herbs.” Herbs are great fun to grow in the home landscape — and they are easy to grow, harvest and keep.  Join Black to learn more about harvesting and preserving your home-grown herbs to enjoy in recipes all winter.

This is the 24th offering of Joys of Gardening sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension and the Master Gardener Program. In an effort to offer local, in-person programming, this event has been modified to keep you safe while attending.

Masks are required to be worn at all times. Participants will be socially distanced.  Hand sanitizing stations will be available. No food or drink will be served.

For more details about Joys of Gardening or to register visit our website at or call University of Illinois Extension at 815-986-4357. Registration is required to attend, seating is limited. Registration cost is $10.

If you will need an accommodation in order to participate, contact U of I Extension at 815-986-4357. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.