Grand Rapids Smart Gardening Conference 2016

Date: March 5, 2016
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Location: DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Contact: Diane Brady,, 616-632-786

9 a.m.
Diane Brady and Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension

State of the Monarch Address— Conservation for a Favorite Butterfly
Duke Elsner, Michigan State University Extension

The monarch butterfly is one of the most widely recognized butterflies in North America. Concern about the decline of the monarch has many butterfly enthusiasts and gardeners wondering if or what can be done to conserve this beautiful insect. Join entomologist Duke Elsner on a quest to investigate one of America’s most loved insect species and learn how appoint your garden “smartly” to enhance their survival.

Smart Plants that Deer Don’t Eat!
Ruth Rogers-Clausen, Easton, Maryland, Horticulturist and Author

Keeping your beautiful garden off the menu from marauding deer can be as simple as choosing the right plants. Ruth Rogers-Clausen, a horticulturist trained in England is author of several books including 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants. Clausen will introduce us to dozens of versatile and drool-worthy options and her delightful teaching style will make this presentation not only enjoyable but one to remember! The best annuals, perennials, bulbs, ferns, grasses, and shrubs — plus advice on how to grow them — will be highlighted with her favorite deer-resistant companions for a Smart Garden design.

Native Plants with Bling!
Mary Wilson, Michigan State University Extension

There are many reasons you might want native plants in your garden, yet a common perception is that they are drab and boring. Not so, as we’ll learn from horticulture educator and woody plant expert Mary Wilson! Sharing her amazing collection of images, Wilson will expound on both native species and their cultivars. No longer the step-children of the plant world, these colorful favorites have attitude and bling!

Smart Plants for Pollinators!
Rebecca Finneran and Abi Saeed, Michigan State University Extension

Pollinators are essential to our environment and the food we eat. Like the Monarch, bee declines have people worried about survival of native bees and beneficial insects. By choosing the right plants and adopting “Smart Gardening” behaviors, home gardeners can help our native bee and insect populations thrive. Join these MSU Extension Horticulture Educators in exploring a wide palette of plants as well as conservation techniques to encourage pollinators.

Designing a Sustainable “Smart” Garden
Jeff Epping, Olbrich Gardens, Madison, Wisconsin, Director of Horticulture

The Smart Gardening Conference wouldn’t be complete without a world-class presentation on sustainable gardening! Jeff Epping is a leader in practicing sustainability while creating breathtakingly beautiful garden designs. Drawing upon inspiration found during his travels in the U.S. and abroad, Epping takes creativity to a new level while conserving resources and implementing environmentally savvy gardening methods. Epping’s practical pearls of wisdom combined with his easy and humorous teaching style will invigorate your passion for gardening!    
4 p.m.

Cost:   Early Bird Registration by Feb. 15, 2016 - $60
            Late Registration - $70

Enrollment deadline is Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 or until full

  •     Registration at the door is not available.
  •     Payment by Credit Card: Recommended at this secure MSU payment site to expedite your seat reservation.  
  •     Payment by check: Please allow 10 business days for check processing.  
  •     Your seat is not reserved until your balance is paid in full.
  •     You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered and your balance is paid in full.
  •     Your registration name badge, which will provide you admittance to the 2016 West Michigan Home and Garden Show, will be mailed to you prior to the conference.

Cancellation Policy: Sorry, no refunds, but attendance substitutions are acceptable.

This event will not be cancelled unless the facility closes.


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