Both attendees and organizers gave high marks to the 20th annual spring Bay de Noc Gardening Conference in Escanaba.
 
On Saturday, April 21, some 140 registrants from throughout the Upper Peninsula, plus a few from Wisconsin, attended the all-day conference at Bay College. The conference offered five different subjects for each of the day’s four session, and attendees pre-registered for their choices.  Fruit and vegetable gardening classes (seed saving basics, small fruits, growing in raised beds), as well as a cooking demonstration by award-winning certified chef Robin Holmes featuring different varieties of squash, were conference options.   Ornamental gardening subject included hardscapes, coneflowers, willow in the garden, rock garden plants, Siberian iris and peonies, companion planting, and perennials and garden design. In addition, registrants could attend presentations on lawn care, attracting birds, growing houseplants, pruning, vermicomposting, and more—20 different classes in all.   
 
New this year—the first time instructor Poppy Hatinger of Negaunee has offered this class—was “Eco Prints: A Garden to Dye For.”  Poppy, who was probably destined to be a gardener but is also a pharmacist, demonstrated the fundamentals of contact printing color and images directly from plant material to paper or fabric.  She describes the process as “a mixture of garden plant knowledge, alchemy, magic and luck, all achieved in eco-friendly acts.”  Poppy, who is much admired by gardeners in the central Upper Peninsula for her well-presented,  well-planned and clearly illustrated classes, also taught the willow session.

The Delta County Master Gardeners Association, with the leadership of retired MSU-Extension Agent Warren Schauer, began planning the event in November of 2017.   The committee developed a roster of 13 presenters, including two members of the Delta County Master Gardener Association and three extension experts (Scott Reuss from UW-Extension in Marinette, WI; Jim Isleib, MSU Extension Educator from Munising; and Abbey Palmer, MSU UP Research and Extension Center North Farm Coordinator in Chatham). 
 
Next year’s conference is tentatively scheduled for April 27.  Updated information will be available on the conference’s Facebook page, Bay de Noc Gardening Conference, after planning begins in November.

Thank you, Darolyn Spannuth, for the article and photos!!

 Conference participants enjoy a soup and salad lunch in Bay Cafe.

Conference participants enjoy a soup and salad lunch in Bay Cafe.

 Presenter  Jill Reuss

Presenter  Jill Reuss

 Presenter Belinda Collins

Presenter Belinda Collins

 Participants in Abbey Palmer's class get a feeling for seed saving.  Some said the feeling was a "new respect for the effort involved in the process".

Participants in Abbey Palmer's class get a feeling for seed saving.  Some said the feeling was a "new respect for the effort involved in the process".

 Poppy Hatinger creates more willowphiles (a neologism--but it's just what she does).

Poppy Hatinger creates more willowphiles (a neologism--but it's just what she does).