Proven Winners Outdoor Living Extravaganza

Chicago Botanic Garden
Article and Photography by Linda S. Andriacchi, Advanced Master Gardener

I attended the Proven Winners Outdoor Living Extravaganza again this year. I have attended every year since the events started many years ago. This years' event was highly anticipated by me, as the winters in the Upper Peninsula are long and cold. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate because it was chilly in the Chicago area too. But the trees were in bloom and everything was beautiful.

The event was very informative. Jessica DeGraff discussed the uses for perennials in the garden along with teasing the audience with the upcoming Proven Winner perennials for 2017. Jack Barnwell discussed the "Gardens of Mackinac" and annuals, what to look for in an annual, how to create an outstanding container, and of course, the new introductions for 2017. P. Allen Smith gave a presentation on growing various proven winner plants at his home and Tim Wood gave a very informative presentation on hydrangeas. The event was a good time for all, with plants for sale, seeing the new plants for both 2016 and 2017 and many door prizes were given to excited gardeners.

After the conference, we went on a tour of the botanical garden. The weather was windy and cool with frost predicted for overnight but the grounds were beautiful. The flowering crab trees had me longing for spring in Ishpeming. The extraordinary containers throughout the grounds, the various plantings and hardscapes were truly an outstanding experience leaving me with expectations of what was to come back home. Getting to welcome spring twice in one year is an amazing experience. I would like to go back to the botanical garden sometime during the summer to see what wonders they have in store for us all to enjoy.