Ozark Outdoors

Missouri Master Gardeners will find plenty of activities in return trip to Springfield

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Missouri Masters Gardeners will convene in Springfield for three days for their annual state conference Sept. 20-22 at the Oasis Conference Center, 2546 N. Glenstone in Springfield.

Keynote remarks will come from Todd Lasseigne on Friday, president and CEO of the Tulsa Botanic Garden, which recently underwent a name change from the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden.

“Evidently we have set our own bar for being recognized as the most ‘fun’ State Conference hosts in it’s 18 year history,” says Christine Chiu, president of Master Gardeners of Greene County, host for the conference. “I can tell you personally from visiting with members from around the state — that they are excited about what we have to offer and are absolutely planning on coming. This is a rare opportunity for us to serve our mission of education as we unite with our extended family who love plants, love to learn, and absolutely love to have fun.”

So far more than 100 Master Gardeners from 29 chapters have registered at $160 per person. However, invitations went out to gardeners in four states. Registration increases to $180 after September. Garden Tours, Advanced Training Workshops and Potting Shed University Classes are filling up. Some are currently on the verge of selling out.

Two half-day tours Saturday

“You’ll learn about natives and landscaping with drought-tolerant varieties at the Xeriscape , says Chiu. “Explore natural environments for birds, dragon flies, frogs, and other wildlife. And, if you haven’t seen Barbara St. Clair’s many varieties of euphorbias, here’s your chance! With so many gardens, we can’t begin to list every aspect of these great locations. Visit our site to read more about these enticing trips and select the one you want to see today!

“The tours are always the conference highlight,” says St. Clair of Nixa, former president of Master Gardeners and 2013 Conference Chair. “Whether you’re looking to increase your knowledge, get progressive design ideas, or meet fellow gardeners, these trips are for you!”

“We’re featuring 22 spectacular gardens on each of our four tours. Visit with fellow plant enthusiasts, enjoy lunch and ride in style to each location in a comfortable motor coach.

To register for the conference and sign up for a tour, simply go to missourimastergardener.org, email info@missourimastergardener.org or call 417-414-0363.

The Ray Woody dwarf conifer garden is only one of the highlights on this tour. It’s located in a gently sloping setting amid a backdrop of approximately 250 different conifers ranging from popular miniatures to some over 60 feet tall. In fact, you can catch a glimpse of Woody’s garden on page 36 in Jeanne Duffey’s “Dig This!” column.

Other gardens include a country cottage charmer from Janeth Reichert, Alex and MaryWarner’s garden with its fusion of southern Ozark charm combined with a taste of New England and there’s even a working 7th generation Century farm.

Advanced training classes

A variety of advanced training classes will be offered as a benefit to Master Gardeners on Sept. 20 and 21. The hands-on classes will be three hours in length; the majority cost $5 each, with two classes at $10 each. Topics will range from Collecting, Cleaning, and Storing Native Wild- flower Seeds to Paper Making from Plant Fibers.

The public is invited to attend Potting Shed University classes on the morning of Sept. 22. Four tracks consisting of seven diverse topics per track will be offered. The offerings range from Miniature Gardening and Designing with Dwarf Conifers to How to Build a Master Gardener- Driven Hotline and Gardening with Chickens in Your Backyard.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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