At this time of year, it really doesn’t matter if the temperature is 50 degrees one day and 18 degrees the next (except for fruit trees). That is because seed catalogs are coming and, best of all, gardening programs are beginning locally.
The Hill City Evergreen Garden Club begins its winter series of garden presentations on Jan. 25. The talks will be on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. in the Community Room at the Super 8 Motel in Hill City. The talks are about one hour each and are open to the public at no charge. The public is invited not only for the presentation but also for refreshments and is welcome at the meeting which follows.
The garden talk schedule begins with Joe Hillberry speaking about making wine from small fruits on Jan. 25. In February, Mary Deibert will speak about her experiences and recommendations about using and maintaining a small greenhouse. March will feature Mary LaHood and Bob Burns speaking about their experiences as award-winning tree farmers. The series will end in April with Bonnie Ruggieri teaching how to start various houseplants.
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Gardening in the Black Hills has been a popular program in Rapid City taught by Master Gardeners for 20 years or more.
This year the garden talks begin on Feb. 28. There are two talks each evening, each about an hour with time for questions. In this first presentation, Brenda Pates will speak about composting and Joe Hillberry will speak about making wine from small fruits.
March 7 will feature Mary Deibert speaking about greenhouses and Dr. Rhoda Burrows discussing growing grapes.
On March 14, Sheila Hillberry will demonstrate her strategies for starting seeds and Bonnie Ruggieri will discuss her keys for success growing tomatoes.
On March 21, Mel Glover will give his tips and experience growing vegetables in containers and Joanne Engelhaupt will talk about growing microgreens.
March 28 will feature Patrick Wagner talking about garden insects and Janet Wernike will discuss raised-bed gardening.
The series will end on April 4. John Berglund will speak about roses, and I will finish the series with a presentation on soil.
The cost for this series of classes is $40 and includes refreshments and informative handouts. The class size is limited to 50 and the schedule is subject to change without notice.
To register for Gardening in the Black Hills, mail a check for $40 payable to Pennington County Master Gardeners and include your name, address, phone and email. Complete your registration by Feb. 21. Mail to Gardening in the Black Hills, SDSU Rapid City Regional Extension Center, PO Box 813, Rapid City, South Dakota 57709. Classes will be held at SDSU Regional Extension Center, 711 North Creek Drive, (lower level of the former First Interstate Bank across from Menards), Rapid City, SD 57703. Classes will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
As the hawkers on TV are prone to say, “Wait! Wait! There is more!”
Spring Fever!, the much anticipated all-day gardening event, is scheduled for Saturday, March 4 at the Rushmore Room of the Rapid City Ramkota Best Western. Featured speakers this year are Dr. John Ball, SDSU Professor and Extension Forestry Specialist and SD Department of Agriculture Forest Health Specialist, and Dr. Karen Panter, University of Wyoming Extension Horticulture Specialist.
Ball will present two talks: Spring pruning for ornamental trees and Woody plants to plant this spring and how to plant them. Panter will speak on Water wise gardening and Extending the season.
Spring Fever! will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost of $40 includes lunch catered by Minerva’s which includes options for vegetarians and for those who are gluten free.
Persons are encouraged to pick up registration forms for Spring Fever! after Feb. 1 at SDSU Rapid City Extension Office, RC Hardware, Jolly Lane Greenhouse, The Plantsmyth or either Rapid City Senior Center or email email@example.com to request a form.
Spring Fever! is a much-anticipated event not only for the always excellent speakers but also for the always interesting Silent Auction, the table filled with free garden goods, the Ask a Master Gardener table where individual questions can be answered, and the ever-popular door prizes.
At this time of year, it really doesn’t matter what the weather temperatures are, gardening fevers are rising and the absolute best response to that delightful condition is to attend some (or all) of the worthy garden programs in the area this spring.
Cathie Draine is a Black Hills Native and life-long gardener. She is a member of the Garden Writers Association. She lives and gardens in Whispering Pines in Rapid City.
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