The welcome return of spring has been heralded by birds, flowers, sunshine -- and the return of a popular gardening lecture series to delighted Anne Arundel County gardeners.
Homestead Gardens is gearingup for another series of monthly lectures and workshops in the unique setting of the nursery's enormous and lush greenhouse in Davidsonville. The first event is scheduled for May (the topic has yet to be decided), with lectures and workshops scheduled monthly thereafter.
For those looking for help on a project, or to simply learn more about gardening, the series is a godsend. The lectures, covering subjects from perennials to gardening crafts, have been given for the past several years at Homestead Gardens, and each costs $5 per person toattend.
On-staff experts take turns discussing topics such as fertilization, seasonal bed preparation, plant crafts and pest control and answering horticultural questions.
"It's a Homestead tradition to inform our customers about the latest techniques in gardening," said Chantal Cochrane, who coordinates the lecture series.
Dependingon the topic, the lectures/workshops last up to an hour and can attract up to 60 gardening enthusiasts of all ages and walks of life.
"We've had beginners, novices . . . it's not any specific group," said Cochrane, adding, "I don't think we have just one type of customer."
She says she has seen green thumbs as young as 16 years old and seasoned gardeners of 70 years or more, with all ages in between.
According to Cochrane, subjects for the spring and summer workshops and lectures are decided by customer request and new product information available to Homestead staff.
"Customers come in with a lot of questions, and we try to meet their needs," Cochrane explained.
Asan extra bonus to attendees, Homestead usually provides a packet of material relating to the lecture subject and issues door prizes -- like bags of fertilizer, plants and other goodies -- to lucky gardeners. Workshops and lectures are usually scheduled on weekends in the morning and early afternoon for the convenience of customers, and are sometimes given on two consecutive days.
The nursery also offers a weekly lecture series from January through March, but Cochrane explains it is less flexible in terms of subject matter.
"The subjects for summer lectures and events are decided a month before the lecture, instead of three months before."
Homestead Gardens provides a speaker's bureau of staff experts, which will send a nursery representative to garden clubs and other organizations.
In the works for future programs are discussions on insect control, water gardening and composting.
"Composting is something we're going to really push this year," said Cochrane.
Homestead Gardens is located near the intersection of routes 214 and 424 in Davidsonville. For more information on the lecture series, call (410) 798-5000.
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE ALSO APPEARED IN CARROLL, HARFORD, AND HOWARD COUNTY SUN EDITIONS