Adults: Bring your lawn chair and learn about gardening this summer

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June 19 class at Lucky Park due to muddy gardens

By Correne Martin

Adults can kick back and learn from the Crawford County Master Gardeners this summer with Lawn Chair Learning, a free monthly series available to the public in Prairie du Chien. The programs are held on Wednesdays, and started May 15, with about 14 people and three Master Gardeners participating. They will run through Sept. 18. 

Most classes will be held at a distinctive time of 5:48 p.m. at the St. Feriole Island Memorial Gardens. However, co-organizer Donna Teynor said, due to flooding, the next meeting June 19 will take place at Lucky Park with some adaptations. Or, if it rains, the Fourth Ward Shelter will be used. Hopefully, by July, the class can return to the memorial gardens.   

Adults are welcome to attend just one class or whichever seems most interesting. Bring your own lawn chair, water and bug spray. There is no registration required and all supplies are provided. Plan to spend 45 minutes to an hour in the outdoors, gardening and becoming informed about an array of topics:

•June 19—Monarch Butterflies: Attracting the adult butterfly and feeding caterpillars. Learn to find eggs and caterpillars to successfully raise beautiful butterflies for release. The first 20 adults will go home with a free butterfly rearing kit and instructions.

•July 17—Bugs, Diseases, Watering: A comprehensive approach to garden pest control and multiple tactics to reduce damage and risk.

•Aug. 21—Houseplants: Time to Come in for Winter: Dos and don’ts for the care of houseplants, how to provide spaces for houseplants to thrive and preventing pest infestations while inside.

•Sept. 18—Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Season: Learn what to cut back, what to leave for winter interest, the benefits of winter mulch and how and when to use it.

•Sept. 22 (Sunday) at 2 p.m.—From Weedy to Wonderful: Make a 12-inch fall wreath from dried materials from your own back yard. The first 15 attendees will create a wreath for a small materials fee. 

Teynor and co-organizer Julie Hazen gleaned the Lawn Chair Learning idea from a national Master Gardeners UW-Extension coordinators conference in Madison. 

“The state Extension coordinators shared ideas about what they do in their counties to keep communities engaged,” Teynor said. 

Among the storyboards presented was one about a Lawn Chair Learning workshop series, which closely mirrored the local Kids in the Garden program that was overwhelmingly successful in its first two years.

“I’ve had people asking when we were going to have a ‘Kids in the Garden’ version for adults,” Teynor stated. 

“In the model we saw, they took people around to different gardens,” Hazen noted. “We’re gonna try it at the [Memorial] Gardens once a month. People can come to one or all, whichever sessions pique your interest. This could be something we take to other areas of the county or hold more often; it all depends on how it’s received.”

Gardeners of any skill and interest level are welcome. One of the intents with this series is to get adults to St. Feriole Island and into the Memorial Gardens, Teynor said. 

“Especially young moms soak this stuff up. They want to be able to go home and do this stuff with their kids,” she added.

To determine the monthly content, the Crawford County Master Gardeners gave input on what topics would be important to share. Then, a number of them stepped forward and agreed to teach the various subjects. 

At the end of this season, there will be an evaluation of the program, and ideas for next year’s content can be determined at that time. 

All research-based gardening information will be presented. 

“It won’t be strictly a lecture, part of it will be an activity too,” Hazen said, adding that there will be plenty of moving around. She said people can dig into the workshop as deep as they wish, or choose to observe at times as well. 

Lawn Chair Learning is offered as a Master Gardener project through the Crawford County UW-Extension, in partnership with Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation.

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