Quincy News

Connecting to nature with plants

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 18, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Houseplants may be the new gardening obsession for many people, but they're a long-time favorite for Melinda Myers.

"Houseplants fell out of favor for a while, but a few of us kept growing houseplants. Now we see people with their houses full of plants," Myers said.

"I think what's happened is people are looking for that connection to nature. A lot of younger people who haven't gardened are doing houseplants. You also see baby boomers who may be downsizing going back to growing plants for all the stuff it does for us -- it cleans the air, it reduces stress. Tending plants elevates our mood and creates this wonderful environment."

Myers -- a nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author and columnist -- will be the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Gardener's Palette. The event, presented by University of Illinois Extension Adams County Master Gardeners, will take place 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at John Wood Community College, 1301 S. 48th.

Myers will highlight how to choose the right plants, including pet-friendly options, for indoor growing conditions where light and managing water can be a challenge.

"If you have a sunny window and you're a busy person, succulents are a perfect plant for you. They need good bright light, but they like benign neglect. The biggest way people kill them is they water them too much," Myers said.

Houseplants of any type can provide a gateway to doing outside gardening -- just as it did for Myers.

"I started with indoor plants, then found all these great plants I could grow outside," Myers said. "If you have a balcony or steps in front of the house, try a couple pots of edibles. I was a small-space gardener on a tiny city lot in Milwaukee for 26 years. I've always mixed vegetables, flowers and herbs together. Vegetables are beautiful, and I wanted to make the most of every square foot I have."

What Myers calls "flavorful landscapes" incorporate attractive fruits and vegetables into landscaping plans with options ranging from planting an apple tree instead of a crab apple and a hedge of raspberry instead of viburnum to using edible ornamentals such as serviceberry or Juneberry.

Other topics at the Gardener's Palette include roses, landscaping for the long-term, producing quality native plants, soil testing, container gardening 101 and landscaping fact or fiction.

"More people are gardening and landscaping themselves, but today's growing volume of online DIY videos can offer some pretty bad advice. Gardener's Palette offers a chance to learn from landscape professionals and experts in person," said Chris Enroth, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator based in Macomb and a Gardener's Palette speaker.

"Hopefully people leave energized for spring, equipped with the knowledge to make their yards and gardens beautiful and bountiful."

Myers said events like Gardener's Palette are good for attendees and presenters.

"I always learn something," she said. "Gardeners always make me feel at home no matter where I go. Even though I'm a horticulturist, and that's my profession, I am a gardener. We buy too many plants. I have no problem spending the day outside whenever I can digging in the soil and plants."



The cost to attend the 25th annual Gardener's Palette is $30 per person, including lunch and printed materials, for registrations made through Friday, Feb. 21.

Late and at-the-door registration, if space is available, is $40 per person.

Class numbers are limited and will be filled on a first-come first-served basis.

Online registration and more information are available at web.extension.illinois.edu/abhps.

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