Registration opens for annual gardening seminar

The Master Gardeners’ 24th annual Gardening in the Northern Neck (GNN) Seminar March 25 at the White Stone Church of the Nazarene Family Life Center, 57 Whisk Drive, White Stone.

Beginning February 1, registration forms will be available at nnmg.org, or from Northumberland County Extension Office, 580-5694.

This year’s program will feature presentations by Rick Darke and Dr. Doug Tallamy, co-authors of The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, reported communications chairman Cathie Ward.

Dr. Tallamy is at the forefront of a movement that urges us to think of our gardens in terms of function, not simply esthetics, said Ward. He is passionate about the need to restore wildlife corridors of native plant habitat in our own backyards, as our last best hope for slowing the rate of extinction of the plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S. The notion of insects as essential inhabitants in our backyards and to be encouraged instead of wiped out en masse takes some getting used.

But according to Tallamy and a growing chorus from advocates of living landscapes, insects and the plants and trees they feed upon are the foundation of the food web needed for birds and other wildlife to survive, she said.

The two nationally known speakers’ presentations at GNN are a blending of their separate fields of expertise, said Ward.

Tallamy is a professor and chairman of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware. He will bring the perspectives of an entomologist, animal ecologist and ornithologist.

Darke will add the viewpoint of a botanist, plant ecologist and landscape designer.  At GNN, Darke will open with a look at essential living layers in habitats and wild places, said Ward. Dr. Tallamy will follow with a detailed look at co-evolved relationships between plants and animals and what that means for gardeners.

Darke will conclude by putting it all together in a presentation focused on design and maintenance strategies, she said.

The cost to register for GNN is $25. Snacks and beverages will be available at no cost before the seminar begins and during breaks. Box lunches can be ordered at an additional fee when registering.

As in previous years, an extensive marketplace will offer plants from local nurseries, an assortment of gardening books and numerous other garden-related items for sale as well as opportunities to talk one on one with gardening experts.