Arboretum Hosts Native Gardening Conference September 18

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Learn Sustainable Gardening Practices and How to Use Native Plants in Home Landscapes

The UW–Madison Arboretum will host its 2022 Native Gardening Conference, “Native by Design: Gardening for a Sustainable Future,” on September 18.

Held in the fall when the prairies are at their seasonal peak, the conference offers a day of expert-led workshops and tours to help all gardeners, from beginner to experienced, learn to create beautiful restorative landscapes that play a broader ecological role and support biodiversity.

The all-day conference runs from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and costs $70. Advanced registration is required by September 8. Morning coffee, lunch, and afternoon coffee are included in the conference fee.

Native plants have many benefits for the home landscape and the broader community. They are adapted to local climate, soil and other environmental factors. Because they evolved with other native species, some perform unique roles in local ecosystems. Native plant gardens use less water and no fertilizer or pesticide. They are a valuable resource for hundreds of wild pollinator species, and they support local food webs and biodiversity as well as migratory animals, including rare and threatened species.

Arboretum, UW–Madison and other area experts will lead workshops suitable for a variety of gardens and home environments, from small urban yards to rural acreage. Session options will cover native garden design (Evelyn Howell, professor, landscape architecture, UW–Madison), native shrubs and trees (David Stevens, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens curator, UW Arboretum), citizen science in your yard (Jessica Ross, USDA researcher), garden planting and management (Susan Carpenter, native plant garden curator, UW Arboretum), garden pollinators (Skye Harnsberger and Jade Kochanski, entomology doctoral students, UW–Madison), rain gardens (Gail Epping Overholt, education program manager, UW Arboretum), native plant identification (Kevin Doyle, botanist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources), jumping worm impacts and management (Brad Herrick, ecologist and research program manager, UW Arboretum), and a tour of the Arboretum’s Wisconsin Native Plant Garden.

A keynote address follows the sessions. Alan Branhagen will give this year’s keynote, “Gardening with Native Plants of the Midwest.” Branhagen’s inspiring overview of Midwestern native plants – and why they are so important to a healthy environment – will help homeowners, gardeners, and landscapers succeed in selecting, growing, and maintaining them.

Branhagen is the director of operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where he supervises capital improvements, horticulture and natural resources, plant curation, facilities, and information technology. He received a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Louisiana State University. He is the author of The Gardener’s Butterfly Book, Native Plants of the Midwest, and The Midwest Native Plant Primer: 225 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden. Branhagen is an all-around plantsman and naturalist (specializing in botany, birds, and butterflies).

Conference information and registration»