I attended the Home Gardeners' School at Cook College at Rutgers University today. Aside from the strangeness of being awake while the sun was out, I learned a lot.
My first "class" was Weeds in Nature: Invasive Plants of NJ.
Among other things, I learned that my beloved butterfly bush is considered an invasive. And I have been correct for years about the honeysuckle vines. They are invasive also. I swear you can actually see them grow. I consider them the North's version of kudzu.
Next up was Shade Gardens
. I was hoping for some inspirations for that extremely shady corner by my birdbath. It was taught by Judy Glattstein who has written 8 books on gardening. She had all the usual suggestions for plants for shade, nothing new to me. I did learn however why most shade plants bloom in the spring. It has to do with the amount of available light. The most amount of sunlight is available in the spring before the leaves come out on the taller bushes and trees. Boy, do I feel stupid. That is pretty obvious. I don't know why I never thought of it before.
There was a panel of speakers at lunch to answer gardening questions. I was amazed that they were all male. The audience was 90% female. Little did I know when I was marching for women's rights, that 30 years later I would be sitting in an auditorium with several hundred women while being talked down to by a bunch of men. I made note of this on the comments card they provided.Choosing and Using Bulbs
was next with Judy Glattstein once more. At the beginning, she promised to show us bulbs we had never seen before and where we could purchase them. I sat up and took notice. This is what I had come for. Sorry, Ms. Glattstein, but have you actually looked at any of the catalogs that clog your mailbox? All those "rare and unusual" bulbs you go on and on about have been available for years and not just from some obscure website that no one has ever heard of.Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
was the final and most satisfying lecture of the day. Seems that I have been correct for years about which insects are beneficial in the garden and have actually been growing a few of the plants that they favor. I now have a list of lots more, some of which I have been planning on trying out anyways.
I never realized how much I know about gardening. It was very gratifying. Today was the spring edition of Home Gardeners' School. It is also offered in the fall. I will definitely be attending that one also. I am hoping they will be offering classes on composting and attracting birds.