Proven Winners is bringing the Outdoor Living Extravaganza events to home gardeners in 2014. Registered guests are invited to attend a one-day educational seminar in one of three Midwest cities: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (February 1); Minneapolis, Minnesota (February 8); and Grand Rapids, Michigan (March 8).
The northern cities will each act as a foil, a place where winter weather is still in residence, against the beautiful plants characteristic of Proven Winners’ events.
Each event has a schedule of plant and garden professionals; a mix of Proven Winners representatives and regional garden speakers and a setting offering abundant opportunities to explore outdoor landscapes and other nearby public gardens.
Boerner Botanical Gardens Give Gardeners a Winter Welcome
Guests will find wide open landscapes on a visit to Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners. You will find new colorful plants indoors and inspiration outdoors exploring among the massive evergreens, etched limestone ledges and borrowed views from nearby Whitnall Park. Hales Corners is southwest of the city of Milwaukee and also on the southside is Mitchel Park Conservatory, indoor gardens encased in three glass domes.
In Milwaukee, guests will hear John Gaydos of Proven Winners and Stacey Hirvela from Spring Meadow Nursery talk about their plants.
The Renegade Gardener, an award-winning Minnesota garden writer and designer will only be in Milwaukee for the Outdoor Living Extravaganza. Don Engebretson is a field editor and garden scout for Better Homes and Gardens. According to the front page of Renegade Gardener, it was “originally designed to help gardeners banished to the forgotten USDA Zones 2 – 4.” He calls container gardens “the throw pillows of exterior design” and his talk is entitled, “Crafting Cool & Creative Containers.” It is rumored that five dozen blooming annuals, perennials and specialty grasses will be flown in just for his Milwaukee talk.
Jon Carloftis will be in Milwaukee, too. Carloftis is the owner/designer of Fine Gardens in New York City and the gardens he designed, surrounding his family Kentucky home, were featured in Garden & Gun and Southern Living magazines.
Carloftis’ writes to Decoded Plants, “Think of small space gardening the same way you would set up the rooms in your home. Define the corners with trees in containers, bring in a bench, coffee table and side chairs for entertaining, create a focal point with art or water feature, add a grill for cooking, then lighting for maximum usage.”
Proven Winners at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
John Gaydos will also be in Minneapolis, Minnesota, joined by Susan Martin from Walters Gardens, Ingrid Hoff of Gardens West and the famed P. Allen Smith.
The Outdoor Living Extravaganza is at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, an exquisite outdoor garden worth bundling up to visit.
John Gaydos is the Director of Product Development and Promotion at Proven Winners. He oozes enthusiasm for his plants. In a long-ago comment to Chris Eirschele, he said, “I like to talk to the customers to find out what they want.” In early 2010, he was adamant, “It has to be Snow Princess™ because it met all my personal expectations.” Joe Gaydos did not disappoint.
Susan Martin of Walters Gardens frames her talk in Minneapolis as, “Plant selection can become overwhelming for gardeners as thousands of new varieties become available every year. We want them all, of course, more than our budgets and space will allow. So if you can only have one new coral bells or want the best reblooming daylily or the best plant for dry shade, which one should you pick? I’ll help you narrow down your choices and create your shopping list for spring.”
P. Allen Smith has been at OLE events before and never fails with his enthusiasm for Proven Winners plants wrapped in his Arkansas accent. Smith’s Garden Home Retreat, a 500 acre farm, with more than 275,000 daffodils no doubt has given him inspiration for his talk on “Top 10 Tips and Top 10 Favorites.”
Ingrid Hoff is the Associate Horticulturalist at Garden West, a leading Western Canadian gardening magazine and calls herself an enthusiastic Entomologist. Which explains her topic “Squish or Not to Squish.”
Grand Rapids Michigan in the Backyard of Plant Geeks
If you miss Jon Carloftis in Milwaukee or Susan Martin in Minneapolis, you may catch them at The Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, Michigan. Kerry Meyer from Proven Winners and Kerry Mendez owner of Perennially Yours out of Kennebunk, Maine will join them in Grand Rapids.
Home gardeners coming to Grand Rapids will be in the neighborhood of plant geeks at Spring Meadow Nursery and Walters Gardens.
True, March is hardly ideal for seeing the almost 1,000 kinds of perennials at Walters Gardens or what shrubs Spring Meadow Nursery is showing off. However, calling ahead and taking a short detour to note their locations is worth the time, and plan your next road trip for the summer months.
Who is Proven Winners?
Proven Winners is a co-operative of plant breeders who work closely with professional plant-people developing or improving plant varieties that will thrive in the North American climate.
A trademark of Proven Winners is the white plastic pot with the large black PW lettering accented by a small green leaf. Their iconic plant label, which when bent forward reveals detailed plant information right side up, is attached to the rim of each pot.
Registered Gardeners at Outdoor Living Extravaganza
Home gardeners enjoy interacting with representatives from Proven Winners and listening to the region’s garden speakers talk about all the plant ideas at the Outdoor Living Extravaganza events. Whether it is camera, mechanical pencil or voice recorder, bring something to capture in your memory what your eye will take in.
Guests should sign up in advance. Each registered guest will be treated to a catered lunch and will get a swag bag and plant to take home.