Gardening gala welcomes green thumbs of all ages

Gardens Manitoba presents an all-you-need-to-know gardening event and trade show

The ninth annual Gardening Saturday will be held at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Conference Centre on March 19. The gardening convention is being organized by Gardens Manitoba, a volunteer organization that raises funds and creates awareness to promote horticultural interests and activities.

Gardening Saturday comes just in time for early spring gardeners and enthusiasts to come together to network and learn from each other. The event promises to host gardeners of all knowledge levels and skills, and is set to feature several local home and garden vendors.

University of Manitoba alumna Monica Derksen has been working with Gardens Manitoba for two years and is the event’s planner. Derksen relishes the opportunities she gets to work with passionate gardeners, getting them to explore interesting and enlightening aspects of gardening.

“I think what I like about this event is that the gardeners themselves are very passionate and hands-on,” Derksen told the Manitoban.

“I just think it’s very great that they are exploring the full range, and everybody finds something relevant.”

The convention will include a trade show that will feature vendors such as Fort Whyte Alive, Lacoste Garden Centre, The Prairie Gardens, and Red River Soils, amongst others. Patrons can also check out Gardening Saturday’s “hobby lobby,” as well as educational sessions and workshops.

The sessions and workshops will cover many facets of gardening such as wild gardening, the fundamentals of garden design, and how to raise small livestock within city limits.

Zachary Weiss, a well-known consultant that specializes in permaculture, will be the keynote speaker for the event. Weiss is the founder of Perpetual Green Gardens, a consulting company that builds sustainable geothermal greenhouses, and has worked with famous agriculturist and author Sepp Holzer, and will be sharing his experience and enthusiasm with fellow gardeners in attendance.

“[Weiss] is quite well known worldwide for his work in this area. People who are into permaculture will know who he is, but even if they don’t, it will be an opportunity to meet someone with that level of expertise,” said Derksen.

Derksen believes this event presents an opportunity for gardeners of all ages to be educated on the benefits and techniques of small or commercial gardening.

“I think people think of gardening events as being more for the older community of gardeners but research shows that young people are wanting to get involved more with food and environment. So I think there is an opportunity to grow a brand-new audience in a new generation,” Derksen explained.

“We are definitely doing a lot more social media than we used to […] it’s slow progress and it’s a bit of a balancing act because we don’t want to alienate the existing gardening community.”

Derksen, who is also co-owner of Ethero Events & Management, believes the U of M can do more to promote gardening and horticultural interests. That being said, she recognizes the efforts made by the UMSU Campus Garden initiative.

“I only learnt about the gardening program late into my university career and it’s sort of an isolated thing,” said Derksen.

“Why isn’t that program more involved in ground maintenance in general? […] U of M has the land for it.”


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