Think Spring: Garden Seminars Offered in Akron this February

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager


Ahhh…. the thought of spring while braving this three degree weather has me smiling and thinking of flowers, sunshine and the KAB Flowerscape crew busy outside! Oh wait. It is still winter time, but some of our Dreamscape Vendor Partners, such as Dayton Nursery and Graf Growers Garden Center, have lots of upcoming events to get you ready for spring. Garden Seminars Galore!

Dayton’s Nursery:

Dayton Nursery, 3459 Cleveland-Massillon Road, will present the following seminars which will begin at 11 a.m. and usually last about two hours. The cost is $10, or $6 for garden club members. Dayton will provide coffee, tea and a light lunch at no additional cost. Seating is limited to 70. To signup, call 330.825.3320 or email

February 1- “Troubleshooting in the Landscape and Lawn: Preventing Problems Before They Start” with speaker Tom Dayton. Participants will learn skills to troubleshoot and cure the most common gardening ailments for Northeast Ohio. This session also will include a top 10 list of the most common mistakes in gardening.

February 8- “Gardening With Tropical Plants” with speaker Cynthia Drukenbrod of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Participants will learn how to best sow tropical plants in the summer with colorful and impactful container combinations.

February 15- “Sensory Gardening” with speaker Michelle Riley, of All About You Landscape Design. Participants will discover interesting plants to touch, the most fragrant selections, hardy color displays and edibles surrounded by the sounds and music of nature. This seminar will include a special bonus slide show of the most outstanding fall color of 2013.

February 22- “The Birds, the Bees, and Everything in Between” with speaker Carol Zeh. Zeh, a local Audubon Society member and Metro Parks volunteer, will discuss the scope of local birds, seed mixes to use to attract different species, as well as types of bird feeders and where to plant them in the landscape. She will touch on the best plants that serve as food sources, nesting areas and protection. She will also raise awareness on the recent reduction of bees and how to use bee-friendly gardening practices to help prevent further loss.

Graf Growers Garden Center:

Graf Growers, 1015 White Pond Drive, will present a series of garden seminars on Saturday mornings. Each week a different gardening topic will be covered and presented by a garden industry professional. Seminars will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Coffee and light refreshments will be available at 9:30 a.m., along with the chance to network with other local gardeners. Cost is $12 per class. To register, call 330.836.2727 or go online at

February 1- “Flowering Shrubs for Every Season” with speaker Danny Gouge, marketing manager at Willoway Nurseries. Gourge will present new introductions, highlights and trends for David Austin roses, Drift Roses, Endless Summer hydrangeas, Knock Out Roses, Proven Winners, Raymond Envison premium clematis, American beauties and more. In addition to his more than 30 years in the field of horticulture, Gouge’s other interests include photography, as well as writing and giving lectures as a member of the Garden Writers Association.

February 8- “Embellishing the Garden: Adding the Frills and Thrills” with speaker, Debra Knapke, published garden and perennial author. Knapke will combine her extensive horticulture background and design sense to help participants make their gardens a true work of art.

February 15- “Cool Perennials for Trouble Spaces and Color Spots” with speaker Laura Kaufman, perennial and nursery manager at Graf Growers. This presentation will introduce participants to perennials for frustrating growing conditions and provide tips for combining them with perennials that bring color and drama to a garden each season. Kaufman has more than 25 years of horticulture experience.

February 22- “Gardening in Containers for All Season” with speaker Bob Rensel, manager of horticulture at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Rensel, who designs and creates the container gardens at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, will cover the nuts and bolts of how to successfully grow plants in containers. He’ll also do a review of plants that do well in containers, as well as cover design and plant combination considerations for patios and yards and how to create displays and containers for all four seasons.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the KAB office at Thanks!


More Composting Tips

by Cindy Pantea

Awhile ago I wrote a post about my Grandma, who was a recycler and composter. Her way of composting, though, was to keep her food scraps in the coffee can underneath her sink and then add them to her garden when the can was full.

As Polly, our Flowerscape Director, and composting experts will tell you, however, it is not a good idea to put food scraps directly into your garden due to the acidity of the decaying materials.

Actually, it is best to mix already composted materials with the natural soil on your property/in your garden, and it will help keep the soil moist for your plants.

Normally people do not even get that far because just the idea of a compost pile scares them. They think it smells.

But I am here to tell you again that compost piles do not smell if done correctly. And it is simple. Basically equal parts of green material and dirt or other brown materials are going to keep the compost from smelling at all.

To prove this, allow me and our President & CEO, Paula Davis, share something that Paula took from her HGTV Magazine this month. It is written by Daryl Beyers who gives us specific suggestions for green and brown materials that make for the best compost.

Green materials being: fruit ends and peels, fruit cores, corn cobs, vegetable ends and peels, grass clippings, egg shells, coffee grouds and tea bags.

Brown materials being: peanut shells, twigs, leaves, toilet paper rolls, shredded paper towels and paper, cooked pasta (without butter or oils), and plain popcorn (without butter or oils).

DO NOT COMPOST: Meat, milk cheese butter, yogurt, oils, salad dressing or dog poop.

Here are the directions from Beyers:

  1. Put ingredients in an outdoor compost bin or a pile in your yard that will get four to six hours of sun a day. (Note: Compost housed in a bin can be ready in 30 days while it may take a few months for a pile of compost to be ready.)
  2. Add a shovelful of garden soil then mix every week or two by turning the materials with your shovel or pitch fork. (Note: The more you mix, the faster it will be ready.)
  3. Add water if the compost seems dry.

The compost is done when it looks dark, rich and fluffy with no recognizable materials, except for maybe a piece of a leaf or twig.

The picture article is shown below. Click on the picture and zoom in for better viewing capabilities.

composting tips for a no smell compost




Mums Galore!

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

Every fall it happens, mums (Chrysanthemums) galore appear in the grocery stores and nurseries. It’s a tradition that rings in autumn like college football, apple picking, corn mazes and Pumpkin Spice Latte’s. But what do you look for when you buy your mums in the store? Choosing the right mum plant and keeping it healthy is important. So… do you choose a full bushy plant loaded with flowers or the newly budded beauty about to burst with blooms? The answer to that question is one my mother often asks… so, I did a little research this year! Thank goodness our friends at HGTV came to the rescue through my research!

Fall mums are a beautiful addition to any garden!

Fall mums are a beautiful addition to any garden!

Here’s how to choose the right mum plant and keep it healthy, via HGTV Gardens:

  • First, decide when you want to plant. If you’re reading this now and haven’t already gotten started,  you’ll probably need to go with a fall planting! Keep in mind that fall-planted mums may not survive the winter since their roots haven’t had a chance to get established, but since mums are relatively inexpensive, you can treat them as annuals and re-plant from year to year.
  • Next, choose your variety. Your two basic options are “florist” or “hardy” mums. While both types come from the same original parent mum, they’ve been extensively hybridized over centuries to create many offshoot varieties. Florist mums are meant for cutting blooms, while hardy mums are bred to flourish longer-term in the garden. If you plant a potted florist mum in spring it may thrive while the weather is warm, but won’t survive the winter.
  • Caring for your mum depends on whether you want to keep it for a season or for more seasons to come: If you are planting your mum as an annual, all you need to worry about is planting in well-draining soil in a partly-sunny area of your garden. Choose a container or bed that offers plenty of space for the formed root ball. Water well, and continue to water every other day or so, or as much as needed to maintain blooms. If you’re planting mums as perennials, it’s best to start in spring in full sun to give roots a chance to get established. Plant the mums in well-draining soil, making sure to leave 6-12 inches between each plant and water frequently. Before winter, protect the mums by covering plants with several inches of mulch.  Wait until the following spring to cut back stems, and fertilize well to encourage blooms. If the mums produce spring blooms, pinch them back before late summer to encourage fall flowering.

Happy Fall! Happy planting! Happy mums!

Interested in purchasing mums in Akron? One of our Dreamscape Vendor Partners, Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center hosts a Fall Festival each year and has great mum deals! Check out more information on Donzell’s and their mums!

Upcoming Garden Calendar of Events

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

Check-out the upcoming schedule of events happening in Summit County and surrounding areas:

  • Summit County Master Gardeners Horticultural Hotline- 330.928.GROW (330.928.4769). On Tuesday’s from 9 a.m. to noon from March-October you can call the Horticulture Hotline to ask garden-related questions and get advice from the experts.
  • The Sustainable Garden- 6-8 p.m. on Thursday April 11 at Furnace Run Metro Park (Brushwood Pavilion) at 4955 Townsend Road, Richfield. Sustainable gardening involves more than just proper plant selection. Discover how to maximize the environmental benefits of your garden by incorporating sustainable practices and design into your landscape. Class fee is $5 for Master Gardener and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists. $10 for everyone else. For more information contact Danae Wolfe, OSU Extension at 330.928.4769 – ext. 17.

Donzell’s Garden Center Upcoming Events:

  • Scott’s Lawn Care Seminar- at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday April 13. The speaker will be Jason Strike, Scotts representative. For those who want the best-looking lawn on the block or just want to keep their lawn green and weed-free, join us for discussion of the do’s & don’ts of fertilizers, weed-killers, grub control and general lawn maintenance issues. Please call Donzell’s to register if planning to attend. 330.724.0550 ext 110.