Master Gardeners Host “Going Garden Crazy” Spring Symposium

By: Contributor Last Updated: March 14, 2013

Chris-Hansen-hi-res-image-Horizontal“An addiction to gardening is not all bad when you consider all the other choices in life.” Cora Lea Bell

The La Porte County Master Gardener Association, Purdue Extension La Porte County and sponsors invite community members to join in “Going Garden Crazy,” the 2013 spring symposium April 13 at Heston Hills Conference Center, 1933 East 800 North, La Porte, Indiana. The event, which helps fulfill the Master Gardener program aim of “helping others grow,” features a fun-filled day of programs, lunch, garden-related vendors, door prizes, raffles, and socializing with other gardening addicts and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (CDT)

“While the symposium is organized by trained Master Gardeners, anyone with an interest in gardening and plants will benefit by attending,” said Gene Matzat, Extension Educator at the Purdue Extension – La Porte County office and coordinator of the Purdue Master Gardener Program in La Porte County. “Folks with gardening experiences ranging from many years to almost none will enjoy hearing the speakers, visiting the vendors, mixing with Master Gardeners, and making new gardening friends.”

Noted author, educator, and researcher, Dr. Allan Armitage of Athens, Georgia, will open the day with “Crazy Plants for Crazy Gardeners” and conclude with “Why I Still Garden,” which offers a look at the ups and downs of gardening. Widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost horticulturists, Dr. Armitage runs the research gardens at the University of Georgia where new plant material from most of the flower breeders of the world is evaluated. The popular ‘Margarita’ chartreuse sweet potato vine is one of his many introductions. Having gardened in both the North and South, Dr. Armitage shares a wide range of horticulture information with great humor. Learn more from Dr. Armitage’s web site at

AlanArmitageAlso speaking will be Chris Hansen, vice-president of Great Garden Plants, Holland, MI, who will offer a lively, fast-paced presentation of “Thrills and Chills – Must Have New Perennials for 2013.” As former Director of Horticulture for Wayside Gardens and Director of Marketing for Terre Nova Nurseries, Hansen has visited and photographed thousands of nurseries and home gardens searching for new perennials. His passion and enthusiasm for plants is contagious. Find his nursery offerings at “The LaPorte County Master Gardener (sponsored) Symposium is an enjoyable way to spend the day with other gardeners and friends,” commented Mary Simon of Valparaiso, who has attended in the past. “The gardens are beginning to wake up and it is fun to compare what is “coming up”. A speaker this year is nationally known (Dr. Armitage) and I thought I would never be able to hear him considering he lives in Georgia. The best part of attending is that you get all this at a bargain price and lunch, too!”

Several lodging establishments are offering discounts to symposium attendees. For rates, check Facebook page

Registration for the symposium is $35 per person and includes gardening information, lunch and morning coffee. A registration form and more information are available at the Purdue Extension – La Porte County Office located at 2857 W. State Road 2, Suite A, La Porte, IN (phone 219-324-9407) or may be downloaded at