Growing the Midwest Garden

The Amazon reviews:

Dee T.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Garden Book in Its Class

June 28, 2015

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

There are several great gardening books out there (Armitage, DiSabato-Aust) but this is the book I have been waiting for. I have wanted a garden book covering plants (perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs) that I can actually find in a local nursery as well as likely have success in growing in my hardiness zone. Lyon covers 12 states and 3 Canadian provinces broken down into 5 Midwest regions that provide the reader with maximum chances of finding the right plant for "my" site. Lyon's illustrations of over 200 plants are marvelous. His writing style is conversational, witty -- I felt like he was sitting beside me discussing plants, soil, diseases, etc. His advice is based on his personal gardening experiences as well as being the director of several major Midwest public gardens. He is candid about the pros and cons of his selections but leaves the reader with good cultivar choices should you want to try, for example, a Bearded Iris - a plant I have come to dislike in my garden and Lyon's narrative hits the problems on the head. I wish I could have had his critical perspective over the years - would have saved me time, money, and frustrations over my poor decisions as well as often reinforcing the good choices I have made. Lyon wants his reader to have successful and enjoyable garden experiences. I look forward to trying out my newly found Midwest garden knowledge.

 

 

Grandbear

 

5.0 out of 5 starsGreat gardening book!

April 18, 2018

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

Arrived today. We found the landscape design we need for our front yard. Could not be happier witht he content, price and vendor!

 

 

dancer

 

5.0 out of 5 starsGrowing, growing, growing

December 2, 2015

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

Ed writes as well as he speaks. That's saying a lot. The book addresses all kinds of questions and answers things I didn't know to ask. I have bought several now, for me and as gifts.

 

 

Kindle Customer

 

5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent resource

July 30, 2015

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

Extremely helpful book. We are converting a large patch of grass lawn back into prairie. This book gave us good ideas for drought-resistant, perennials.

 

 

Jeremy Sherwood,Jeremy Sherwood

 

5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars

May 6, 2018

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

Great info

 

 

Sandy Hjortland

 

5.0 out of 5 starsGarden Encyclopedia!

August 25, 2015

Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase

I got this for a dear step daughter who is an avid and very successful gardener. It looks to be a good and complete reference book.

 

 

JR

 

4.0 out of 5 starsFour Stars

January 15, 2016

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

I like the book, but wish their would have been more details included in the plant section.

 

 

JDJester

 

5.0 out of 5 starsA great and useful book

September 13, 2015

Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase

A great and useful book. I was a little surprised at some omissions in plant lists but still loved the book.

 Speaking Topics 

Ed Lyon is available for speaking engagements with the programs below; any of these can be modified to fit your audience and other topics can be developed. Hosts cover travel expenses; contact him for honorarium.

MIDWEST FOCUS

GROWING THE MIDWEST GARDEN (has been presented as a 6-week series; each program stands alone)

Description of series: Growing the Midwest Garden can be a series that augments my book by the same title released in May, 2015 or the 6 topics can stand alone. The book is often provided for anyone taking the entire series; the series has been offered with the option of individual class versus entire series pricing. The first 6 lectures following the below paragraph are the series components.

This talk is applicable to novice and experienced gardeners alike. The goal of the talk and book is to present gardening, horticulture and plant science in gardener terminology, simplifying complex information and dispensing useful advice based on the most current research and specific to the idiosyncrasies of the Midwest.

 

ACKNOWLEDGING YOUR ROOTS: THE IDIOSYNCRASIES OF THE MIDWEST

Why write a book specific to the Midwest? Because it is a region unlike any other in the country and presents its own set of challenges. If you read national gardening magazines, you have probably been frustrated when much of the information is not applicable to your situation. Simply acknowledging it won’t make you a successful gardening. Knowing what the differences are and the background behind them will switch on a light bulb for you. Knowledge truly is power and when you know the specifics behind the unique characteristics of our region, it will provide you with valuable background of how to use the information to be a successful gardener.

 

IT'S ABOUT CULTURE (PLANTS DON’T DIE; WE KILL PLANTS)

For many of us giving presentations, if a class is cancelled due to inadequate registration, there is a high chance it is soils based. There’s a reason for that. Most soils classes are presented by soil scientists who don’t “translate” the science into gardener terminology emphasizing why each factor is relevant and important from a gardening perspective. More than one gardener has tipped their head back with eyes rolled backward snoozing through soil talks. This is a shame because soils are the single most critical component to successful gardening. Gardeners will invest hundreds to thousands of dollars in plant materials that fail because soil requirements have not been considered and addressed. Additional cultural considerations for healthy plants will also be discussed.

 

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES: LOW IMPACT GARDENING, SUSTAINABILITY AND GARDEN SCOURGES

Sustainable gardening is a popular trend but what does it mean? What is the background behind the native versus ornamental debate? What are the considerations you aren’t being told and need to be considered? What are the best ways to handle pests and diseases without affecting human, animal and plant health? We will discuss responsible methods of gardening as well as two forms of low-impact gardening. The first is low impact on the environment. The second is important to our own physical health, low-impact on the body including the recent trend in limited space gardening. After all, it is about tending the body as well as the earth!

 

MORE THAN PRAIRIE: GARDEN DESIGN

It is interesting that as I wrote the book, I found even the publishers had a preconceived idea that Midwestern gardening was prairie based. Midwestern gardening is about success by acknowledging Midwest conditions, not necessarily gardening indigenously. Design is an important consideration for gardeners and transcends regionality. We will discuss design elements that guide the aesthetic and talk about other considerations of how to use garden accessories and augment your style. This is one topic where regionality should not limit you, design guidelines are applicable regardless of where you live.

CREATING a WILD FRIENDLY GARDEN WITHOUT the WILD

 

There is strong interest in creating ecologically friendly gardens that might attract anything from beneficial insects and butterflies to birds, bats, snakes and toads. Many sources indicate it is as easy as planting native plants but the results can often be wild, weedy spaces that you can’t manage and the neighbors want to mow over. It is a challenge to balance “wild and natural” with easy-to-manage and visually pleasing. This class is more than a list of plants that attract wildlife; it addresses potential challenges and pitfalls and advice on how to properly plan for success.

 

GIVING THE GARDEN LIFE: TREES AND SHRUBS

There are two stages of providing the foundation to the garden: the hardscape that creates the “permanent” structure and trees & shrubs, almost nearly as permanent once established. Unlike perennials and annuals which can be easily moved, thoughtful consideration is needed to select and properly site trees & shrubs. The focus here will be on those considered home garden appropriate; fitting the average home landscape vs. the large canopy trees more appropriate to large properties, and on some of the lesser known ornamental species.

(This talk is an adaptation of The Missed Middle Landscape.)

 

GIVING THE GARDEN LIFE: PERENNIALS

There are 350 plants in Ed Lyon’s book Growing the Midwest Garden but perennials are easily the most popular garden plants, so this session will focus on selecting them by cultural conditions and fitting selections to unique sites as described in the book. Examples include “Fussy Children”, “Sunny Tops, Wet Feet”, “Disappearing Acts”, “Shady Characters”, “Tough as Nails” and others. Success with perennials goes beyond reading the label – matching plants to specific sites is critical and selection according to cultural needs is key to success.

 

Another Midwest or Cold Climate gardening talk

 

COLD CLIMATE GARDENING

There is a reason “zone envy” among gardeners always refers to a desire for warmer zones rather than colder.  It seems that the colder the zone, the more limiting the gardening.  Although many aspects of this may be true, there are also ways to embrace a colder climate and make it work for successful gardening.  You may not be able to pick fresh citrus off a tree, but you will enjoy the fragrance of lilacs that your southern friends miss.  Ed Lyon had gardened in northern climes his whole life and will address the challenges and some ways to improve growing conditions.  He will also address that closely related discussion of regionalism and how that also contributes to specific northern temperate zones.

 

DESIGN

 

INNOVATIVE INSPIRATIONS FROM AMERICAN GARDENS

How many times have you walked into a garden and marveled over the creative use of plants or garden accessories and thought, “I wish I had thought of that for my garden!”  Experienced gardeners will tell you that many of their innovative ideas come from others.  A busy schedule might keep you from gleaning inspiration from your own personal visits so attend this presentation to view ideas from public and private gardens around the country.  Ed Lyon visits many gardens and has been fascinated with the ingenious innovations in landscape design he’s photographed.  You may find the answer to that problem area; let the creativity of others inspire you!

 

FADED GLORY: THE AUTUMN GARDEN

A recent trend in garden design has been interest in the “Autumn Garden”.  This is partly because the floral displays we plant in the Midwest for stunning spring and summer effect fade and wither away at the first kiss of frost.  Our yards then become useless as extensions of our home with no visual interest through our long winter season.  Neither autumn nor winter needs to be dreary and there are more ways to punch it up with more than mums.  Ed Lyon will demonstrate plant materials that not only define and create a spectacular fall garden, but will extend winter interest as well.  If your autumn garden has the drabs, find out how to jazz it up!

 

ORNAMENTAL EDIBLES: GARDENING WITH PLANTS BOTH DECORATIVE AND FUNCTIONAL

There has been a resurgent interest in edible, harvestable plants, whether it is concern for food safety, “locally grown”, renewed interest in heirloom flavors, dual purpose mixed usage, cost of quality food or other reasons.  In the past, only ornamental plants were selected for form, texture, shape and color – in other words decoration – and herbs and vegetables were bred for yield only. Today there is a plethora of exciting cultivars of plants that are not only decorative but all or part are edible!  Ed Lyon created an Ornamental Edibles theme for Allen Centennial gardens in 2009 and the public reaction was excitement in discovering new ways to use plant materials in design.  This presentation will show ornamental edibles used in a variety of ways in gardens, public and private, across the country.  Come be inspired!

 

PUNCH IT WITH COLOR!

Have you noticed the “explosion” in availability of color-foliaged plants?  Propagators with keen eyes know the appeal of vivid color to gardeners and are releasing more and more new cultivars as fast as they can discover them.  The most popular colors on the market today are variegations, golds, and purples.  Colored foliage serves many purposes in garden design and has expanded the appeal of some plants previously considered only single-season interest.  Ed Lyon will explain what causes variegation and other foliage colors and how it affects cultural considerations; then you’ll explore the vast selection of plants available.  Panache and Pizzazz, you can have it all!

 

 CLUTTER, CHAOS OR CLASS?: USING CREATIVITY EFFECTIVELY IN GARDEN DESIGN

Says Ed Lyon “I have an avid gardener friend who is so proud of a garden the rest of us call “eclectic”.  Beware, that’s a kind way of saying “cluttered mess’”.  Garden non-plant ornamentation can add visual interest and livability to a garden design but where is the line between kitsch and class?  This becomes even more critical today as homeowners are designing outdoor living and entertainment areas rather than just gardens.  Ed has had the opportunity to visit public and private gardens across the US and will use real-life examples to demonstrate adding panache while avoiding clutter and chaos.  Don’t let your friends call your landscape “eclectic”!

 

 STUNNING PLANTS FOR DAZZLING EFFECTS

Over the last decade, “mixed usage” has evolved as a popular trend. In the past, herbs were relegated to the herb garden, vegetables to the vegetable garden, perennials to the border…you get the picture.  With decreased home garden size and the explosion of interest in container garden, we are now setting ourselves free from old, tired boundaries and restrictions and creating combinations with colorful riotous effect.  Ed Lyon uses his travels to public and private gardens across the country to inspire you with stunning, dazzling combinations and the plants that create them.

 

LANDSCAPING WITH ANNUALS, TROPICALS AND ORNAMENTAL EDIBLES

(similar to above, I was asked to develop this for Chicago professionals with this title)

The best landscape and design professionals expand their seasonal palette from common annuals such as petunias, geraniums and marigolds to selections more intriguing to clients who want to punch up the growing season with exuberant color, texture and form. In addition, clients that are presented with new plant materials will increase their requests to favorite garden centers and nurseries, creating demand that increases local plant palette selection!

 

THE NEW GARDEN: FOLIAGE, TEXTURE AND COLOR

Garden design has long been based on flowers and flower color.  It can be difficult for the Midwest gardener to achieve in one season the same beauty that gardeners in other regions take for granted all year.  Perennials flower for a relatively short duration and staggering plants that insure interest all season is challenging.  The modern gardener looks beyond flowers to achieve 4-season interest in the garden.  This is accomplished by examining and using plant form, color and texture with foliage, form, bark, etc.  Not only do these factors provide multi-season interest, they work to tie the flowering elements together in a more visually interesting manner.  In this presentation, Ed Lyon will show you design possibilities beyond flowers that will help you achieve a garden that provides year-long interest and provide fluidity and visual appeal through four seasons.

 

LANDSCAPING FOR THE OLDER HOME

When planning a garden design around an older or even historic home, much effort goes into the upkeep and remodeling to enhance its historical appeal. The same effort directed to the garden landscape can greatly augment the entire appearance and perspective as well.  Finding and creating the right garden style can be a satisfying project.  This lecture addresses American architecture and the garden styles each evoked as well as plant materials that will help lend historical perspective and “complete” the historical nature of the landscape.  [Bring photographs of your older home and property and we will discuss solutions as a class (if designed as longer workshop versus lecture).]

 

TRENDS, MARKETING, ETC.

 

CHANGING TRENDS: ORNAMENTAL EDIBLES, SUCCULENTS, NEW AUDIENCES AND MORE

Ed Lyon is a baby boomer generation gardener that joined the ranks of avid gardening that made gardening the number 1 recreational activity in America until that trend started to decline in 2005.  He has been addressing audiences in recent changes in gardening as America’s number one recreational activity, which peaked in 2005 and has been declining since.  English perennial borders, manicured lawns, extravagant water features and intensive gardening are on their way out.  Who are the generations replacing the old guard gardeners and what incites them to home landscaping?  What are ornamental edibles, what are lasagna, straw bale and square-foot gardening, is sustainability a catch-all phrase, are native plants always better than exotic, what are these new “gravel gardens” and how can a homeowner not interested in perennial beds maximize fresh, safe, organic produce?  This talk examines a number of new trends and what people are doing around the country to incorporate them into their home landscapes.

 

WHY DOESN’T MINE LOOK LIKE THAT?  NEW P[LANTS: PROMISE OR REALITY

Why doesn't my plant look like it does in the catalog!  This is a common gardener complaint. There are many issues to consider when purchasing a plant you expect to look like its marketing piece.  Ed Lyon will discuss marketing related issues as well as the results of a record setting plant releases without adequate trialing.  Sprinkled in will be related issues including the continuing challenges with plant names, new trends and tidbits on trends to expect in the future.  The talk will be backed up with real plants photographed in both the Midwest and other areas of the country contrasted with their marketing images.  If your plant doesn't look like the photograph in the catalog, it may not be because you did something wrong or were a poor gardener - come see why!

 

THE NEW PLANT PRIMER

If you get plant catalogs you can’t help but notice how quickly new plants are “exploding on the market.  It’s hard for even professionals to keep up with it!  And it can be expensive trying to add all of the new plants to our garden just to find out they don’t live up to the expectations created by marketing.  So what’s new?  Just because it’s new, doesn’t always make it better.  Which new plants are ‘good do’ers’?  Which time tested plants are better alternatives?  Horticulturist and gardener Ed Lyon sees many of these plants in gardens and test areas, he will help you decide which might be right for you.

 

THE FRONT LAWN CHALLENGE: TAKING A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD SPACE

Over time, traditional home landscapes have become smaller.  Trends in gardening and interests in plant usage have changed.  Homeowners have become concerned about the locality, safety and quality of their food.  Recent research is showing that America’s love affair with the lawn, regardless of their regionalism, is “killing” soils, depleting resources, polluting the environment and creating social barriers within their neighborhoods.  Whether it is the resurgence of interest in home grown produce in a “return to the Victory Garden” awareness, a desire to become more ecologically responsible, or a passion make the garden as relevant in the front of the house as in back, many homeowners having been re-examining the use of their front lawn, boulevards and terraces.  Ed Lyon’s former small Main Street front yard and terrace provided interesting new lessons that he will pass on to you by examining the issues and showing you a plethora of examples of gardeners who have converted their front yard spaces.

 

PLANTS

 

GOOD PLANT, BAD PLANT

Plants, garden-based or native, react differently depending on their geographic, environmental and cultural conditions. The Japanese bloodgrass that barely survives the Midwest is banned in Florida. Native plants that play well with others in their natural surroundings may become thugs in the cultivated garden. The astilbe that flourishes in shade in one area of the country fails to deliver in others. Plant success may defy plant labels or catalog descriptions. This is your opportunity to learn how to keep a good plant from going bad!

 

DWARF IN SIZE, NOT STATURE: DWARF CONIFERS

One of the least known and underappreciated groups of ornamental plants is the dwarf conifer.  Homeowners and professionals alike have no idea that thousands of cultivars ranging from growth of less than an inch per year to over a foot a year are included in this group and provide some of the best range of color, form, texture, shape, and 4-season interest of any plant group.  Ed Lyon is a conifile” and will show you what makes a conifer “dwarf”, explain the American Conifer Society size and growth rate designations and demonstrate what causes the enormous range of forms, colors, textures, sizes, etc. among a relatively few genera.  He will demonstrate fascinating cultivars including some that have yet to reach the market.

 

HERB AND VEGETABLE GARDENING

With renewed interest in safe, healthy flavorful produce, herbs and vegetables are back in the spotlight with new generations of gardeners developing interest in incorporating them into today’s smaller home landscapes. Few things are more enjoyable than harvesting and cooking with fresh ingredients and more garden newbies are attempting it today. Limited space gardening techniques and new releases of compact forms are revolutionizing home grown goodness.

 

THE SINISTER GARDEN: WICKED, WICKED PLANTS

Plants can be wicked in many ways and this talk focuses on toxicity.  There are many interesting botanical deviants all over the world and many that are toxic in one quantity are medicinal in others such as Digitalis, which is a common garden plant. This talk focuses on those most likely found in your home and garden; you may be astounded at the number you have never realized possess defenses that either poison or harm people or pets in some way.

 

CREEPING CRAWLIES: GROUNDCOVERS AND VINES FOR GARDENERS

One of the least known plant groups includes groundcovers and vines.  This ubiquitous group is so useful for many applications where other perennials just won’t fit.  It may seem unusual to combine climbing plants with groundcovers but, without support, many vines are groundcovers!  This group of climbers, spreaders, and trailers is much larger than you might think and there is a wide range of cultivars within many of the species.  Ed Lyon will help you explore possibilities for a wide range of situations to help fill those empty problem spaces as well as incorporating them into the overall ornamental impact of your garden design.

 

GO NATIVE: TREES AND SHRUBS FOR THE HOME LANDSCAPE

It is easy for gardeners to get so caught up in the excitement of ornamental flowers that they forget the value of outstanding native trees and shrubs.  With recent concerns about invasive species, pests and diseases and a growing interest in attracting wildlife and insects, many homeowners and landscapers are looking to natives to either incorporate with ornamentals or create entirely naturalistic landscapes.  However, cultural conditions of the modern home site may have been altered in such a way as to prevent the same healthy growth these species would find in natural sites.  Ed Lyon will address such questions as why paperbark birch is a “suicide tree”, why do sugar maples fail to thrive in the urban lot, just how serious is the toxicity from black walnuts, and many other specifics.  We’ll include the solutions as well!

GO NATIVE: PERENNIALS FROM HOME LANDSCAPES

It is easy for gardeners to get so caught up in the excitement of ornamentals that they forget the value of outstanding native perennials.  With recent concerns about invasive species, pests and diseases and a growing interest in attracting wildlife and insects, many homeowners and landscapers are looking to natives to either incorporate with ornamentals or create entirely native or naturalistic landscapes.  However, cultural conditions of the modern home site may have been altered in such a way as to prevent the same healthy growth these species would find in natural sites.  Ed Lyon will address such questions as what is the background to the strong interest of natives, how well do natives work in the urban landscape, which native plants can still be invasive and many other specifics.  We’ll include the solutions as well!

 

GOING NATIVE: A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE (professional)

A recent noble gardening trend is a movement to using native perennials, trees and shrubs in the home garden. However, most home landscapes have changed considerably from the cultural conditions that were originally indigenous to the site and the honorable push to support this movement tends to highlight the idyllic without education that addresses reality. Many worthy garden movements have failed due to oversimplifying information, resulting in unhappy homeowners who revert to a simpler form of gardening – or abandon gardening altogether - when these new trends fail to work.  Go native, what might this mean to you as professional and educator? This talk will attempt to balance the real-life challenges with the benefits of the native plant movement.

This talk will be given to the Perennial Plant Association at their national conference in Chicago and at the GardenComm (Garden Communicators) national conference in Salt lake City

 

GOING NATIVE: A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE (public)

A recent noble gardening trend is a movement to using native perennials, trees and shrubs in the home garden. However, most home landscapes have changed considerably from the cultural conditions that were originally indigenous to the site and the honorable push to support this movement tends to highlight the idyllic without education that addresses reality. Many worthy garden movements have failed due to oversimplifying information, resulting in unhappy homeowners who revert to a simpler form of gardening – or abandon gardening altogether - when these new trends fail to work.  Go native, what might this mean to you as a gardener? This talk will address the trials as well as the benefits of the native plant movement.

 

SHADE GARDENING: THE PLANTS YOU DON’T KNOW

Your presentation summary/description: Shade gardening is always a “hot” topic that attracts audiences because of the challenges shade creates. If you have already been to a number of them, you know the most common plants featured by speakers such as Hosta, Astilbe, Heuchera and Pulmonaria. If you are ready for the next stage in your shade garden development, this talk features lesser known species and cultivars of plants that will elevate it to the next level.

 

GARDEN PLANT ARCHITECTURE: GRACEFUL GRASSES

Few plant groups have generated more interest in the past ten years than the ornamental grasses.  Versatile and tough, they provide four-season interest and architectural interest to garden designs in an enormous range of sizes, shapes, and textures. They are often limited to sunny, dry sites but their strong architectural elements can be expanded into shade and moist areas with sedges, rushes and flags that add interest in additional color and texture.  Ed Lyon will present you with a comprehensive demonstration of all of the “grass-like” plants available; there are new cultivars of each being offered annually, come see what they can add to your design.

 

ROCK GARDENING FOR THE BEGINNER & THE PLANTS

The term “rock garden” can take on many facets depending on how it is used.  In the strictest sense, it is used to describe gardens representative of alpine regions, where purists attempt to grow sensitive alpine plants out of their natural element.  In the broadest sense, it can be any garden planted among rocks.  In any case, most of the time it does involve small-scale plants, opening up a whole new plant palette.  Ed Lyon, who has built and owned rock gardens, will tackle rock gardening for the beginner, showing variations in styles that may work for you.  The class will also deal with container rock gardens, such as troughs.  Whether you are looking to expand your garden horizon to include miniature landscapes, are looking for ways to garden in restricted space, want to learn more about dwarf and miniature plants, or simply love gardening with rock as a focus, you’ll find what you are looking for here.

 

FOR THE LOVE OF TREES

Utilitarian.  Inspirational.  Regal. In our garden landscapes trees are the stalwart foundation plants that are often taken for granted.  There has been so much conflicting information on planting and maintenance of trees and shrubs; research seems to change dramatically every decade.  and it is difficult for the homeowner to keep up with what is correct and how to keep these investments healthy and thriving.  Current research may surprise you and defy many misconceptions.  We’ll discuss mulching, planting, maintenance, watering, fertilization, pruning, and other issues and intersperse these topics with stunning visuals that remind us why trees inspire.

 

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE! THE MISSED MIDDLE LANDSCAPE

Do you have an established garden but feel a sense of non-completion: something is missing from an otherwise lovely landscape, leaving you with a vague feeling of dissatisfaction? Chances are you missed incorporating into your design the "middle layer" of plants - those that fall between the canopy and ground layers, prevalent in nature and at levels where our eyes focus most. A fun aspect of this layer is that it includes small-scale trees and shrubs that possess outstanding seasonal characteristics including bark, foliage, flowers, form and fruit. Expert Ed Lyon has taught landscapers and other green industry professionals about this important and expanded plant palette. Join Ed in person in this visually stimulating presentation and learn first-hand about an important component of design and the interesting and unique plants that fulfill it.

 

FANTASTIC FERNS

One of the most elegant and useful plants in the outdoor landscape is the fern.  Most gardeners don’t realize that there are an enormous variety of these ubiquitous plants in a myriad of sizes, forms, and textures.  In recent years, there has been a virtual explosion of new selections and cultivars with no indication of slowing down soon.  Selection goes well beyond ostrich and Christmas ferns!  There are a number of mutations that provide fascinating deviations in frond shape; you will be amazed at the forms created.  Ed Lyon has photographed and studied ferns useful for every landscape situation.  Join him for a presentation that will expand your impressions of ferns in garden design!

 

For certificate program:  One of the most elegant and useful plants in the outdoor landscape is the fern.  This ubiquitous plant preceded the seed bearing and flowering plants giving it a fascinating history and biology as well as unique methods of propagation.  Most gardeners don’t realize there are a fairly large number of hardy species and an enormous variety of garden cultivars in a myriad of sizes, forms, and textures.  In addition, there are a number of mutations that provide fascinating deviations in frond shape; you will be amazed at the forms created.  Ed Lyon has photographed and studied ferns useful for every landscape situation.  Join him for a presentation that will expand your impressions of ferns in your garden design!

 

BASICS

 

BOTANY FOR GARDENERS

New to gardening but intimidated by the jargon?  Botany is the science of plants, horticulture is the science of growing and propagating plants.  Basic knowledge of both will make you feel more secure, from buying plants at the garden center to knowing the “hows and whys” that plants need to thrive.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, plants are quite fascinating and after this presentation, plant naming will be simplified and you’ll be able to relate some critical plant functions to gardening.  Ed Lyon will send you home with some simple, easy to remember tips and hints that make science fun and easy.

 

THE ROOT OF THE MATTER: SOILS MADE EASY

Few subjects seem as “dry” as soils but few are nearly as important to the success of your garden landscape.  Ed Lyon takes the scientific jargon out of this subject matter and guarantees you’ll learn information in this class that will amaze you and make your gardening efforts easier and more successful.  In every class, the most common student comment is “Why hasn’t anyone told me this before?”  If you are currently experiencing problems, you’ll learn why and what to do; if you’re just beginning, you’ll learn pitfalls and misconceptions you can avoid.  Don’t put a plant in the ground until you understand how important the soil is to success.

 

FOOLPROOF PLANTS FOR THE WEEKEND WARRIOR

Not everyone wants to spend a great deal of time “fussing” in the garden.  Low maintenance gardening is a hot topic.  Low labor requirements in planting and dividing, minimal fertilization and watering, winter hardiness and non-invasive growth are some of the issues that define low maintenance but so are disease and insect resistance, shade tolerance, and rodent and deer resistance.  This presentation is for the busy homeowner who wants more than the standard spirea and yew landscape yet hasn’t the time to muss and fuss.  Ed Lyon will introduce you to plants, from trees and shrubs to perennials, that are tough as nails as well as those you might want to avoid.

 

Ideas for 2-session all-day programs (take one or both; they also stand alone as 2-3 hour programs)

 

COLOR IN A DAY

 

COLOR IN THE GARDEN

Color is one of the most powerful tools in garden design.  Use it properly and you can create a multitude of effects, from tranquility and serenity to a riotous feast for the eyes.  Effective garden designs don’t occur by random plantings; they are the results of inspiration combined with knowledge of color.  Do you know most of our knowledge and use of color is based on paint and printing?  Would it surprise you to learn that color in the garden is based on visual color which differs from the artist’s palette?  This is a technical presentation where Ed Lyon will explain why color may not be as it seems.  You’ll go home having learned how to assess a garden for color design, how light, texture, and point of view effect color, and what makes beautiful color combinations.

 

COLOR AND PLANT COMBINATIONS

Frustrated by plant color combinations gleaned from books that just don’t work in your garden?  Garden design has been long based on flowers.  Perennials flower for a relatively short duration and staggering plants that insure interest all season can be challenging.  The modern gardener looks beyond flowers to achieve interest in the garden for 4 seasons. With decreased home garden size and the explosion of interest in container garden, we are now setting ourselves free from past boundaries and restrictions and creating combinations with colorful riotous effect.  Annuals, perennials, tropicals, edibles – even trees and shrubs, you won’t look plant combinations the same again. This presentation takes you beyond flowers to elements that present more pleasing visual interest all year.  Join Ed Lyon as he shows you plant combinations you know will work because they are from your area.

 

A DAY IN THE SHADE

Shade gardening is a concern for many gardeners and need not be.  Avid shade gardener Ed Lyon has been teaching classes on this subject for 15 years and is currently developing his third personal shade garden around a new home. He has discovered most shade garden failures start with cultural conditions.  Once they are addressed and corrected, there is a huge palette of plant materials available that will amaze you.  Whether you are new to shade gardening or currently struggling, there is equally useful information for both situations.

 

HOW TO BUILD/IMPROVE A SUCCESSFUL SHADE GARDEN

The problem with a maturing home landscape is that all of those gorgeous trees you have been nurturing to their magnificent adult size are now diminishing those full-sun perennial beds!  Don’t despair; shade gardening is more than hostas and astilbes; the plant palette is much more expansive than many people realize.  In addition, shade opens up entirely different garden uses and sensations that balance sun inspired areas.  So many gardening presentations show you the "afters" with some "before" but rarely include the process.  Ed Lyon built and developed a large shade garden in 1007, in 2007 he moved and turned the entire landscape of a Victorian home into a new shade garden and he is now developing his third after a move to Iowa.  He photographed the process and progress of all three for real how-to presentations.  In this presentation he shows the process and talks about how to overcome the challenges of shade gardening whether you are building from scratch or improving existing.  This talk is truly "how to"!

 

MADE IN THE SHADE II: THE PLANTS

Shade got you down?  Would you be pleased to know there is a large palette of plants that can provide beauty and interest to the shade garden? There are plants that “glow in the dark”, flowers than range from delicately diminutive to exotic, foliage that intrigues, architectural forms for a winter garden, and textures to provide contrast.  Shade opens up entirely different garden uses and sensations that balance the sun inspired areas.  This presentation features a wide range of plant materials.  Come learn why shade is ‘hot’!

 

The three following programs can range from 2 hours to half and full days by adjusting the program description content to fit the time slot. Each has been taught as a full-day workshop at their most complete)

 

GARDENING BASICS

This session covers the basics every homeowner should know to ensure success before even starting a home landscape design.  Topics include the mystery of plant naming, defining hardiness zones, the critical importance of soil, how to mulch and what to use, water and fertilizer issues, maintenance, rodents and deer, and how to cultural control versus pesticides and other harmful methods.  Whether you are a beginner wondering where to begin with a new landscape or a current gardener struggling with problems, this session will simplify gardening and explain many myths and misconceptions about the “how-tos”.  Ed Lyon will teach you how to maximize success while minimizing stress, maintenance, and expense.

 

GEARING UP TO DESIGN

Once you’ve mastered Gardening Basics, you’ll have the confidence to tackle the next step in the process, designing the home garden landscape.  This session will prepare you to understand such issues as how to get started, what tools you will need, matching house style to garden design, the elements of design, use of color, texture, shape and form, and the basics of problem areas including shade and designing for four-season interest.  We will look at a number of home garden issues photographed off season so we can evaluate structure without the distraction of flowers.  [Bring photographs of your home and garden and we will discuss issues as a class (if a workshop versus lecture)].

 

GEARING UP TO PLANTS

You’ve taken all of the basic landscaping ‘how-to” classes and now you’re itching to get to the good stuff – the plant materials!  Where to start? The selection seems overwhelming!  Annuals, tropicals, temperannuals, perennials, trees and shrubs – these are the source of many individual classes!  Before you tackle each group in depth, Ed Lyon will spend time with you previewing the excitement you’ll find in individual plant material classes and help you direct your focus where you need it the most.  We will start with the “foundation” of your garden, deciduous trees, shrubs, broadleaf evergreens and conifers.  Then we’ll tackle the annuals, tender perennials, groundcover, vines, and perennials including grasses, ferns, and shade plants. Ed concentrates on exciting lesser-known plants with high ornamental value so this class will be useful to both novice and experienced gardener.