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Shed winter blues with New Ventures garden seminar

Enough of winter already — time to talk gardening

And not only gardening, but how to do it more easily, with less pain, with beautiful, fun plants.

All that is on the agenda at the 14th annual New Ventures Garden Seminar on March 15 at Northwood School in Minong.

This year’s topics include:

• Low-Maintenance Gardening: William Dougherty explores creative ways to construct or rejuvenate a garden for beauty and utility, and details planting techniques and plants that help reduce garden maintenance.

• Landscaping with Iris: Dougherty knows irises fit into every type of garden. He takes a look at the different types of iris available to northern gardeners, their culture, and how they can be used in the landscape.

He is a professional landscape designer, a plant breeder, and a former American Iris Society garden judge, regional vice president of the American Iris Society, and president of the Iris Society of Minnesota. He is also a garden photographer and blogger at

• Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses: Steve Horan focuses on recommended grasses for a wide range of home landscape situations. He looks at grasses that are large and small, sun and shade lovers, edgers and focal points, plus flower inflorescences, fall color, and winter interest.

Horan is an active collector of ornamental grasses in the home landscape with more than 250 grasses and 30 different types of grasses. His garden has been featured in national tours for daylily societies, and he belongs to many local garden clubs and national garden organizations.

• Easing the Pain of Gardening: Physical Therapist Shalla Acker discusses what can go wrong with gardeners’ backs, simple ways to adapt activities and equipment, and a simple, brief exercise routine gardeners can fit in anywhere, anytime.

She has been practicing physical therapy at Spooner Health System for 25 years, updating her skills with annual continuing education courses. Her areas of interest have been musculoskeletal pain and various medical and alternative perspectives on effective strengthening, stretching and movement coordination. She also has become adept at adapting activities and equipment so she could continue to garden, golf, ride horses, and complete her job tasks safely.

Seminar attendees will be able to attend all four seminars.

New Ventures is co-hosted by the Spooner Garden Club, North Country Master Gardeners and Northwood Community Education.

The seminar runs 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., with registration and vendor sales beginning at 8:45 a.m.

Registration is required by mailing in $15 (includes lunch and all snacks) with name, phone number and address. The registration should be mailed to Northwood School Community Ed, N14463 Hwy. 53, Minong, WI 54859.

As is the tradition at the seminar, 4-by-6-inch or 88-by10-inch photos of plants, area gardens, and visited gardens are welcome and will be displayed during the event. Attendees are invited to send photos with their registration — no email — along with the photographer’s name and a description of the photo. The snapshots can be retrieved after the seminar if desired.

Vendors with any kind of garden-related products or exhibits are invited too. People love to shop at the seminar, event organizers said.

For information about the seminars or vending, contact Julie Hustvet at, or Micki Brisky, Northwood School, 715-466-4692, ext. 323, or michela_

Northwood School is four miles north of Minong on U.S. Highway 53.