The arts of Bonsai and answering gardening questions

September 23, 2012

Sarah, Dan and Bon-saiiiii!!!

Please note that I didn’t write “Bonzai!” As my buddy Dan Kosta, from Vern Goers Greenhouse in Hinsdale has often reminded me, bonsai is the art growing miniature trees in containers. “Bonzai” is something you yell when you jump out of an airplane. I suppose you could use it for bungee jumping, too. Whatever. Please note that Wikipedia calls it an art–not horticulture. Although, as I have discovered the hard way, it is a little of both.

When I say “the hard way,” I mean that I have managed to kill both of the bonsai plants that I have owned. But then, I’ve been known to kill orchids, too. Just sayin’.

Anyway, Dan joins Sarah Batka and me in the studio today to talk about the Annual Prairie State Bonsai Show next week at the Morton Arboretum. The show runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30.

But we’re not going to spend the whole show talking about bonsai, as much as that would make Dan the happiest man on the planet.

Part of the reason I invite him to share air time with me is because he knows so much about plants of all shapes, sizes and genuses. We’ll open the phones and and see how good my listeners are at “stump the horticultural experts.” Some people tell me that’s what makes good radio. I’m dubious.

Meanwhile, some other events of interest

Event #1 – Green Town Valparaiso

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett was the 2010 Public Official of the Year, in part because he decided he was fat and so was his city. So, according to the United States Conference of Mayors, Cornett decided to “remake Oklahoma City as a walkable urban center. His ambitious $777 million plan included an extensive new downtown streetcar system, sidewalks throughout the city, a 60-mile network of bicycle trails and walking paths, a new convention center and a new 70-acre park downtown.”

As a result, Cornett was named a “Champion of Health and Fitness” by Fitness Magazine in 2010 for his work in transforming Oklahoma City into a healthier community, Mick Cornett has garnered national and international attention for his leadership in creating an effective model for addressing America’s obesity epidemic. Today, Oklahoma City is off the list of fattest cities and comes in at number 23 on the list of America’s fittest cities.

This Friday, September 28th, he speaks at Green Town Valparaiso on the campus of Valparaiso University in Indiana. Green Town attemps to bring the public sector together with the private sector to foster the development of sustainable cities

Event #2 - Global Citizenship Green Apple Day of Service

A couple of years ago, I interviewed Dan Schnitzer, Director of Sustainability and Operations at the
Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) on Chicago’s south side. First, how many schools have a “Director of Sustainability and Operations”? And exactly how many of them do you think are on Chicago’s south side? Yeah, I thought so.

Next Saturday, the Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council is partnering with the AGC and the national Center for Green Schools  to host the first annual Green Apple Day of Service . On Satirday. September 29th, AGC students, teachers and administrators will take action in their community with support from parents, volunteers and local sponsors.  Participants will rotate stations around campus and work on projects that extend from gardening to education and eco-art.  Sign up to volunteer at AGC today, OR find a project near you.

Event #3Gibson Woods Wild Ones 4th Biennial Native Plant Symposium

Gibson Woods Wild Ones will sponsor their 4th Biennial Symposium on Saturday, September 29, 2012, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., at the St. John Township Center, located at 1515 W. Lincoln Highway (US 30) Schererville, IN. Continental Breakfast from 8:00-9:00 a.m. and a box lunch will be provided.

I’ve spoken to these great folks and, if you’re in the area, take advantage of this opportunity to learn about natives. Marti Brennan, who has served as Director of Community Gardening Programs for the late, lamented Chicago Department of the Environment, teaches you how to bring natives into the city with her talk, “Natives on a Small City Lot”

Then, Marianne Hahn from Wayne State University speaks on “How to Feed Birds Using ONLY Native Plants.” She has served as President of Thorn Creek Audubon Society and as President of
Midewin Tallgrass Prairie Alliance. Marianne currently owns and manages Sweet
Fern Savanna Land and Water Reserve, about 100 acres of high quality black oak savanna and
sand prairie located in the Kankakee Sands ecoregion.

For more information, call 219-844-3188 or Pat at 219-865-2679.

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