Gardening in the Natural State

Now that the weather has turned a corner and things are starting to bloom, it’s time to get out and enjoy the beauty of the Natural State. If you find your knowledge on the topics of gardening a bit lacking, CALS has several sessions coming up that will help you get a green thumb in no time. The Naturally Arkansas series has been extremely popular and has been extended. And if you ever want to try your hand at growing some local plants from scratch, head over to the Seed Library at McMath.

The Genius of Place
April 14, 6:30 p.m.
Join us at 6:30 on April 14 for a program celebrating the bicentennial of Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Kimball Erdman of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas will speak about Olmsted and the history of landscape architecture, Tom Hill of Hot Springs National Park will speak on Olmsted’s brief encounter with Arkansas and Chris East of StudioMain will address landscape architecture possibilities adjacent to the Main Library in Little Rock. Ken McCown of the Fay Jones School will moderate. Register here.

A Yard Full of Birds
May 26, 6:30 p.m.
Dan Scheiman, Bird Conservation Director for Audubon Delta, will join us this month. He and host Lynn Foster will be discussing the type of habitat you need to plant to attract birds to your yard. So often discussions like this focus on feeder food, but plants themselves are so much better for the environment! Find out about other Audubon projects as well, like the Bird-Friendly Yard program and the Fourche Creek cleanup. Register for this event here.

The Wonderful World of Native Seeds
June 30, 6:30 p.m.
This month, we’ll be talking about seeds, which are essential to life on Earth. Ben Thesing, Natural Resource Specialist at Central Arkansas Water, and host Lynn Foster will be discussing the dispersion and germination of native seeds, and how to best handle them to grow native plants. Fun fact: Kentucky coffeetrees are rare today. One theory for this is that their seeds were intended to survive being digested by mastodons and giant sloths, and without that exposure to stomach acid, the seeds don’t germinate. Learn about this and more, and bring your questions! Register here. 

Ask the Natural Gardeners
August 4, 6:30 p.m.
What are cultivars and nativars, and should you buy them? Fall will be here soon. In a natural garden, what should you do (or not do) in your garden in autumn and winter? How should you get rid of English ivy, Bradford pears, and Japanese honeysuckle? Join natural gardeners Lynn Foster, Ben Thesing, and Kay Sanders for a discussion of these and more topics, and bring your questions! Register here.

All About Monarchs
August 25, 6:30 p.m.
Did you know that monarch butterflies winter in Mexico, and then fly as far north as Canada each year? Did you know that without milkweed plants there would be no monarch butterflies, and milkweeds are fast disappearing? Join Leslie Cooper, Arkansas Monarch and Pollinator Coordinator with Quail Forever, Joe Ledvina, Botanist for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, and host Lynn Foster, for an introduction to monarch biology and an overview of how you can benefit monarchs and pollinators by creating habitat. Learn about the benefits of native plants and how habitat is the key to conservation of these beautiful butterflies. Bring your questions! Register here.

Gardening for Bees
September 29, 6:30 p.m.
What do native bees need from us? Listen to Leslie Cooper, Arkansas Monarch and Pollinator Coordinator with Quail Forever, and host Lynn Foster discuss what you can do in your yard to provide food and habitat for the many species of native bees in central Arkansas. Did you know that more than 90% of bee species are solitary? That 70% of bee species live in the ground? And that honeybees aren’t native to North America? Get to know our 4000 species of North American native bees and bring your questions! Register here.