Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

What to Do??? Pre-gardening planning


March 14, 2019

Photo Courtesy of Mike Heath

Ukranian beekeeper Albert Chuback.

It's in the air. I smelled it this morning. Did you? It's coming. Not quite here yet, but Spring is on the way. I went outside this morning and there was a very different feel and smell to the air. It's not something I can describe, but it's something that I know. Spring and the change of seasons has a certain feel to it. Spring is nearly here.

With Spring comes the anticipation of the gardening season and the question now becomes, "What do I do to get ready?". This time of year, there really is a lot of opportunities for education and preparation for the upcoming season. I thought I would deviate from the standard gardening article and go over some of the upcoming events and opportunities that are available to the general public. Some have fees and some don't.

The Laramie County Master Gardeners have started up the Speaker Series this year after a year without holding these classes. The Speakers series features well-known speakers from outside the Laramie County area that come in to talk about a wide variety of topics. All classes are held in the Cottonwood Room at the Laramie County Library. Since there is a charge for the room, the LCMG charges $15 to cover the cost. Classes normally fill up fast, so you can reserve your seats by going to and search for keyword "Spring Speaker Series". Any leftover tickets will be sold at the door, but you can't count on them being available at the door.

March 15th: Jane Dorn (Wyoming naturalist and author) will be speaking on native plants and what grows well in our area. I had the opportunity to see one of her presentations last year and it was absolutely fascinating.

April 6th: Drs. Jay and Ursula Norton (UW professors) will be teaching on soils and the importance of soil type and nutrients to growing. This is a hands-on class so bring two cups of your soil and an empty, clear, ½ liter water bottle.

Wyoming Bee College, March 22, 23, 24, LCCC. The Bee College is an annual event that is put on by the Laramie County Extension Service. You don't have to be a beekeeper or even have an interest in becoming one to attend. Besides the standard beekeeping courses, you can expect courses on gardening for bees, apitherapy (using hive products to treat illnesses) and beeswax uses (including beeswax crafts and holistic uses). Of course, the normal courses that one would expect are also available. There will be classes on beginning and advanced beekeeping, hive inspections, honey extraction, bee diseases, native bees, swarms, landscape design, and many more. People come from all over the country, and sometime from other countries, to attend this conference and the instructors come from all over the world. The curriculum includes evening speakers that will discuss a variety of topics. Go to for more information.

The Cheyenne Home and Garden Show, April 12-14, Cheyenne Ice and Events Center. Besides the regular activities at this event, this year the Master Gardeners will be providing free classes throughout the day on Saturday for you to enjoy and learn more about gardening in Laramie County. We'll also have our "Ask a Master Gardener" table set up where you can go to ask questions and get information on your topic of interest.

The Wyoming Specialty Crop Conference, April 26-27, Wheatland. Don't let the name fool you. It sounds like it is for commercial growers, but not necessarily. Some of the topics can pertain to commercial agriculture, but it is geared to home operations as well. I've attended this conference twice now and it is terrific. I haven't seen the final course schedule for this one yet, but I'll be teaching a course on lavender April 26th. Contact the Platte County Horticulturalist, Leroy Johns, at: for more information on this very informative conference.

May 11th, LCMG Annual Mother's Day Plant Sale, Archer Complex, M&K Buildings. This plant sale is a one day event that kicks off the planting season in Laramie County. Besides offering great plants, it's the primary fundraiser for the Laramie County Master Gardeners. Our mission is to provide educational and scientific opportunities for Laramie County residents, charitable contributions and community service. Some of the activities this event has funded in the past include: the crevice garden at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens; the path to the columbarium at the Pine Bluffs cemetery; planting shrubs and flowers for beautification at the Archer Complex; many projects at the Boys and Girls Club; horticultural courses; funding for the "Gardens for Good" at LCCC; and other projects around the county. Many of the plants available at the Plant Sale are grown by the Master Gardeners and are often taken from seeds or cuttings from their own gardens. While this may not sound like a big deal, it really is. Plants that are taken from gardens here in the county are already acclimated to our environment and are more likely to thrive here. You'll also find that the plants offered are selected specifically for this area, unlike the big box stores that have to take whatever their shipping departments send. I went to one of the stores a couple of years ago and looked at the trees they were offering. They had a couple of varieties that stated right on the tag that they wouldn't live in our climate. Yet, there they were, for sale, to some unlucky customer. There will be everything at the plant sale from vegetables; perennials; herbs; shrubs; fruits and vendors galore. We'll have mini-courses again so you can pick up tips on a variety of topics and, new this year, we're going to have a Kid's Corner. We'll have someone available to teach children about planting and gardening. Food will be available. For a list of most of the plants that will be available, visit our website at

The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens also has a full complement of courses that are offered to the public. All are at the Botanic Gardens. This list is by no means all-inclusive. Go to their website at: for more information on what they have to offer.

March 17th, 2-3 pm: Structure Pruning Workshop

March 21st, 4 pm and March 30th at 1 pm, Paul Smith Children's Village, (kid's class): Gardening: Wild Seed Bombs

March 27th, 4 pm, Paul Smith Children's Village, (kid's class): Gardening, Mini Greenhouse

April 2nd, 1 pm, April 10th at 4 pm, April 13th at 1 pm, April 18th at 4 pm, April 23 at 4 pm, April 28th at 1 pm, Paul Smith Children's Village, (kid's class): Production House, Parachutes: Buds

April 3rd, 1 pm, April 11th at 4 pm, April 16th at 4 pm, Paul Smith Children's Village, (kid's class): Egg Maracas, Plant Parts and Music

Yes, there's a lot to do in Laramie County and a lot of opportunities to get ready for the spring planting season that's right around the corner. If you have any questions, ask a Master Gardener. It's what we do.


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