I’m always excited when the schedules for garden seminars come out. There are precious few in our area and I do so very much want to go to them- to engage with like-minded folks, to learn new things, to expand my vision of what gardens are and can be. But some years I find myself just, well, whelmed by the topics on offer.
That isn’t at all to say that there are no interesting topics being discussed, its just that many of them are aimed a newer gardeners or based on trendier ideas like straw bale gardening or niche markets like hemp growing. It can be harder to find topics that are exactly the sorts of things I’m craving to learn- but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I can learn anyway, right?
I guess that’s my question to you readers: When it comes to time and money, are you willing to splash out on day-long or weekend-long seminars (that may or may not involve travel and overnight stays) if you are only interested in one or two speakers/workshops (or gasp, none)?
I go back and forth. My husband is in the go-because-its-good-for-you-and-we’ll-get-to-cavort-with-fellow-gardeners camp. He isn’t wrong! He claims, rightly, that you never know where inspiration comes from and so many gardeners and speakers talk about things not on the synopsis of their talk. I, on the other hand, get really stingy with my non-work time and sometimes feel like I only want to go if I can learn the things I want to learn (very Veruca Salt of me, I know). Of course, that isn’t super charitable and isn’t in the spirit of engaging with other gardeners.
I will say that the local seminars (which don’t involve extensive travel or overnight stays and are really reasonably priced) are much more likely to get my attendance. Partly because we get to engage with our local gardening folks- who are all delightful- and partly because its an easy thing to commit to a couple of hours on a snowy winter Saturday. The big PBS Wisconsin Garden Expo in Madison (a 3ish hour drive and overnight stay) won’t get my attendance unless I’m excited about 50% or more of the seminars on offer. We haven’t gone yet (though I always hear good things about it)- mostly because while most of the topics are great (straw bale gardening, container gardening, growing food in urban areas), they just don’t apply to us and aren’t worth the travel. Minneapolis has a large Home and Garden Show, but I’m reticent to drive to the city to have to share time and space with home renovation speakers and vendors. At this rate, if I’m going to have to spend good money for a seminar, I’d be inclined to hop the pond and go to Gardener’s World Live!
Do you attend local or semi-local shows/seminars? Do you travel long distances to any bigger ones? Do tell me which ones you love!