June 25, 2010
By Kris Foster
Since its inception in 1985, Hort Week has earned its name by growing from three days and six workshops to an entire week filled with 35 horticulture-related events.
“It was well received in the beginning and quickly became an annual event,” said Vanessa Ross Young, program co-ordinator of the University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Program in the Centre for Continuing and Distance Education (CCDE). “The U of S Master Gardener program within the CCDE organizes, runs and hosts the week. It is a great example of community outreach and engagement through education.”
Highlighting this year’s 25th anniversary activities is a free keynote lecture July 18 by scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki who, said Young, was a natural fit for the event because of his leadership in Canadian environmental education.
“This year we anticipate upwards of 1,000 registrations during the week. That does not include the Suzuki lecture for which we have capacity for 1,300 attendees.”
Indeed the program has grown, but so too has the horticultural knowledge—not to mention the gardens—of those who attend. Because of the number of different workshops, courses, tours and lectures, explained Young, Hort Week is designed to meet the needs of gardeners of all skill levels.
“We get a lot of people who are new to gardening and looking to learn. The two-day course Garden Fundamentals is ideal for beginners. However, all of our courses are set up specifically to have a breadth of information in them for both novices and enthusiasts alike.”
With topics covering everything from flowers, trees, shrubs and landscaping to soil science, insects, weeds and botanical Latin, there will be a subject of interest for gardeners across the prairie provinces. But the people—instructors and students alike—are the strength of Hort Week, Young said.
“By recruiting knowledgeable and very approachable instructors from the university community and beyond, and encouraging student involvement when possible, we have established a reputation for having effective and enjoyable courses. You can expect to leave Hort Week with education, inspiration, and likely a few new friends as well.”
This year’s Hort Week takes place July 17-23, with all courses hosted on the U of S campus. Suzuki’s free lecture is on July 18 at 7 p.m at the Physical Activity Complex. U of S faculty, staff and students receive a 10 per cent discount for all of Hort Week classes.
For more information, visit http://ccde.usask.ca/mastergardener/hortweek