The best way to go green is to start with the thumbs.
The Great Outdoors is hosting the Spring Speaker Series to help garden-lovers of the Austin area overcome botanical problems they may encounter. The knowledgeable guest speakers can answer any question, from helping gardens survive the Southern heat, maintaining a garden for a small space or creating a vegetable garden that can save money. Experts for the series are from all over the country and support the gardening cause and invite others to be part of their passion for plant life.
Bill Welch is an honorary guest visiting the Great Outdoors, who will be speaking about plants for southern Texas. Welch is the author of multiple popular gardening books and is well known for his appearances in Southern Living Magazine. Another, more than qualified speaker, is Chris Wiesinger, who will be speaking on the Texas bulb. Wiesinger owns The Bulb Company and has been featured in The New York Times for his work.
Matt Welch, manager of the Great Outdoors, encourages students and faculty to attend the Spring Speaker Series.
“Our speakers are pros. This is a great opportunity for gardeners to learn some valuable concepts,” Welch said. “The talks will be entertaining and informative. It is just a fun event.”
Carley Anderson, interdisciplinary studies sophomore, said container gardening is geared towards a student’s lifestyle because there is little space and absolutely zero time for garden maintenance.
“Flowers are pretty to look at and help to create a home, but as students, it is basically impossible to have a garden in an apartment and even harder to prioritize gardening into a busy schedule,” Anderson said.
Looking beyond their aesthetics, gardens also have the ability to save people money.
“Food prices are going up and the economy is hurting. People are starting to grow their own food, also known as a depression garden,” Welch said. “Students are usually the heads of these trends. When other industries are hurting, the garden industry is not.”
Christina Widacki, marketing sophomore, agreed gardening could take a chunk out of grocery expenses.
“If they have the space, students could benefit from having their own gardens. It would save a person a lot of money at the grocery store by just growing their own vegetables,” Widacki said.
Welch wants the Speaker Series to be fun for those who attend.
“We want to be a resource for the community, not just to come and buy plants, but to come out and have a good time,” Welch said. “We want this event to feel like a garden party. (It is) a place to come with friends, sip on some refreshments and enjoy yourself before going out for the night.”
The fun was not lost on Widacki.
“This is an event I can definitely see myself attending with my girlfriends. It seems to be a fun and relaxing hobby,” Widacki said.
“I’ve watched my mother garden for years and it is definitely something I would like to learn more about,” Anderson said. “It is a way of making something your own.”
The Great Outdoors is located in Austin on South Congress. Events will be held on Saturdays for little or no cost. Visit www.gonursery.com/pdf/speakers.pdf for more information, including an itinerary and topics guest speakers will cover.