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Horticulturists to explain how to simplify Louisiana gardens at Ruston workshop

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A half-day workshop Saturday at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will show gardeners how to simplify their landscape so that maintaining it takes less time.

Greg Grant, a research associate at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Pineywoods Native Plant Center, is all-consumed by his country cottage garden in Arcadia, Texas. But he’s OK with that. He will tell gardeners to exercise discipline when they buy plants at the nursery, and to think about how the foliage will look well into the future.

“It’s the basics that most people miss -- like planting an 80-foot tall tree under a 15-foot power line,” Grant said, who admits to tending to his own garden in the middle of the night during summer months. “But, putting it on paper and writing things down helps people, like a grocery list does. If it’s not on your list, don’t buy it.”

Grant will be joined by LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill, the voice of “Get it Growing” commentaries. Gill will give tips on how to reduce the amount of time it takes to maintain a home’s outdoor landscape. He suggests switching to raised beds for growing vegetables and using containers for color instead of tending large flower beds.

“The thing to look for in your landscaping efforts is when you begin to dread taking care of your landscape,” Gill said. “You don’t have time to keep it looking the way you want it to. Then you’ve done something wrong in your design and your plans, and you really need to rethink  it. Our landscape should never feel like a burden.”

The program also features Frances Davidson, staff horticulturalist at the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens in Monroe, La., who will speak on choosing annual color effectively.

The workshop “Wise Gardening Practices, Principles for Easier Gardening” is set for Saturday, Feb. 7, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Louisiana Tech’s Lomax Hall. More information is at www.facebook.com/nclmg. The workshop is put on by the North Central Louisiana Master Gardeners.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.