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Gardening in 2011: Local resources

Here, on the first day of the year, is a 2011 calendar of ideas and Central Kentucky organizations that are outstanding in helping you grow a greener garden lifestyle. Look them up online, or visit in person to experience their down-to-earth advice and inspiration.January

H2O Designs, Nicholasville

Owner Jeff Duggins brings koi pond possibilities to life. About freezing-weather survival, he says, "Keep your 'finned friends' safe and sound in sub-freezing weather by keeping a hole in the ice of your pond. Even just a few days of a frozen pond can cause harmful gasses to build up and kill your fish." A pump bubbler, a pond heater or a running waterfall will do the trick. 107 Means Drive. 1-888-297-6637. H2Odesignsinc.com.February

Springhouse Gardens, Nicholasville

Plantsman Richard Weber has ideas for perfectly placed shrubs and perennial accents, even in winter. Example: late-winter blooming witch hazels, such as the yellow-flowered "Pallida." Now in stock: five varieties, including light-yellow flowered "Angelly," copper-red "Diane" and copper-orange "Jelena." Weber says, "We can't wait to see them start blooming, which always signals spring is on its way." 6041 Harrodsburg Road. (859) 224-1417. Springhousegardens.com.March

Floracliff Nature Sanctuary, Lexington

Be the first to see ephemeral spring wildflowers, such as the white trout lily, along the Kentucky River palisades at Floracliff, in southern Fayette County. This fragile ecosystem, endangered by invasive exotic species and urban encroachment, was treasured and preserved by biologist Mary Wharton. Volunteer at a "Weed Warrior" day, or advance register to join a hike with geologists, ecologists and wildflower experts. (859) 351-7770. Floracliff.org.April

Bluegrass PRIDE, Lexington

This organization finds innovative ways to make our regional conservation efforts greener with recycling and wise use of natural resources. One way to help the environment: Capture April showers in a rain barrel that you can equip with fittings supplied at one of the group's two workshops this year, planned for March and September. Register and discover other programs at the Web site, BGpride.org. Offices at 3120 Pimlico Parkway, Suite 126. (859) 266-1572.May

Color Point, Paris

Where do Mother's Day hanging baskets come from? One local producer just outside of Paris is Color Point, an amazing 15-acre computerized and automated production center under glass. Depending on the season, pansies, petunias and poinsettias are some of the bedding and basket plants grown and shipped to regional Lowe's, Sam's Club and other large retailers. It would be great for a school tour. 1077 Cane Ridge Road. (859) 988-6500. Colorpoint.biz.June

Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, statewide

Answers to questions about lawn care, and other research-based gardening tips, can be found by contacting your county extension agents. Hundreds of pertinent publications, created by researchers at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture are available free online at www.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs.asp. One of my favorites is ID-154 "Low-Maintenance Lawn Care, Stressing Pest Avoidance and Organic Inputs." (859) 257-4302. www.ces.ca.uky.edu/ces.July

Community-supported agriculture programs

To get the fresh taste of local produce, sign up to receive a weekly share of vegetables, fruits and flowers from local community-supported agriculture, or CSA, programs. Three possibilities are Three Springs Farm, 4252 Crooked Creek Road in Carlisle (Threespringsfarmky.com); Berries on Bryan Station, 4744 Bryan Station Road in Lexington (Berriesonbryanstation.com); and the UK Sustainable Agriculture Program in Lexington (www2.ca.uky.edu/sustainableag/csa). Not only do you eat healthy food, but you join a community and learn what the garden lifestyle is all about. More local producers can be found at Localharvest.org.

August

Wild Ones

Advocates for native plantings in natural landscapes and environmental education, members of the national organization Wild Ones can be found in meadows, chasing butterflies during the day and exploring the world of crickets and katydids at night. Re-envision the way you choose garden plants, and gain insight into the balance of nature by planting native species. The Lexington Chapter is active, smart, fun and friendly. For-wild.org/chapters/lexington.September

Reed Valley Orchard, Paris

For more than 20 years, Trudie and Dana Reed have specialized in growing apples and pears, and they have branched out into raspberries and blueberries. Fully ripened, just-picked flavor is the reward. A nature trail along the historic stagecoach route just outside of Paris and special events such as a blueberry pancake dinner add to the charm. Central Kentucky is home to many fruit producers, which you can find sorted by county at Pickyourown.org/ky.htm. 239 Lail Lane. (859) 987-6480. Reedvalleyorchard.com.October

Dave Leonard, consulting arborist

Trees are large, long-loved investments. Certified, experienced arborists such as Leonard can offer advice for success. "Do some research and consultation in advance, and suit the plant to the site," he says, "so it will thrive instead of just hanging in there." He emphasizes the importance of preparing the planting site with good soil, alive with organic matter, and of follow-up care with watering and mulching. Office at 1302 North Limestone. (859) 252-2529. DLarborist.com.November

Dry Stone Conservancy, Lexington

Dry-laid stone walls that line highways and delineate property borders are beloved landscape features in the Bluegrass. The Dry Stone Conservancy is dedicated to their preservation, and to teaching the craft. Join a workshop to exercise your body and learn some history and how-to. Office at 1065 Dove Run Rd., Suite 6. (859) 266-4807. Drystone.org.December

Kentucky State Parks' star-gazing and wildlife-watching programs

When the air turns cold, and leaves have fallen, stay connected with the natural world by finding inspiration in the starry skies above. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin offers monthly programs of guided star-gazing through telescopes. Or take advantage of the excellent naturalist programs featuring Sandhill cranes, eagles and elk. It's great family fun to run where the wild things are. Parks.ky.gov.

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