Cheyenne conference helps gardeners grow

Garden flowers play a critical role in supplying nectar for pollinators. This hummingbird moth visits a tall garden phlox in June.                        UW Photo: Chavawn Kelley

The Gardening for Success conference, Saturday and Sunday April 14-15 at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne is for beginners, backyard gardeners, 4-H youth and leaders, master gardeners, community gardeners and farmer’s market gardeners.

“Topics will challenge, inspire, motivate and take you to the next level of gardening success, whatever your gardening experience,” says UW Extension educator Catherine Wissner.

The $125 conference fee covers lunches, a dinner and breaks. Go to to register and learn more. On-site registration begins at 7 a.m. at the LCCC Pathfinder Building, 1400 E. College Drive.

Topics include edible landscapes, conifers and perennials for the Rocky Mountain Region, growing lavender, iris, and roses, native bee habitat, soil basics, seed saving, medicinal herbs and teas, growing in high tunnels or hoop houses, food processing, food safety and more.

Keynote speakers are Scott Skogerboe from Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery and David Salman, chief horticulturist for High Country Gardens.

Master Gardeners can take qualifying classes to earn an Advanced Master Gardener certificate. Participants in hands-on workshops can take home what they make.

Sponsors are Laramie County Master Gardeners and the University of Wyoming, Laramie County Extension office, the State Master Gardener Association, and the Wyoming Farmers Market Association.

For more information, contact Wissner at 307-633-4480 or at


UW Extension publication explains backyard composting

            Information to help gardeners turbocharge soils by backyard composting is available in a University of Wyoming Extension free publication.

“Backyard composting: Using simple, small-scale methods,” B-974R, describes the process by which organic materials, such as yard and some kitchen wastes, are decomposed into a dark-colored, nutrient-rich, soil-building conditioner called humus.

Through composting, gardeners can manipulate temperature, oxygen and moisture to accelerate the process that occurs in nature. Authors are Karen Panter, UW Extension horticulture specialist, and Chris Hilgert, extension state Master Gardener coordinator at the University of Wyoming.

The bulletin is available in pdf, HTML and ePub formats by going to and clicking on the Find a Publication link. Type the title or bulletin number into the search field.

Hatch brings Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary gardens to Laramie

Gray-haired man, arms crossed, stands smiling beside vegetable garden.
Peter Hatch, retired director of gardens and grounds at Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson’s 57 years of gardening notes, dated 1767 to 1824, guided a modern restoration of his two-acre kitchen garden led by Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, now retired.

The 1,000-foot-long garden has been called a living expression of Jefferson’s genius and distinctly American attitudes. Hatch will give a free public presentation, “Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Gardens,” in Laramie, October 12. The talk is 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Berry Center on the University of Wyoming campus.

Hatch will discuss the history of horticulture from the perspective of the famous scientist and president and discuss some of Jefferson’s hundreds of vegetable varieties, his foundational seed-saving techniques, and the experimentation of his later years.

Copies of Hatch’s book, A Rich Spot of Earth, will be available for signing.

The event is sponsored by the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Department of Plant Sciences, and ACRES Student Farm.

For more information, contact Anne Leonard, UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources coordinator of college affairs, at (307) 766-4134 or

Wild West Gardening helps gardeners, sellers gain ground

Stylish advertisement for event shows the words Wild West Gardening surrounded by roses in a caligraphy-like design. All is white on a dark blue background.

The Wild West Gardening Conference Saturday and Sunday April 22-23 at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne is for anyone who wants to be a better gardener or sell what they grow.


“This conference is meant to challenge, inspire, motivate and take participants to the next level of gardening success,” said Catherine Wissner, UW Extension horticulturist. It is for everyone from beginners and backyard and community gardeners to small acreage growers and farmers market gardeners, she said.


The $90 conference fee includes dinner, breaks and two lunches. To learn more about Wild West Gardening, special hotel rates and registration, go to


The event features local, regional and national presenters in concurrent sessions and is hosted by the Laramie County Master Gardeners and the University of Wyoming Laramie County Extension office.


Keynote speaker Neil Diboll of Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin champions prairie plants, trees and shrubs and wetland plants in contemporary landscapes. He emphasizes their value to native bees and Monarch butterflies and advocates for genetic diversity of plant breeding stock.


Five hands-on workshops get participants started with specialty crops and culinary, decorative and craft products. Workshops are Get Your Lavender On; Garlic Gourmet; Microgreens; Medicinal Teas and Tonics; and Flower Projects. An additional $25 materials fee is payable directly to workshop leaders.


Demonstrations of hot water bath canning, pressure canning and steam bath canning are aimed at helping gardeners take advantage of recent food freedom and cottage food laws that make it easier to sell their products.


For those wishing to produce fermented products such as beer, wine and whiskey, the Wyoming liquor commissioner reveals the ins and outs of in-state and out-of-state sales.


Conference activities include a Saturday afternoon tour of the Paul Smith Children’s Garden at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.


For more information, contact Wissner at 307-63­3-4383 or