Gardening education: It is that time of year again! The garden catalog season is in full swing, seeds have arrived at garden centers, and we are holding interviews for master gardener volunteer training — a sure sign of spring.

Master gardener volunteers receive training in horticulture from their local UW-Extension office in order to become community volunteers who serve their communities helping with horticultural projects that support UW-Extension’s outreach mission.

Classes are held every other Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. to noon, from late February through the end of August at the Dane County UW-Extension office on Madison’s East Side.

We still have interview slots available on Feb. 2, 4 and 5. if you are interested, visit the Dane County UWEX website for more information.

If you are looking for gardening classes with no volunteering requirement, check out the Dane County UW-Extension Green Thumb Gardening Series on Thursday nights at the office from Feb. 25 through April 14.

Topics include soils and composting, vegetable families, pests and diseases, native plants for gardens and pollinators, shrub selection and care, wildlife in the garden, annuals and perennials and landscape design.

Visit for more information.

Garden Expo: The Midwest Garden Expo at the Alliant Energy Center Feb. 12-14 hosted by Wisconsin Public Television is another great way to get into the spring spirit.

Seeing and smelling all the green plants at the show will help you deal with your cabin fever!

Get inspiration for the upcoming gardening season by visiting with garden center and landscaping vendors at the show, and visit the UW-Extension booth for answers to gardening questions from UW experts and master gardener volunteers.

I’ll be there on and off all three days and will be giving presentations on growing tomatoes and growing raspberries.

I’ll also be sharing the stage with Garden Talk’s Larry Meiller and UW-Extension’s own Dr. Death (Brian Hudelson of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic) on Saturday morning at 9:30.

There are many other educational seminars presented by local experts and workshops where you can learn new skills — everything from pruning to prairies and birds to begonias. Go to for a full listing of the seminars, demonstrations and workshops offered.

There is an enormous list of topics covered and something for everyone to enjoy. I hope to see you there!

Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension horticulture educator