Robert Kourik— Author of Sustainable Food Gardens, Your Edible Landscape and Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates
In 1974, at a time when there were no pelletized organic fertilizers; no guidelines for pesticide-free gardens; no commercially available mulches; and no drip-irrigation hardware, Robert Kourik started one of the first organic landscape-maintenance companies in the country. During the serious Northern California drought of 1973-1976, he—unusual for the times— rescued his clients’ yards and gardens by applying composted-hay mulch (it worked). To survive financially, he built children’s playgrounds; gray-water systems and cisterns; incorporated green manures and compost into flower beds (a practice then unheard of in Bay Area suburbs); cobbled together primitive low-volume irrigation systems; installed countless used-brick patios; constructed raised vegetable beds; designed herb gardens; and pruned back plants in an attempt to conserve moisture (which didn’t work). Over the next 47 years, Robert honed his horticultural skills by working with clients throughout the U.S., and his writing skills by producing books that have become gardening classics. During those years, he designed landscape projects of all sizes, shapes, and textures—water gardens, patios, elegant arbors, habitat gardens, outdoor barbecue areas, deer-resistant plantings, low-profile, attractive (and effective) deer-proof fences, and edible (by humans) landscapes. Robert is the author of 19 books, including his most recent: Sustainable Food Gardens (2021) and Lazy-Ass Gardening (2019), both from Metamorphic Press. His many published articles and essays have focused on organic, natural, sustainable, integrated systems; permaculture; drip irrigation; environmentally sound homes; and edible landscaping. His articles have appeared in national publications such as The New York Times, Garden Design Magazine, Landscape Architecture Magazine, National Gardening, Fine Gardening, Horticulture Magazine and Mother Earth News.
Good Fungi: Healthy Roots and Happy Plants
Amazing beneficial fungi known as mycorrhizae interact with plant roots in nearly all soils, and most perennials, native trees vegetables, and shrubs need this mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship for superior growth. This seminar will explain the natural process known as “mycorrhizal association,” including where it happens, how to promote it, whether or not purchased inoculants are needed (and how to read those perplexing labels). This focus will be on the benefits of mycorrhizae on native plants, landscaping plants, and fruiting trees.
Wednesday, Feb 9 at 11:00 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow
GARDEN 101: All the Right Cuts
Pruning Fruit Trees in All Seasons, Especially Summer
Pruning is both art and science, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating if you learn basic techniques. Here three experts will get you started on the right cuts to make, and when to make them. Robert Kourik debunks and replaces the most common pruning myths about pruning fruit trees, with scientifically proven guidelines, and illustrates the very best training or shaping techniques for optimum fruitfulness. Next, Bess Bronstein helps you tackle an aging garden so that you can best plan how to take an overgrown chaos of huge shrubs, using pruning techniques for size and density reduction, plant definition and rejuvenation. Finally, Christina Pfeiffer will identify how plant choices, placement, and cultivation, along with those famous last words, “you can always prune it to keep it smaller,” contribute to creating a prune-a-lot garden. Learn how to optimize plant selection and how design elements can help set the stage for less pruning over the long term life of the garden.
Thursday, Feb 10 at 2:30 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow
Drip Irrigation for a Lush Landscape
Drip irrigation is the most effective way to grow superior plants, but to non-plumbers, putting in a drip system with all those little-bitty parts may seem utterly intimidating. This seminar will demonstrate how easy it is to piece together an efficient layout, detailing the parts needed to filter and regulate water; what types of tubing to use; how to lay out the tubing for maximum effectiveness; and how to make your finished system invisibly attractive.
Friday, Feb 11 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow