Gardeners set sights on 'horizon'

A peach tree that grows apricots?

An apple tree that produces two varieties?

How about a row of potatoes that sprouts tomatoes?

These may sound like science fiction but they are the very real results of an ancient practice known as plant grafting.

"Grafting is just a way of creating a plant that you want," said Maria Valana, a City-employed gardener whose hobby is plant propagation.

Valana is one of several presenters who will share their expertise at Horticulture Horizons, a popular annual event organized by TRU Friends of the Gardens - taking place April 3 at Thompson Rivers University.

Valana will talk about plant grafting and its benefits, as well as how to perform a successful graft.

"It's very basic," she said. "It's something that anyone can do. It's really not magic."

Grafting is just one of the topics lined up for Horticulture Horizons 2010.

The agenda includes horticulturalist Mario Lanthier, who will lead two seminars on composting, master gardener Elaine Sedgman, who will share tips on incorporating edible plants within an ornamental landscape, Larry Gathercole, who will offer advice on building backyard ponds, and Calgary's Ted Leischner, who will discuss declining bee pollinators.

Keynote speaker is Douglas Justice, of UBC's botanical garden, talking about biodiversity in the garden.

"Biodiversity deals with health and not having one plant or a series of similar plants within the garden," said Kevin Scollon, a horticulture instructor at TRU.

"With the new pesticide bylaw in Kamloops, people are always looking for new and wonderful ways to keep their yard healthy."

Scollon is the main organizer behind Horticulture Horizons.

He's particularly excited about a new edition to the event this year.

"We call it our Fave Five In Five," he said. "What we're trying to do is incorporate our master gardeners who are associated with the Friends of the Gardens. And they're coming in to do quick five-minute presentations on their favourite five plants."

It costs $60 to register for Horticulture Horizons 2010. Each person will get a package at the beginning of the day, which includes full speaker's note from each presenter.

The event is open to anyone.

To register, call Scollon at 260-828-5181 or email him at kscollon@tru.ca.

"It's a relaxing day devoted to horticulture," added Scollon.

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