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High Desert Annual Conference

March 9, 2017 @ 7:30 am - 4:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 7:30am, repeating until March 10, 2017

$75 – $110

The 24th Annual High Desert Gardening & Landscaping Conference is being held in the Student Union Building of the Cochise College Sierra Vista campus (adjacent to our UA Sierra Vista campus). The Conference is sponsored by the Cochise County Master Gardeners and the UA Cooperative Extension Cochise County.  It is the longest running 2-day gardening conference in our state, and one of the longest in the southwest U.S.

We are offering five keynote general sessions, nine breakout sessions, and five hands-on workshops featuring a wide variety of great speakers and topics.  We have also planned a Wednesday evening pre-conference get-together at Native Wings in Sierra Vista for which you can also register online.  Appetizers and soft drinks will be provided and a cash bar will be available. 

Greg Corman of Gardening Insights, Inc. of Tucson will open the Conference on Thursday morning with a talk on blending garden art into a habitat garden composed of many of his favorite Arizona plants.  Breakout sessions will follow throughout the morning on topics “Conquering Fruit Tree Challenges” and “Toxic Plants for your Pets”.  You might be surprised at how many innocent-looking familiar plants around your gardens pose a toxic threat.  Another topic that is coming to the forefront these days is worm farming which allows you to use worms in your gardens for aeration and worm casts for soil nutrition.  You can hear the talk entitled “Vermiculture 101:  As the Worm Turns, So Does the Compost”.

Five 2-hour hands-on workshops will be offered on Thursday afternoon.  The first is entitled “Not Your Mama’s Nopalitos” presented by The Gringo Gourmet of El Paso.  His cooking presentation using prickly pear cactus pads and other Southwest goodies was so popular last year, he is back with new recipes.  Another popular workshop being repeated on demand from last year is “Creating Hypertufa Pots”.  “Building Dry Stack Stone Walls” is the third workshop where participants will handle the stones and learn this wall-building method which uses no concrete, yet stands sturdy.  A great structure to define gardens and offer hardscape.

The fourth workshop topic can be addicting!  The Master Gardeners began painting Mandala Rocks in one of our meetings.  They make great pieces of garden art accents in pots, tucked into shrubbery, in a bird bath, or anywhere that catches the eye.  We want to share this technique through a workshop.  Absolutely no prior talent is needed!  We have all the supplies and will teach everything you need for this most enjoyable activity.

The fifth workshop is being presented by the popular Native Seed/SEARCH of Tucson on collecting and processing seeds.  Many groups today are interested in developing seed libraries and our speaker will also help participants learn how to begin the process of development.

Thursday will end with Peter Gierlach, more endearingly known as “Petey Mesquitey”, as he celebrates the glorious native desert in which we live.

Friday morning opens with horticulturalist, Marcy Scott from New Mexico, author of “Hummingbird Plants for the Southwest”.  She’ll speak on “Planting a Hummingbird Haven”.   The morning continues with sessions on “Growing Herbs”, “TLC for your Trees”, and “Succulent Container Gardens”.  Keynote after lunch features long-revered, retired Arizona entomologist, Carl Olson, speaking with Extension Specialist, Dr. Mike Wierda on the handling and respect of all the crawling critters with which we live.  This talk will surprise you on how enjoyable and interesting it is!

The afternoon features sessions on “Winter Veggies with Confidence – a Must Grow!”, “Propagation Techniques My Mama Taught Me”, and “Tackling Your Plant Problems”.  The Conference ends with a keynote presented by Eric Clark of Civano Nursery speaking on “Evergreen Walls & Delightful Ornamentals”. . . a great motivation for heading to your local nursery and start planting!

In addition to our regularly featured numerous door prizes, we will offer a Silent Auction, and a raffle both days for tickets to purchase for fun pieces of garden hardscape.  Our vendor hall, known as the “Master Gardener Spring Market Place”, will be open to the public as well as conference attendees.

High Desert Conference registration includes all sessions, and full breakfast and lunch both days.  You may register for the full 2-day conference for $110.00, or just one day at $75.00.  This is wonderful pricing in today’s world of conferences.

To review the agenda and register online, please visit  To obtain a mail-in registration form or more information, please call 520-458-8278, ext. 2141.  Registration is open through March 6.



March 9, 2017
7:30 am - 4:30 pm
$75 – $110
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Cochise College
901 N Colombo Ave
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635 United States
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