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McHenry County Gardenfest to Feature Horticulturalist Mark Dwyer

[Thursday, March 29, 2018]


Mark Dwyer

Learn how your garden can appeal to all five senses—sight, smell, sound, taste and touch—with a one-hour lecture on “The Sensory Garden,” by horticulturalist Mark Dwyer, who is the keynote speaker at the 2018 McHenry County Gardenfest. The Gardenfest takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 7 at McHenry County College, located at 8900 U.S. Route 14, in Crystal Lake.

            Dwyer, a lifelong plant enthusiast, has been the director of horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin for 19 years. He directs the continued maintenance and improvement of the 20-acre botanical resource with a talented grounds staff and many dedicated volunteers. He previously worked at Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles, Michigan, and as a landscape designer in Appleton, Wisconsin. Dwyer earned degrees in landscape architecture from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and urban forestry from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He also blogs daily from the gardens at

“In addition to having a beautiful garden, people could enhance their garden with an additional perspective of including all five senses in an engaging way,” Dwyer said.

Gardenfest is an annual educational event co-sponsored by McHenry County College and the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners in McHenry County.

A total of 20 breakout sessions presented by including industry experts, U of I Extension educators, Master Gardeners and MCC instructors — will cover a myriad of different gardening topics offered in four one-hour segments. In addition, dozens of exhibitors will be onsite selling books and garden-related products and demonstrating their craft.

            Other Gardenfest topics will include “Developing a Pollinator’s Paradise,” “Cooking with Herbs,” “Fun and Fabulous Terrariums,” “Feng Shui and Zen Meditation Gardens,” and “Best New Plants for 2018,” Lawncare Myths and Challenges” and many more.

            Lunch is included in the $45 fee for general admission and $25 for MCC horticulture students. Registration deadline is March 27 by mail or fax. After March 27, registration is only accepted the day of the conference for an additional $5 fee.

Registration forms can be downloaded at Forms can be faxed to (815) 479-7775. For more information about Gardenfest 2018, call (815) 479-7570 or e-mail



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