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The Real Planning Begins- Saline County

June 6, 2014
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Although we have had several planning sessions with Saline County getting organized for the 2015 state MG Conference in the past few months, the real planning is now kicking into gear.  They have several keynote speakers they are looking at, trying to come up with the “Footprint” of the conference and today we started narrowing down garden tour choices.  It is NOT going to be an easy task. Every year, the host county says, “we don’t have great gardens in our county” and then we find more than we can fit in.  Saline counties problem is going to be time.  We saw several gardens today that are fabulous but huge–so gardeners will need time to take it all in.

We started out at the Benton Event Center –our headquarters next year.

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They had an event there last night and had used the outdoor courtyard space, so we were able to see a bit of their set up.  The adjoining hotel is also nearing completion.

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We looked at a possible venue for our special event site, but the wedding chapel in the woods, while wonderful and space-wise large enough, was ruled out due to a conflict with a wedding.  I was not comfortable having a space that we were using for 500 people the day before a large wedding was coming in.

wedding chapel saline county june.2 wedding chapel saline county june.3I didn’t know if we could get all our stuff out in time, so back to the drawing board there–but if you need a wedding site–this is beautiful and secluded.

Then we started on home tours.  We saw a very diverse mix, before the weather put a halt to our touring.  We got sprinkled on a few times early in the day, but not enough to stop a gardener.  We were treated to a wonderful lunch at one stop and decided the dark skies better get us back outdoors quickly to see the garden.  We had barely started walking (what ended up being our last garden), when the tornado sirens starting going off.

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The skies were getting darker by the minute and we checked the radar and storms looked imminent, but our host gardener was not in the least deterred, wanting to show us more and more of her yard–which was large and quite nice.  That is the thing about gardeners–we get so wrapped up in the garden, we sometimes overlook things!  Finally, I said we better head back to the truck.  The wind was whipping and raindrops were starting to fall.  She did not want to stop, but went with us back towards her house and our vehicle.  We jumped in and she finally headed for home.  The skies opened up! It poured rain and the winds were fierce.  Tree limbs were falling and debris was hitting Julie Kerr’s new truck as we tried to figure out where to go to get out of the storm. We saw some trees that got uprooted or broken, but it began to stop not too long after it started.  Looking at radar, we figured we better end for the day. We made a call to some of the later stops, and they really wanted us to still come–but we put it off to next Friday.

Here is a sneak peak at just a few of the fabulous gardens we saw today.  Great plant collections and whimsical art included!

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There were fabulous lilies at several gardens:

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The storms were intense while they lasted, and there are quite a few places still without power (thankfully not us this time!), but now the sun is shining and all is right with the world.  It takes a lot of planning to put on a successful MG conference and luckily we have the time to do it.  I am also getting more calls from other potential state conference counties.  We may be able to pre-schedule for 4 years out!!  Putting on a state conference is a lot of work, but it really showcases a county well and brings the county closer together.

Have a good weekend.

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