Nerd Nite Ann Arbor: March 27, presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday March 27, 2014: 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults

For the last year, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

The next Nerd Nite will be Thursday, March 27 at LIVE (102 S 1st St.). Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

What topics are on tap?
Did you know about Michigan's own "Forgotten Woodstock," held less than an hour away back in 1970? Have you ever wished you could tell what the heck a tree was just by looking at it? Want to learn a little more about the most effective world revolutionary of all time? Nerd Nite Ann Arbor teams up with Ann Arbor District Library this month to bring curious folks all of this with absolutely NO COVER!

Mark Deming – The Goose Lake Rock Festival
Ben Connor Barrie – Barking Up the Wrong Tree: A Crash Course in Tree Identification
Michael Leonard – Thomas Paine: How the First World Revolutionary Fell from Fame and Became the Forgotten Founding Father (of both America and France!)

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

This month's event is NO COVER (usually $5), thanks to AADL's sponsorship!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us for the AADL + NNA2 Mashup!

Gardening With Gusto With Local Landscape Designer Karleen Shafer

Tuesday May 6, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room AB

It’s spring planting season in Michigan!

Local landscape designer and Master Gardener Karleen Shafer will tell you how to access your garden, creating a unique space for yourself and others. Learn more about planting issues, and the importance of ecological balance, pruning techniques, plant communities and creating a sense of place.

Karleen Shafer has been in the Green Industry for more than 20 years. She owns and operates Landscape Design & Associates LLC, a design/build company working throughout southeast Michigan. She is a Certified Green Industry Professional, Natural Shoreline Professional listed with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and her company is also certified for green roof installation.

Her gardens have been featured in numerous garden tours, received several awards both regional and national and have been used by national plant growers in their own advertising. Karleen has been a contributing garden writer for a monthly publication of Brighton Argus and has co-authored The "Perennial Reference Guide," a quick reference guide used by designers and gardeners alike. She is currently working on a new book to help homeowners develop an ecological, environmentally balanced landscape.

It's Time for Indoor Gardening!

With fall upon us and winter approaching faster than some of us might prefer, it’s time to think about indoor gardening! Indoor gardening can be as simple or complex as you like, from keeping a few house plants in the living room to maintaining a full herb garden or a bonsai display in your home. The library has a number of great books to help you get started, give you advice on how to move outdoor plants indoors, and tend to plants that are struggling now . Don’t Throw It, Grow It! even gives tips on how to grow plants on windowsills from food scraps. For the ambitious, books on more unique plants or on caring for the finicky bonsai trees are also available.

Kids can get involved in keeping things green over the winter too. Check out My Indoor Garden by Carol Lerner for easy suggestions for helping kids choose and care for plants during the chilly months.

To learn more about both common and unusual houseplants, think about attending Life as an Epiphyte at Matthaei Botanical Gardens on November 16, when artist Penrith Goff will speak about over 6,00 types of bromeliads.

Take an Autumn Prairie Plant Hike! @Furstenberg Nature Area

Sunday September 22, 2013: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Furstenberg Nature Area

Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) volunteer and Master Gardener Aunita Erskine lead a nature walk through Furstenberg's Native Garden.

Learn about the ecology of the park, how to identify many of the autumn prairie plants and how people have historically used some of the plants for food and medicine.

Furstenberg is off Fuller, across from Huron High School. Meet in the parking lot near the Native Plant Garden.

This event is intended for all ages.

The Gardens of Ann Arbor - A Walk Through the History of the Ann Arbor Garden Club

For more than 80 years the Ann Arbor Garden Club has been beautifying the public and private lands of Ann Arbor. Old News is launching a new Feature on the history of the AAGC this Wednesday, Septemeber 11, at 7:00 p.m. at the Pittsfield Branch Library. Grace Shackman's article highlights the Garden Club's commitment to their original mission, to assist the citizens of Ann Arbor to grow a beautiful city through education, outreach, community service and public events. The Feature includes hundreds of articles and photos from the archives of the Ann Arbor News.

Yardscaping

Have a corner in your backyard that needs some sprucing up? Have some unused objects hanging around that you just don't want to get rid of like an old, unused metal toolbox or some scraps of copper or aluminum tubing? Well, there are several books recently published that will give the outdoor artist in you some ideas for repurposing them. The Revolutionary Yardscape is every dumpster diver, scrap hound, or flea market enthusiast's dream, providing plenty of ideas for found items like plastic pallet strapping, wine bottle corks, reclaimed lumber, pipes, empty window frames, broken concrete slabs, and scrap stone, just for starters. It includes where to find specific items like at scrapyards or surplus sales. I love the reuse of an old oxygen tank from a hospital surplus sale as a planter! I also learned about items I never knew the name of like the reuse of a bollard as a garden hose guide. Projects range from very intensive to easy and he provides the info to get you through: like how to cut difficult materials including stone, steel, or acrylic sheets, or what to use to bend metal pipes. Another great book on this same subject is Handmade Garden Projects. I found the projects easier to accomplish in this book but just as creative. The easiest project was for garden lighting called: 'Canning Jar Lanterns', a great day project to do with kids. So whether you want an outdoor project to do in a day or over the course of many, these two books should give you plenty of ideas! For even more ideas click here.

Magazines A-Z: Birds & Blooms

Whether it's birds & blooms or sun & fun, there's no better time to get out in your yard and make things happen. Recently added to the library's magazine collection is Birds & Blooms: Beauty in Your Own Backyard. Loaded with lists of which birds are attracted to which flowers, and what to plant, considering soil, shade and seasons.

Also, if you're looking for simple projects to try in your backyard, the 'project section' in this magazine features feeders, birdhouses, garden crafts and large garden projects that will transform your backyard!

Branching out with other similar titles you might also try, English Garden, Gardens Illustrated, Fine Gardening, or Horticulture: the Art & Science of Smart Gardening.

Lovin' the Lavender

One of my favorite scents is lavender and with spring planting upon us, I turned to the Lavender Lover's Handbook, for inspiration. Lavender not only smells intoxicating, the flowers are gorgeous, and it can be used in a variety of recipes. From flower arranging to wreath making to cooking, this book provides the information needed to utilize lavender in many ways and in a variety of forms. The author also describes the different varieties of lavender, as well as how to grow and maintain them in abundance. The author should know, she has a 5-acre farm in Oregon with some 5000 lavender plants. It is open to the public and has the romantic name of Lavender at Stonegate. The library owns several other books on lavender, like Lavender : the grower's guide and Lavender : how to grow and use the fragrant herb I also have just heard about the Michigan Lavender Festival in Armada that takes place in July! A rewarding summer sipping sweet lavender lemonade!

Garden Problem Solver

Spring is here, and we’ve had a few warm days finally, so let’s talk gardening. I know you’ve got seeds ordered and sprouting indoors! We’ve got a new and pretty little book called Garden Problem Solver that has suggestions for just that. It has wonderful illustrations of images of disease and damage with possible solutions to bring the foliage back to health and get rid of pests. It talks about various problems encountered by a variety of ornamentals, vegetables, fruit, and weeds.

The library has a plethora of great books on gardening. Everything from what to plant when and where, to how to take care of it. Happy gardening! Think spring!

Cabin Fever

If you are anything like me, March rolls around and you begin to crave the juicy flavor of a sun-warmed tomato or the crunch of a raw sugar snap pea. OK, maybe I started to crave those back in November..but, March is when I can actually allow myself to think about what delicious food I am going to grow. It is also when I can take little steps to growing this food, such as ordering/planting seeds and beginning to plan the layout of my garden. Around this time my imagination runs rampant and I end up with way more seeds and varieties of tomatoes than I could ever plant, let alone eat. With the help of some resources from AADL, you can wrap up in a blanket with a warm cup of tea, and look forward to the day when the sun is once again shining and you are not under 5 layers of clothes.

With books such as The Backyard Homestead, Great Garden Companions, and Easy Vegetable Garden Plans…you can begin to plan your summer growing experience.

Don’t have enough land to plant a garden? Have no fear! You can plant in containers if you only have a porch or a deck. There are many books that offer solutions to the problem of not having available land to plant a traditional garden. To see a list of books that address this and other issues that may arise when you are trying to garden in a small space, click here.

I would also recommend making a trip to the AADL location and browsing the gardening section. You can also browse our collection online here.

Also, if you do not have the space to garden but still want to get your hands dirty, there are many opportunities for you! Community gardens like Better Together Community Garden or organizations such as Growing Hope in Ypsilanti exist so you can get outside and work with the earth no matter what your living situation may be.

Get ready, summer is just around the corner!

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