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Fresh, clear calendar anticipates happy days

I love the feeling of finishing things. The last dab of the cinnamon-flavored toothpaste. (Toothpaste needs to be mint, not cinnamon.) The emptying of the shampoo bottle that has been teetering, inverted, on the side of the tub for a week.

And the turning of the calendar page from December to... well, that calendar can go in the trash.

Then there's the liberating, joyous feeling of starting fresh. Squeezing that smooth toothpaste tube for the first time. Catching the bracing fragrance of the newly opened shampoo before it dissipates, over time, exposed to air.

And looking at the blank pages of a new year's calendar and seeing nothing but opportunity. Or seeing nothing at all, and feeling unpressured for a minute. It almost makes you not want to start writing in birthdays, doctor's appointments, standing meetings ...

I got a pretty new turquoise leather appointment calendar, "handmade in Italy," half price at the bookstore for my purse. A wall calendar featuring pocket pigs from Devon, England, for my kitchen (April features a petite pig smiling into the soft shower of a watering can). And, of course, a botanical calendar for my desk at work.

There's no time to wait to begin writing in garden appointments for 2010, because they start Monday. The Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners' series of garden classes begins then, at 6:30 p.m. at the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road, and runs Mondays through Feb. 15. The cost is $5 for the entire series, and you can hop in anytime.

But I wouldn't miss the first session. It's "Confessions of a Seedaholic" with master gardener Charlene Schneider. Charlene starts an amazing number of plants from seed every year, resulting in a buoyantly beautiful garden featuring unusual annuals. She can answer questions such as which varieties of petunias to grow. If winter is getting you down, you can get your imagination, at least, back in the soil Monday.

The other classes in the series are: Jan. 11, soil preparation and composting; Jan. 18, growing vegetables; Jan. 25, building a greener community one yard at a time; Feb. 1, using ornamental grasses in your landscape; Feb. 8, growing and using culinary herbs; and Feb. 15, bringing your yard alive with native plants and wildflowers.

Here are the dates of more of our favorite garden events for 2010. Get out your pens (we don't pencil these in):

* Creating a Landscape Design series, Jan. 16, 23 and 30, Botanica. Mark McHenry of Hillside Nursery will lead the hands-on drawing class.

* Central Kansas Vegetable Growers Workshop, Feb. 6, Extension Center.

* Wichita Garden Show, March 3 to 7, Century II. This year's theme is Gardens of the World, chosen "to celebrate the ethnic diversity of neighborhoods in the great local and statewide community around us that has supported the Wichita Garden Show for 43 years."

Each day will pay tribute to a different heritage. Entertainers and neighborhoods that are interested in taking part can call the Wichita Garden Show at 316-946-0883 or e-mail wichitagardenshow@sbcglobal.net.

* Youth Lawn Mowing Clinic for middle-school students during spring break, March 17, Extension Center.

* Tree Festival, March 27, Extension Education Center.

* Herb Day, May 1, Extension Center.

* Master Gardeners' Spring Garden Tour, May 14 and 15.

* Tomato Day, July 24, Extension Center.

* District Rose Show, Sept. 18, Holiday Inn at 549 S. Rock Road. This show will bring in big rose names from surrounding states.

This is just a start, of course. If your organization has a garden event planned for this year that is open to the public, let me know. Now that it's filling up, I'll be happy to get it on the calendar.

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