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WAUSAU — The North Central Wisconsin Master Gardener Association and UW – Extension will host a conference for northern climate gardeners in late January in Wausau.

The Garden Visions Conference will be held Jan. 25 and 26 at Northcentral Technical College.

Friday: Slow Food Dinner with Guest Speaker, Wisconsin Author, Michael Perry

Garden Visions starts on Jan. 25 with a Slow Food Dinner. NTC’s culinary arts instructor, Chef Travis Teska, will present the fifth annual Slow Food Dinner, along with a short talk by Chef Travis.  Michael Perry, a New York Times best-selling author, humorist, playwright and radio host from New Auburn, Wisconsin, is the keynote speaker after dinner. Perry talks about his experiences as a failed gardener and provides a humorous, heartfelt look into his relationship with food of all sorts, from gas station jerky to organic asparagus truffle foam.

Meet and Greet and book signings by Perry are from 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m.

For more information about Michael Perry, visit

Saturday: Full Day Conference

Listen to national and regional speakers, view educational exhibits, take a chance on great raffle prizes, meet and greet speakers, authors, shop and enjoy lunch. The conference is open to the public and you do not have to be a master gardener to attend.

Keynote speaker is Joel Karsten with the topic: “Building An Outdoor Room.” Karsten, author of “Straw Bale Gardens,”  will speak about straw bale gardens during one of the breakout sessions.

Bernie Williams, a plant, pest and disease specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, will hold a bonus presentation on jumping worms. Learn how to deal with this somewhat new invasive species.

Pre-registrations must be postmarked or submitted online by Jan. 18.

Walk in registration for Jan. 25 and 26 will be accepted on the day of, however, session choices may be limited and lunch is not available for walk-ins.