Get your thumb green at gardening classes

Whether it's learning how to turn a chair into a floral arrangement or maximizing outdoor water usage at your home, the Howard County Master Gardeners have some ideas they want to share with you. The club will begin its annual summer session of Saturday classes this week, officials said. All classes will be at the club's Green Thumb Cottage, 1604 W. Fourth (between Jones and Brown streets) at 10 a.m.In the first class, attendees will learn how to create a garden planter chair similar to the one the club offered as a prize at its recent Spring Plant Sale.Cost of the class is $25 and people should bring a pair of work gloves.Club Member Lucy Arcand said participants will need to provide an old wooden chair, also.“This class is really just for fun,” Arcand said. “It's a class on how to make a decorative item out of an old chair.”The other two summer classes are both free to the public, but the topics will much more serious in nature, showing people how to maximize water usage in their gardens during a time of extended drought.On July 13, the club will offer a class on drip irrigation.“They will learn how to use a an underground hose with little holes punched in it to irrigate their gardens,” Arcand said. “The result is very focused water usage — it goes directly to the root system of the plants.”The final summer class, set for Aug. 10, will show attendees how to construct a rainwater harvesting system for their gardens.“Basically, we waste a lot of rainwater,” Arcand said. “If you can configure a system to capture that, you'll have that much more water to use in your garden, and rainwater is the best water you can use for your garden.”Installing drip irrigation or rainwater harvesting systems don't have to cost a lot, Arcand said.“You can spend a lot, or you can spend a little. It can be high-end or low-end,” she said. “You can use a system you put together with PVC pipe and plastic barrels. It can be as simple as you want.”For more information on the club's summer classes, call Joni Boyd at 264-7472 or Julie Coates at 263-2225.