The Lake Home & Cabin Show
Alliant Energy Center
April 4-6 (Fri. 2-9 pm, Sat. 10 am-8 pm, Sun. 10 am-4 pm); $10 adults / $4 kids 5 to 15
With 150-plus exhibitors, there'll be plenty to look at, from decorating ideas to full-scale remodeling. But most astounding will be a special exhibit, "The Living Prairie," installed by native plant experts from Prairie Nursery of Westfield, Wis. Walk through native wildflowers and grasses and learn about deer-resistant plants and plants useful for creating a lakeshore "buffer." This kind of low-maintenance landscaping makes ecological sense, too.
Gardening at the Dragon's Gate At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World
By Wendy Johnson (Bantam Trade Paperback, $25)
You can garden to grow food and flowers, but to Wendy Johnson, co-founder of the groundbreaking organic Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County, Calif., the garden is also a place to meditate. This intriguing book is more than a garden guide, more than a cookbook, more than an argument for organic produce; it's transcendent nature writing of a useful sort and a spiritual counterpart to the many food manifestos, from Michael Pollan to Eric Schlosser, that are transforming the way Americans are thinking about their food.
Upcycling, eco-fashion and more
"Upcycling" - using stuff that would otherwise be thrown away to make new stuff that's useful. "Trashion" - more than trash being used to create fashion, it's clothing, jewelry or home decor made from discarded materials. Recycled green fashion is becoming more mainstream. Madison-area artists and crafters who are creating such eco-wares include (pictured above, from the top) Emily Kircher (ekra.etsy.com), who crochets throw rugs from old sheets and clothes; Enid Williams (haleystudio.etsy.com), who makes purses from discontinued fabric samples; and Omanepadmeom (omanepadmeom.etsy.com), who sews hippie-inspired clothes and knits scarves, when possible from recycled materials.
Available locally at Century House, Creative Expressions, J.T. Puffin's, Fromagination, Gingko Tree, Little Luxuries, Willy St. Co-op
These lightweight yet sturdy bowls, utensils, and boards are simple, elegant and beautiful, and made out of renewable materials. Cutting boards are made from 100% organically grown bamboo, sustainably harvested and free of fertilizers or pesticides. Bonus: Bambu has also received the Co-op America Seal of Approval (for "fair treatment of workers, promoting healthy communities, preserving the environment and providing quality products").
How to Get Your Lawn and Garden Off Drugs A Basic Guide to Pesticide-free Gardening in America
By Carole Rubin (Harbour Publishing, $14.95)
That matted tangle emerging from underneath the crusty snow in your yard needs your help to thrive. But that doesn't mean dumping a lot of chemicals on it. The organic options are outlined here - so you can continue the fight against the ubiquitous dandelion.