Design within reach
Scandinavian modern design was popular way before Ikea. A panel discussion, “Designing the Beautifully Useful,” will explore the connection between design and national identity and show examples of Scandinavian modern furniture and household products popular in the 1950s to 1970s, at 6 p.m. Thursday in 33 McNeal Hall on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. After the program, check out the “Danish Modern: Design for Living” furniture exhibit in McNeal Hall. Both events are free. Call 612-624-7434.
Dawn Pape can help you grow edible plants without spending weekends in the garden. Her book “A Lawn Chair Gardener’s Guide” simplifies organic gardening and companion planting and explains how to create low-maintenance chemical-free beds of vegetables and herbs. Pape will give a presentation and sign books from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, 2705 Lincoln Dr., Roseville. It’s free, but registration is required at www.northerngardener.org.
Homes on parade
Don’t let snowbanks stop you from touring some of the Spring Parade of Homes open across the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. Many of the 390 model homes are decorated with the latest colors, finishes, furnishings and lighting. Local builders showcase many home buyers’ top-of-the-list features — open floor plans with spacious kitchens, lower-level entertainment spaces with upscale bars and high-tech home-automation systems. Keen on green? The Green Path Energy Efficient tour features 170 energy-conserving sustainable homes. There also are programs on the villa lifestyle for empty-nesters, interior design and green building at various homes. The Parade of Homes is free and open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through March 30. For a $5 donation, you can get an inside look at three “Dream Homes” priced at $2 million-plus, including two Nantucket-inspired lake retreats in Plymouth and Woodland. Pick up a guidebook with maps at Holiday Station Stores, or visit the Builders Association of the Twin Cities website at www.paradeofhomes.org.