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Archive for Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garden Calendar: Fair can help you master your garden

March 18, 2012

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This coming Saturday is the day to get all of your burning gardening questions answered by attending the Douglas County Master Gardeners’ Spring Garden Fair. The fair is a come-and-go event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Building 21 on the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St. Admission is free.

Are your gardening questions less burning and more about where to start? The Spring Garden Fair can help with that, too. As Master Gardener Jim Harmon says, “This is an excellent educational opportunity for anyone who wants to learn about gardening.” Harmon is one of the lead organizers of the event, with Master Gardeners Jane Cram and Lisa Larsen.

The fair features educational displays and experts on trees, lawns, edible plants, mulch and compost, birds and butterflies, water management, insects, garden tools and native plants. K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County’s Agriculture and Horticulture Agents will also be around to answer questions, along with Douglas County 4-H’ers and the Douglas County 4-H Foundation.

“It’s a one-stop-shop for ‘how-to’ gardening information,” notes Cram.

The Master Gardeners are putting on the Spring Garden Fair to help fulfill their mission of education. They want to help you become better gardeners and/or get started gardening. They enjoy sharing their passion for plants with others.

Cram adds that her neighbor sometimes stops by to ask garden-related questions, and other Master Gardeners have reported similar experiences.

But what if there are not any Master Gardeners in your neighborhood? You can still call on them.

“This is a great opportunity to talk one-on-one with Master Gardeners,” says Larsen, “and bring in those specific questions.”

Although the focus is education, organizers have worked hard to add in some fun for the day, too. A “kids’ korner” offers a chance for youths to catch the gardening bug, and Cram is bringing a worm bin for a close-up look at composting. Garden-related crafts created by Master Gardeners will be for sale, with all proceeds to benefit other Master Gardener educational programs. Potted flowering bulbs (think tulips and daffodils) will be for sale and will also benefit the organization’s other activities.

Last but not least are the door prizes donated by Master Gardeners and about 40 generous local businesses that will be given away throughout the day. Door prizes include a hand-crafted arbor and potting bench, a beautifully painted rain barrel, a garden fountain, a large ceramic planter, birdhouses and feeders, mulch, miscellaneous garden tools and supplies, and gift certificates/coupons to local garden-related businesses.

Concessions will also be available.

To become a Master Gardener, an individual must complete a basic training course (78 hours in Douglas County) and volunteer 40 hours in approved community activities. All Master Gardener community activities provide public education related to gardening in some way. To keep their hard-earned title, Master Gardeners must continue to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours per year in the community and attend at least 10 hours of advanced horticultural education.

There are about 150 active Master Gardeners in Douglas County.

— Jennifer Smith is the Horticulture Extension Agent for K-State Research and Extension in Douglas County. She can be reached at 843-7058.

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