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Fall garden fest marks 31st year
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Thousands of garden and horticulture enthusiasts will converge on Crystal Springs in October for the 31st annual Fall Flower and Garden Fest.
The Oct. 16 and 17 event at Mississippi State University’s Truck Crops Experiment Station celebrates “Living Well – Greener and Healthier” with 3 acres of vegetables, flowers and herbs.
MSU sponsors the annual event, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Admission and parking are free. Considered the largest home gardening show in the Southeast, past events have averaged about 6,000 participants over the two-day period.
In an effort to support the event theme and the “Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi” program, the 2009 fest will open on Friday with a 1-mile fun walk at 9:30 a.m.
Activities and attractions include garden seminars, walking tours, a pond management workshop and backyard wildlife habitat sessions. Some of the garden types to visit include the huge vegetable garden, flower gardens, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, shade garden, banana trials, tropical garden, rose garden specialty crops and turf plots. All-America Selections winners and Mississippi Medallion winners will be highlighted throughout the gardens.
A workshop this year will highlight the new high tunnels and give an introduction to their use in extending the growing season. A plant sale will be on-site for shoppers, with garden centers and nurseries from all over the state selling their best fall plants. The Cornmeal Man will return this year with his stone ground cornmeal, peanuts, steam engines and antique tractors. Wagon ride tours of the Experiment Station will be running both days.
New seminar topics this year include an introduction to nature photography, how to make decorative arrangements with vegetables and plant propagations for the home gardener. Other topics are wildlife food plots, living wreaths, new flower plants, various cooking topics and new gardening trends. Another new attraction for 2009 is the recently renovated and handicapped-accessible vegetable tunnel, part of the AgrAbility Project on accessible gardening.
Workers with MSU’s Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will provide information and answer questions. In addition to personnel throughout the site, a special “Ask MSU” area will be located under the main tent for people wanting plants identified or problems diagnosed. Quick soil pH tests can be completed if samples are provided.
The Truck Crops Experiment Station is located on Highway 51 in Crystal Springs, 25 miles south of Jackson. Take exit 68 off Interstate 55 to get there. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the new event Web site at MSUcares.com, or call (601) 892-3731 or the local county Extension office.