Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on October 10, 2003. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Enjoy family fun at flower, garden fest
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
The best free gardening or horticultural event in the South is just a few days away. The Fall Flower and Garden Fest Oct. 17-18 is better than festivals in many other states and offers fun for the whole family.
This extravaganza takes place at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station on Highway 51 just south of Crystal Springs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. each day. Attendance increased last year by just over 1,000 for a two-day total of about 7,000.
Children can enjoy the wagon rides around the Experiment Station, as well as see the butterfly garden. Goofy scarecrows and a special maze add to the fun for children.
A variety of delicious foods are available from the regular fare to the more exotic. I have enjoyed delicacies such as ostrich burgers and last year's ostrich chili. The golden crisp catfish and steak sandwiches will melt in your mouth.
The Experiment Station is growing vegetables of Africa, Latin American and India in its ethnic gardens. Flowers cover half of the 3-acre area, with sections for annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, climbing flowers and vegetables, butterflies, tropical plants and roses.
One of the largest chrysanthemum trials anywhere is in full bloom just waiting for you to capture in a photograph.
The Master Gardeners from Warren County will host visitors in the shade garden, offering prime advice and demonstrations on which plants work well in low-light conditions. The Master Gardeners from Hinds and Copiah counties have an ornamental grass demonstration garden. The Natural Resources and Conservation Service offers a backyard wildlife habitat demonstration.
A new feature this year is a composting education center. Visitors can also expect several wholesale nurseries and garden centers on hand selling goods to the public. I know you will find muhly grass and the hot new heucheras like Amber Waves, Amethyst Mist and Strawberry Swirl. You'll also find the new Amazon dianthus, Panolas, Red Giant Mustard and Redbor Kale. Look for angel trumpets to make a tropical-style garden.
Speaking of tropical, the Experiment Station has a Jamaican-style garden with bananas, pineapples, hibiscus and much more.
Concurrent seminars are scheduled with interesting topics like Native Ferns, Spectacular Caladiums, Collecting Wildflower Seeds, Organic Gardening, Making Willow Furniture, Fruits and Nuts, Gardening in the Real World, Cooking with Herbs, Wild Game Cookery, and Fabulous Fruit and Vegetable Cooking.
Make this the year you bring the family to the Fall Flower and Garden Fest. For more information, call (601) 892-3731. I'll expect to see you there.