Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on October 2, 2000. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information.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.
Fall Flower, Garden Fest Tops In The Southeast
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
One of the best free events in the Southeastern United States, the Fall Flower and Garden Fest at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, is almost here. The two-day celebration is scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14 beginning at 9 a.m. each day. The festivities have been designed for the whole family.
I have been to Oktoberfests, scarecrow and pecan festivals in other states, and the Fall Flower and Garden Fest is as fun as it gets, even if I am working. My work is talking to visitors at the flower garden.
Children will enjoy wagon rides around the Experiment Station and seeing the butterfly garden and other exhibits. Gardeners will enjoy the rose garden, raised bed herb garden, shade garden, two acres of vegetables and a half-acre flower garden.
There will be delicious food available from the regular fare to vegetables and the more exotic. I have enjoyed delicacies such as ostrich burgers and last year's ostrich chili that would win an award.
The seminars are always packed and this year should be no different. Seminars include Flower Arranging, Growing Daylilies, Perennials, Sauces for Vegetables, How to Steal Native Plants, Heirloom Vegetables and Flowers, Grilling Vegetables, New Plants for the Millennium, Easy Herbs and Backyard Conservation.
A tropical garden display is new this year. Children can see how bananas bloom and are grown on large stalks. You will see the new cat's whiskers, ixora, jatropha, scuttleria, candlestick and many more. You'll feel like you're in Costa Rica.
The blooming Mississippi trial garden displays the new Diva periwinkles, AngelMist angelonias, Purple Bouquet dianthus, Tukana verbena, Honey Bee Blue Agastache and more.
The cut-flower zinnia trials can be seen up close. These flowers are from Germany and have large 4- to 5-inch flowers on long stems. Several hundred chrysanthemums grown in George County have been planted, giving the whole garden a look of riotous color.
You will see the Sonrise lantana used in a variety of ways. Another new plant is Sonset, which has captured the attention of gardeners and growers. Found by Jim Covington of Clinton Professional Nurseries, these lantanas are resistant to setting fruit and are a hit with swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds.
The tunnel is another big hit with visitors. This year, the tunnel is covered with a potato relative called Exotic Love, or Spanish Flag.
Master Gardeners from Warren County will host visitors in the shade garden and will offer prime advice and demonstration on which plants work well in low light conditions. The Master Gardeners from Hinds and Copiah counties have a demonstration garden with ornamental grasses.
The Natural Resources and Conservation Service has built a backyard wildlife habitat and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be hosting an Outreach Field Day.
The vegetable garden is in prime shape, and visitors will be delighted to see the latest varieties in cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers and much more.
The Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station is located 25 miles south of Jackson on Highway 51 just south of Crystal Springs. The field day starts at 9 a.m. each day. Call (601) 892-3731 for more information.