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Master Gardeners event sows seeds of interest

| Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Fayette County Master Gardeners encourage everyone to think spring as they host their Spring Garden Affair from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus.

Fayette County Master Gardener Coordinator Valerie Sesler said the purpose of this event is to make gardening fun.

"The mission of the Penn State Master Gardener volunteer program is to support the Penn State Cooperative Extension by utilizing research-based information to educate the public on best practices in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship," she said. "In order to accomplish this, the master gardeners are conducting this Spring Garden Affair to help to educate the public in a fun and exciting way."

The event was established two years ago. "It was very well-received by the public. In fact, one of the reasons we will continue to have this event is because so many people have asked us to continue it."

People will have a choice of classes, including, "No Fear Rose Gardening," "Orchids," "Miniature Gardening," "Rx for your Lawn and Garden," "Problem Solving," "Floral Trends/A Design in Fresh" and "Propagation."

"These classes will be taught by some of the area's most-gifted instructors," Sesler said. "Our keynote presentation, 'Sustainable Landscape Practices,' will be given by Sandy Feather, horticulture educator, from Allegheny County Cooperative Extension.

There will be vendors, gardening exhibits, plants and other items for sale, door prizes and other activities.

Sesler credits the first lady with reviving interest in gardening.

"There are lots of ways to encourage more interest in gardening. A big influence to the increase in interest has been First Lady Michelle Obama. She has really opened a flood-gate about the nutrition of our country's youth.

"Another way to encourage gardening is to have gardening educational opportunities such as our Spring Garden Affair."

She said that a number of factors have encouraged more gardening locally.

"I think there is more excitement about gardening than there has been in years. With the economy the way it has been, people are trying to be more resourceful with their hard-earned money. Also, I believe that there is so much more concern about living a healthy lifestyle.

"A lot of people are getting involved in growing their own vegetables or getting involved in their local community with community gardens. Then, there are some folks that just want to be more educated about horticulture in general, whether they want beautiful flowers, a perfect lawn or a productive vegetable garden, or maybe all of the above. "

Sesler said the Spring Garden Affair is consistent with the master gardener's mission.

"We, as master gardeners, are very committed to helping the youth of our community see the value in having a strong sense of stewardship for our environment. We do programming for in-school and after-school projects for many schools in Fayette County.

"All of our master gardeners are volunteers who love all aspects of gardening and horticulture, and have a passion for sharing their knowledge to as many people as they possibly can."

Additional Information:

Details

Proceeds of the Spring Garden Affair will be used to support the master gardener program in Fayette County. The cost to attend is $15.

Call Penn State Cooperative Extension at 724-438-0111 for more information.

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