Fall Flower and Garden Fest has something for everyone

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gardeners and outdoors enthusiasts, you’ve been waiting all year and it’s finally here — the Fall Flower and Garden Fest. If you have not attended this event for the past 29 years, you have missed a lot, but you really should not let this 30th annual fest get by you this year. This one just may be the best ever.

The Fall Flower and Garden Fest will be Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Mississippi State University’s Truck Crops Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, and I invite all gardeners. This is by far the largest horticulture show of its kind in the southeastern United States. There is so much to see and even more to learn. Come walk through the 3-acre vegetable, flower and herb garden and take your pick among 22 seminars being offered each day. Parking and admission is free, and the station is very easy to find. Just follow Interstate 55 south of Jackson and take Exit 68. From there you can follow the signs. From Vicksburg, I normally travel highway 27 to Utica and then over to I-55. It’s only about a 40-minute drive going that direction.

The following is a list of the seminars, workshops and walking tours available at the fest:

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* Landscaping for Energy Conservation

* Plant Disease Tour

* Beekeeping Demonstration

* Shade Garden Workshop

* Cooking with Sweet Potatoes

* Accentuate Your Yard with Garden Art

* Make Your Own Beautiful Mixed Planters for Fall and Winter

* Adaptations for Accessible Gardening

* Pond Management Workshop

* Stir Fry with Tofu

* Garden Nation — Ideas and Designs from Great Gardens

* Flower Garden Walking Tour

* Make Your Own Bird Feeders

* Kudzu in the Kitchen

* Mammal Tracking Tour

* Vegetable Garden Walking Tour

* Hot New Plants and Captivating Combinations

* Make Your Own Hypertufa Pavers and Pots

* Hydrangeas for Southern Gardens

* Insect ID and Damage Walking Tour

* Garden Structures in the Landscape

* Easy-to-Grow Backyard Fruit Crops

The variety of topics is so vast that I suspect most anyone can find something that piques their interest.

If you’ve got bugs that you need identified or plants that are ailing, pack them up and bring them with you. Lots of state Extension entomologists, plant pathologists, agronomists and horticulturists will be on hand to identify, diagnose and recommend possible solutions.

Radio and newspaper columnist celebrities like Southern Gardening’s Norman Winter and Garden Mama Nellie Neal will be on hand to chat and answer your many plant-related questions, too.

I normally serve as a guide for the wagon-ride tours around the research farm. This year, I’ll do that in addition to helping with some of the shade garden and vegetable garden activities. I’ll be looking for you!

Reminder: Farm Bureau’s annual meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23 beginning at 7 p.m. at Eddie Monsour’s Restaurant in the Vicksburg Country Club. Cost is $5 per person and registration is requested by calling the Farm Bureau office by Oct. 20.  Representative Alex Monsour will be the featured speaker. All Farm Bureau members are urged to attend.


John C. Coccaro is county Extension director. Write to him at 1100-C Grove St., Vicksburg, MS 39180 or call 601-636-5442. E-mail him at jcoccaro@ext.msstate.edu.