Gardening event set for Saturday

Published 5:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008

Saturday’s installment of the annual Spring GardeningExtravaganza is shaping up to be the largest in the event’s 5-yearhistory.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield estimated that approximately 600 peoplewill show up for the downtown gardening celebration in RailroadPark, which begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. He said theevent, which has consistently grown in popularity, will attract allmanner of gardening enthusiasts from novice to pro, and from nearand far.

“This has become an annual event for Brookhaven not only enjoyedby local residents but those from neighboring communities as well,”Brumfield said. “It provides a great venue for anyone with a greenthumb – or those desiring to grow one – to come out and learn aboutproper horticulture care.”

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With around 600 extra people milling around downtown Brookhaven,Brumfield said the extravaganza would double as a chance for thecity’s visitors to get to know local businesses andattractions.

“Any time we have these events, it’s a good opportunity forpeople to be brought through Brookhaven and perhaps visit our localmerchants and do a little extra shopping while they’re here,” hesaid. “This gives us a chance to showcase our city and ourimprovements in the downtown area.”

The city’s visitors will be bolstered by those conductingbusiness at the extravaganza.

Cooperative Extension Service Director Rebecca Bates, whoseagency co-sponsors the event alongside Lincoln County MasterGardeners, said more than 40 gardening supply vendors fromBrookhaven and across Mississippi and Louisiana are committed toattending this year. Vendors will sell products such as flowers andplants, birdhouses and feeders and specialty fertilizers.

“We have an increase in the number of vendors we normally havefor this year,” she said. “(The booths) stretch from the chamber ofcommerce to the train depot and throughout the park area.”

Not everything at the extravaganza is for sale – information isfree.

Three seminars of approximately one hour each will be giventhroughout the day in the depot, with the first scheduled for 10a.m. The extension service’s Dr. Lelia Kelly will host the firstseminar with a presentation on biblical plants. Dr. Drew Bates,also of the extension service, will give a lecture on the basics ofproper pruning at 11 a.m., and Louisiana State Universityhorticulturist Dan Gill will take the floor at 1:30 p.m. to present”Right Plant, Right Place.”

The Spring Gardening Extravaganza will have a diagnosis boothavailable.

Dr. David Ingram, a plant pathologist from the CentralMississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, will beserving as the event’s “plant doctor.” Troubled gardeners may bringtheir afflicted plants to Ingram’s booth to discover what is wrongand, hopefully, how to correct the problem.

Children can get in on the action, too. The Master Gardenerswill present “Kids Can!” from 10 a.m. until noon, where children inattendance will be assisted in potting their plants to take home asgifts.

The extravaganza will also feature a taste of the arts andhistory. Music will be played throughout the day, and as part ofthe city’s sesquicentennial celebration, the Brookhaven Trust willopen the Foster-Smith Log Cabin for tours and surround it withcraftsmen and artisans, such as quilt makers, wooden toy makers andbasket weavers.

“These are the types of craftsmen there were during the periodof the cabin,” said Rita Rich, chairwoman of the Trust’s log cabincommittee and the Brookhaven 150th Celebration Steering Committee.”Back then they made their own quilts, toys and baskets. It goesback to Lincoln County’s history.”

Lunch will be served at the extravaganza from 11 a.m. until 1p.m. The “Picnic in the Park” will feature grilled hamburgers,drinks and homemade ice cream for sale.

The entire event, from vendors to seminars to ice cream, isdesigned for one purpose.

“It’s a community event to promote horticulture in a familysetting for Brookhaven,” said Mississippi Master GardenersPresident Homer Richardson. “It’s really sort of a family fun day -we encourage people to bring the kids down and let them lookaround. We have a pretty wide variety of stuff, it’s literally afull day. It’s about all the green thumb you can possiblyhandle.”