By Lee Hamilton
CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s 2013 Garden Festival, set for Saturday, May 4, will celebrate the state’s 150th birthday with tips on growing heirloom flowers and vegetables and sales of some of the state’s best native botanical gems.
The Division’s day-long celebration of the growing season will include four workshops conducted by experts who will talk about growing heirloom plants, orchids, fruits and seeds, and creating relaxing garden sanctuaries. More than a dozen vendors will sell seeds, plants, herbs, homemade soaps, and decorations for your home and garden, including pottery and fountains.
All workshops and other activities are free and the public is invited to attend from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., John Porter, the West Virginia University extension agent for Kanawha County, will discuss which heirloom seeds in West Virginia are best to save, how to harvest and store seeds, and how to maintain their genetics.
At 11 a.m. Doug Jolley, who works for the Plant Industries Division of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, will discuss the fascinating family of native orchids that grow in West Virginia and their relationship to the Appalachian culture.
At 12:30 p.m., Brian Hartsock, operating manager for the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello in Charlottesville, Va., will discuss the virtues of antique fruit varieties of apples, peaches and grapes grown at Monticello, which specializes in preserving antique and heirloom plants introduced into American horticulture before the 20th century. Hartsock, a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley and West Virginia University, will cover the fruits’ history, uses, and briefly discuss propagation and pest and disease problems.
Chris Higgins and Amy Williams will talk at 2 p.m. about how to create a garden sanctuary from your soul.
Vendors will include By the River Creations, Hardscrabble Enterprises, Kanawha County Master Gardeners, Kanawha Urban Ag Alliance, Kanawha Valley Beekeepers Association, Lisa’s Gardenscapes, Manna Meal, Meadow Flower Greenhouse, Monticello, Native Plant Revival, North Hills Nursery, Plain Jane’s Country Cookin’, Rampsalt.com, SAGE Initiative, Teresa Eskins Tole Painting, West Virginia University’s Kanawha County Extension Service, and Windbeam Way Nursery.
Kanawha County 4-H clubs will sell light food and refreshments.
For more, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner for the Division, at Caryn.S.Gresham@wv.gov or 304-558-0220.