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Anything but tiny

Two-day flower and garden show digs into buds, bushes, birds and backyard gardening

Two-day flower and garden show digs into buds, bushes, birds and backyard gardening

March 17, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Spring is just three days away and soon people will be spending more time in their back yards.

Attendees at Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association's 11th annual Flower & Garden Show this weekend in the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center will have the opportunity to learn about various aspects of gardening, including backyard gardening, during several seminars that are part of the price of admission Saturday, March 19, and Sunday, March 20.

Admission costs $4 for adults, while children younger than 12 get in for free. Proceeds from the show help pay off the debt for the amphitheater, which cost $1.3 million, Alumni Coordinator Lisa Stewart said. The event netted $40,000 in 2004.

Stewart said she expects the show to attract at least as many people as last year when more than 6,500 people stopped by.

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Vendor space is booked solid. Booths include landscapers; a service that sets up and maintains indoor plants for businesses; feng shui landscaping; pressed flower art; yard decorations such as flags and concrete statues; a blacksmith; dips made from fresh herbs; fencing, gazebo and swing vendors; and booths selling a variety of plants, including herbs and large plants.

Laurie Waltz, landscape designer with Ott's Horticulture Center in Chewsville, will kick off the flower and garden show's seminar schedule Saturday morning by explaining how people can design a back yard that works better for them.

Last year, Waltz talked about gardening in regards to curb appeal, but this year she is focusing on the back yard - a space she says is "for you."

The back yard is where people spend their time, she said.

"In the back yard, you can tend to get a little more creative ... with your gardening," Waltz said.

People finding their dream back yard in a magazine might think transforming their own back yard to look like that would be an overwhelming task, but Waltz said patience is the key.

The idea is to do a little bit at a time, unless the homeowner has unlimited time and money, Waltz said.

When it comes to landscaping a back yard, Waltz said the first question she asks clients is, "'How do you want to use your back yard?'"

The purpose helps outline a general map of their yards.

Waltz said she might design a back yard during Saturday's 10 a.m. seminar to provide an example of what can be done.

After a purpose is chosen, a basic outline is formed determining major structures and elements such as walkways, patios, decks, gazebos and arbors, she said.

Next comes the bigger plant material such as trees and large shrubs because they take the longest to grow, Waltz said. Does the homeowner want more shade? Less shade?

People need to be patient in waiting for their dream back yard to take shape, Waltz said. Think of the results after three, five or 10 years of growing.

"If landscaping (is) done right, it should look like it needs to grow in" at first, she said.

Other factors to consider are sunlight exposure, watering and spacing, Waltz said.

For example, people who don't like to water plants frequently might want to choose drought-resistant plants.

A common mistake is to overplant. Then in three years after plants have grown, you can't get down the walkway. The plants have taken it over, she said.

For people with pets, Dr. Amy Sultenfuss from Animal Health Clinic of Funkstown will talk about "Planning a Pet Safe Yard" at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Veterinarians often are asked if there could be something in the yard that caused the dog to vomit, Sultenfuss said.

"There's a lot of plants that are toxic, but in reality your dog is not likely to eat these," she said.

Some dogs know better, she said. It often depends on the dog's personality.

Sultenfuss also will talk about other potential yard hazards and concerns such as standing water or exposed fencing or wires.

"I'm hoping to just give them some information," such as hot line numbers, for if they run into problems, Sultenfuss said.

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