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Master Gardeners' plant fair aimed at education

May 04, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

ERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - When you meet a Morgan County Master Gardener, generally they are leaning over a plant to get a good view and checking the underside of its leaves because growing good healthy plants and sharing information is what they do.

The 2010 Master Gardeners Plant Fair on Friday and Saturday in Berkeley Springs State Park is where you will find them to get your garden plantings and to answer questions.

"Educating the public is our main purpose," said Phyllis Hagstad, who chairs the education committee.

Morgan County Master Gardeners president Susan Taylor said the organization began about 11 years ago through the West Virginia University Morgan County Extension Service.

The plant fair is the major fundraiser for the organization, and it has grown, Taylor said. About 16 vendors also sell handmade pottery and garden art, herb gardens, hanging baskets, orchids, a kit for square-foot gardening in raised beds and much more, Taylor said.

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Hagstad said a children's area will teach them how to plant a flower in a pot and will include other activities.

Money collected from the plant sale will pay for mulch and any replacement plantings for the gardens the master gardeners maintain at the Morgan County Public Library, at the town's entrance signs and elsewhere, Taylor said.

Funds are used for free garden programs offered to the public, she said.

This year, a $500 scholarship will be awarded to one senior from Berkeley Springs High School and one from Paw Paw High School. The scholarship will be awarded to a student who is seeking higher education in horticulture or the environment at any West Virginia college, Taylor said.

For the second year, garden tours are available during plant fair hours, Hagstad said.

Seven gardens in town are on the tour and will be marked with flags and placards. Free maps are available at the plant fair, she said.

The three gardeners' homes on the tour are members of the local Foxglove Garden Club.

"We like working together with other organizations that are on the tour," Hagstad said.

"The private gardens are inspiring and magical, and we want people to take what they see and incorporate the idea into their own gardens," Taylor said.

"The public gardens show our history and demonstrate low-maintenance plantings," Hagstad said.

Master gardeners must complete an 11-week program and perform 30 volunteer hours to become certified. The cost is $75 for the materials, Hagstad said.

About 100 men and women are members of Morgan County Master Gardeners, Taylor said.

For more information about joining the Master Gardeners, call the WVU Morgan County Extension Office at 304-258-8400.

If you go ...



What: Morgan County Master Gardeners Plant Fair and Garden Tours

When: Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Berkeley Springs State Park, downtown Berkeley Spring, W.Va.

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