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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s 2012 Garden Festival, set for Saturday, May 5, will offer tips on growing and preparing edible plants and herbs, properly pruning trees, and designing gardens for people with varying abilities.

The Division’s day-long celebration of the growing season also will have experts on hand who can help solve your trickiest gardening dilemmas as well as more than 25 vendors who will be selling such items as organic seeds and plants, homemade soaps and candles, tasty jams and candy, and decorations for your home and garden.    

All activities are free and the public is invited to attend from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston.

Six workshops will be presented throughout the day. Andy Sheetz, partnership coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Forestry, will explain the different types of pruning equipment, how and why we prune trees and proper pruning techniques, beginning at 9 a.m.

Following that presentation, visitors can put what they learned into practice by joining Sheetz at 10 a.m. for a hands-on pruning session around the Capitol grounds. The 10 a.m. session is limited to 25 people, and participants are asked to bring their own pruning equipment.

At 10:30 a.m. Mary Slabinski-Schmidt, rural health program specialist for the Center for Excellence in Disabilities in Morgantown, will present “How Accessible Gardening Can Increase Gardener’s Capacity,” a workshop covering the basics for designing, creating and adapting gardens to match an individual’s abilities, such as building garden beds that are waist-high for people who have trouble bending or walking, and building hard-surface walkways for people with poor balance. She also will discuss how to adapt tools and chores to coincide with gardeners’ abilities.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Sue Cosgrove with the West Virginia Herb Association will offer tips on how to grow and use herbs. Cosgrove has been an organic enthusiast for more than 40 years and adheres to the philosophy of using food as preventative medicine.

Beginning at noon, visitors can learn how to use herbs in the kitchen to add flavor and pizzazz to various dishes.

The final session at 1:30 p.m., is a special workshop titled “Edible Landscaping: Food Among the Flowers.” Keynote speaker John Porter, who is the West Virginia University extension agent for Kanawha County, will explain how fruits and vegetables can become a beautiful and delicious part of your home landscape. Porter also will talk about some fun and interesting plants you might be surprised to learn will grow in West Virginia.

Vendors for the Garden Festival include Accents by John; Acorn Ridge Woodworks; Barbara Delligatti Watercolor Paintings; Bill Wood Scenic Photography; By the River Creations; Charleston Rose Society; Creative Photography Design and Consulting; Forren Soil; Garden Treasures; Green Heron Gardens; Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints; Hardscrabble Enterprises; Manna Meal Community Garden; North Hills Nursery; Kanawha County Master Gardeners and West Virginia University Extension Service; Ordinary Evelyn’s; Price Beane’s Farm; Primitive Wood Wares; Still Meadows Farm and Greenhouse; Sue Cosgrove; Teresa Eskins; The Candy Factory; The Potting Shed; West Virginia Herb Association/Smoke Camp Crafts; Windbeam Way Nursery; and Zendik Arts–Eco Bead Jewelry.
The Woman’s Club of Cross Lanes also will offer light food and refreshments.

For more information about the Garden Festival, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner for the Division, at [email protected] or (304) 558-0220.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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