Green thumbs will be plentiful on Saturday, April 30, when the West Virginia Division of Culture and History presents the Garden Festival from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. This year marks the Division’s 14th day-long celebration of the growing season with workshops, exhibitors and vendors. All activities, located on the plaza deck and in the Great Hall of the Culture Center, are free and the public is invited to attend.

Gardeners, agricultural experts, herbalists, organic gardeners, landscape designers, lawn and garden suppliers, and others will be on hand to answer questions and sell their wares, including wheat weavings, stoneware pottery, bath and body products, soaps, candles, herbs, plants, metal garden art, bird and squirrel feeders, bird feed mix, succulents, preserves, jellies, butters and dry mixes, lavender, cookbooks, photographs, garden signs and t-shirts. Light breakfast and lunch choices also will be available for purchase throughout the day by the Woman’s Club of South Charleston.

There will be four, one-hour workshops presented throughout the day, including “Growing Roses Successfully” with Archie and Linda Snedegar of Poca at 9 a.m. These master rosarians have won national awards including Queen, the highest award in a rose show. They will explain how to plant roses, suggest good fertilizers, pruning techniques, soil preparation and how to treat disease.

At 10:30 a.m., participants can hear John Marra of Culloden, the home and garden reporter for WSAZ NewsChannel 3 and former West Virginia University County Extension Agent for 36 years. This workshop, “Vegetable Gardening,” will provide the basic techniques for when to plant and harvest vegetables, how to prepare the soil, growing from transplants, fertilizer use, and weed, insect and disease control.

The workshop at noon will be led by Mary Beth Lind of Philippi, a registered dietitian and nutritional consultant. With her husband, Lind grows and harvests enough fruit and vegetables for their year-round needs. She is active in community garden and preserving endeavors and will share her expertise with workshop participants.

The final session at 1:30 p.m., is a special workshop, “Award Winning Plants for Zone 6 (West Virginia)” with keynote speaker Darrell Trout of Forest Hills, N.Y. Trout is the former gardening program coordinator in the education department at the New York Botanical Garden. He will take a look at plants of special merit in West Virginia including perennials, shrubs and trees, all with multi-season interest. The plants were selected by a panel of experts, professional landscape designers, nurserymen, garden writers and extension agents. Trout has written Country Garden Planner, Kitchen Garden Planner, Surviving with Heart, First Garden: How To Get Started in North East Gardening and was awarded a Quill and Trowel Award by the Garden Writers of America. He is a judge for America in Bloom, a national beautification program; teacher of college courses in business and gardening at the New York Botanical Garden; and frequent guest on radio and television programs including Martha Stewart Living.

Vendors for the Garden Festival include Bill Wood Scenic Photography, By the River Creations, Charleston Rose Society, Garden Treasurers, Honey of an Herb Farm, Krackshot Photography, La Paix Herb Farm, Mary Beth Lind, Mary Jacobsen, Metal Garden Art by In the Pines, North Hills Nursery, Ordinary Evelyns, Primitive Woodwares, Still Meadows Farm and Greenhouse, Sue Cosgrove, Summer Kitchen Pottery, Teresa Eskins, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Herb Association/Smoke Camp Crafts, Windbeam Way Nursery, WSAZ NewsChannel 3 and Zendik Arts–Eco Bead Jewelry.

For more information about the Garden Festival, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (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 The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.