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Right Plant, Right Place

Pender County 2013 Spring Plant Sale
Thursday-Saturday, April 11th through 13th
Pender County Extension Service
801 S. Walker St., Burgaw
(910) 259-1235

Master Gardeners, led by their fearless and most helpful leader Charlotte Glen, horticultural agent for the Pender County Extension Service, are looking forward to teaching their neighbors more about growing the right plant in the right place.

Many of the 75-strong Master Gardeners will be on-hand for the Pender County 2013 Spring Plant Sale this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 11th through 13th, at the extension service location at 801 S. Walker Street in Burgaw, NC.

On Friday, April 12th, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., there will be five different demonstrations adjacent to the “Ask a Master Gardener” tent. In “Plants Gone Wild,” Meredith Smith will show that plants are resilient, and given a little imagination, will grow in the most wild and wacky places, like dad’s old leather work boot. Sandra Brown will demonstrate how you can “Buy a plant today…Propagate it tomorrow.” She will present new plants that she started from old ones in her backyard. Nancy Parra-Ash will introduce Scarlet Princess, a dwarf variety cutleaf and the newest addition to Ash’s Japanese Maple Nursery. She will have other Japanese maple cultivars available and will provide tips to keeping them lovely in one’s landscape.

Janet Autry, a container garden expert will showcase “thrillers, fillers and spillers” that look great in decorative pots, during her class, “Happy Plants Coming Together in Style.” The ever-innovative Debby Shackelford, president of the Pender County Master Gardeners Volunteer Association will show off her string container gardens, a type of bonsai that covers the plant’s root ball with moss and holds it together with string. Most of the showcased plants will be for sale, plus blueberry bushes, vegetables, perennials, annuals, herbs, trees and more.

Cheryll Shuford, chair of the plant sale, is delighted that more than 20 master gardeners have signed up to help with this well-planned event. Steve Bundy is in charge of set-up, including a tent that features plants grown exclusively by master gardeners. Six prototype gardens designed to address common garden challenges—salt spray, deer, shade, pollinators, clay and sand—feature many of the plants available for purchase at the sale. Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and make suggestions.

“For me, it’s also a social club,” Smith says. “I mean you learn so much about plants, but I have never met so many genuinely nice people. I look forward to each one of our meetings. It’s like a congregation of friends.”

Six years as a Pender County Extension agent, Glen is a big proponent of keeping a happy atmosphere. She encourages the Master Gardeners to try new things as long as they’re research-based. Studying in Scotland and New Zealand (married to New Zealander Alistair Glen of Growing Wild Nursery), and now as a PhD candidate at NC State, she’s open to organic and conventional gardening methods as well.

“Being an organic gardener,” she says, “means being a really good gardener, and using all of the cultural practices.”

These practices are cited in two publications that may be purchased at the plant sale. One is the annual cookbook sprinkled with many gardening tips throughout. The other is the new “Zone 8, Garden by the Month” calendar. For April, the calendar says that vegetables need at least six hours of sun per day, grow best when soil pH is between 6.2 and 6.5, and benefit from compost which supplies nutrients and help soils hold water. There are several helpful charts in the back of this booklet on natural pesticides, beneficial insects, and pruning, and two large maps which show plant heat zones and plant hardiness.

On Saturday, April 13th at 10 a.m., Glen will present a free class on home composting. She has prepared handouts on commonly asked questions regarding crops, grasses and diseases.

These handouts may also be found at the Hampstead Library (75 Library Drive, Hampstead, NC) where a demonstration garden is set up to show the different plants that grow in the Hampstead area. The third Monday of each month, Master Gardeners answer questions at the library from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., April through October.

Once a month, Master Gardeners teach children a science lesson in three Pender County elementary schools. They help kids plant Irish potatoes, sing songs, and make crafts that are plant based.

“The children get really excited,” Glen tells, “when they see the ‘garden ladies’ coming.”

The second Wednesday of each month, these generous and industrious women and men answer questions at the Poplar Grove Farmers’ Market.

Come out this weekend and meet these helpful master gardeners at the Pender County Extension Service. They will also be on hand for the Burgaw Spring Fest, May 4th, and the Blueberry Festival, June 15th in historic downtown Burgaw. For more information, call (910) 259-1235.

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