Plants, instruction, speakers at Herb & Flower Festival

WHITESTOWN — The 16th Annual Herb & Flower Festival June 23 is a day "of fun learning of gardening trends; including a theme of ‘Sustainable Landscaping’" with free classes that show gardeners ways to achieve garden ‘living rooms,’ and other classes providing up-to-date knowledge towards garden beauty and on other topics.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County volunteer Master Gardeners host the event from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23 at the Parker F. Scripture Botanical Gardens, 121 Second St. (See adjacent directions.)

Visitors heading south on Second Street from County Highway 840 (Judd Road) will pass the extension offices and park for free in the Metropolitan Life parking lots. Then free shuttle buses will bring them back to the festival.

Admission is $3 to support maintenance of the gardens.

There they will find about 50 vendors with many selling garden plants and others offering art, pottery, information on bluebirds and honey bees — along with extension’s hive in the corner of one of the classrooms.

The noon Keynote lecture is "Sustainable Landscaping: Principles and Practices for the Homeowner" which promotes better garden planning to enhance a site for better utility and lasting gardens. Speaker Terry Hawkridge is the director of the Arboretum, Assistant Director of the Physical Plant and Grounds at Hamilton College, Clinton. He comes with "a background well founded in practical landscape management and unusual landscape needs," extension officials said.

Other classes to choose from (two at each of the times) include:

10 a.m. "Lovely Lavender" and "Pet safe gardening"

11 a.m. "Showing Off Your Garden Beauties" and "All-American Selections in the Up-to-date Gardens."

1:30 p.m. "Herbs: In Food, Beauty, Habitat and Health" and "Take a Hike, See What’s Out There!"

Organizers said, "The Festival is famous for great variety of plants and garden items available in one location with vendors from as far away as Ithaca and Syracuse, as well as local area."

Festival visitors who buy items don’t have to haul them around — they can hail a "plant taxi" to take their purchases to a holding area while they continue their rounds and until they get their vehicle from the parking lot and stop back to pick up their purchases.

Master Gardeners use the ‘teaching gardens" of annuals and perennials to instruct about types of gardening and composting.

The Master Gardener booth offers the opportunity to get answers to gardening questions.

The onsite Butterfly House, Bee hives and Nature Trails augment learning about butterflies, insects, other plants, trees and animals in the environment.

There are Herbal Pastries for sale and the famous "Lavender Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches." There are several food vendors offering a variety of items. A pavilion provides a shaded lunch site.

This Festival is a continuing part of the educational outreach to the public by Cornell Cooperative Extension throughout the year. For more information, contact the Extension Office at 736-3394.

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