Gardening programs coming up locally

For those whose thumbs aren’t so green and others who might have some green to spare, there are two events coming up that may help with both.

The Master Gardener program of the Ohio State University Extension Office is holding its annual Garden Party program at Washington State Community College on March 21 and the topics will include caring for African violets, attracting birds to your backyard, floral arranging and honeybees.

“We will be focusing on what flowers, veggies and fruit trees people can plant to give food to honeybees,” said Mona Barrett, a Master Gardener volunteer. “There is a big problem with colony collapse right now and having a decline in bees is not good. Everything that bees pollinate we humans use for food.”

Joan Fontaine of Belpre is also a volunteer and will be co-presenting the honeybee program with Barrett.

“We are very excited to be able to talk to people about the problems honeybees are facing, including pollutants and pathogens,” Fontaine said. “Albert Einstein predicted that it would take four years without honeybees before we would see the end of plants and of people.”

Each mini-session will run 30 minutes and will include a 10-minute break in between. The event will kick off with a featured presentation on growing vegetables in an ornamental garden by Barbara Arnold with the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus.

“The conservatory is nationally known so we really have a top speaker coming to present,” said Barrett.

Reservations to the Garden Party are recommended and should be made as soon as possible by contacting the extension office at 376-7431.

The second series of garden-themed events will allow those interested in helping others garden to get top-notch training.

Fontaine was a graduate of the 2011 Master Gardener Volunteer program and her husband plans to take the training this year.

“It is time-intensive and there are a certain number of hours you have to take but you are taught by very knowledgeable people and the topics are so interesting, the time just flies by,” she said.

The Master Gardener volunteers work throughout the city of Marietta and Washington County in churches, schools, with community gardens, senior centers and senior communities and farmers markets.

“As a volunteer, you get to choose what activities you want to do,” said Fontaine.

Applicants must attend all training sessions and complete 50 volunteer hours within the first year. Applications are available by calling the office or visiting The course costs $90 and will be held March 21, 28 and 30 and April 4, 11, 15 and 25.