Annual Garden Party ushers in spring

To help foster a desire for spring, the Master Gardener Volunteers at the Ohio State University extension office will be throwing its 31st Garden Party next Thursday, officially themed “Promises of Spring.”

The event, typically held in spring and fall through Washington County’s OSU Extension, is an educational program designed to teach the community about current and popular gardening topics while serving as a good buffer between the long winter and the first blossoms of spring.

Held at the Washington County Career Center, the event will feature a speaker from the Ohio River Islands National Refuge and several breakout sessions with local master gardeners and experts about everything from garden photography to wild flowers.

“We all have gardens and we love gardening, but we want to be able to get information for other people,” said Juanita Baker, a Warren Township resident and master gardener. “This is another way of providing education to the community.”

Patrons will be provided refreshments throughout the evening while listening to Patty Morrison from the ORINR, who will be presenting a program on conserving the “wild” nature of the Ohio River.

“This will be a wide variety of topics that will be of interest to gardeners this spring season, especially after the bad winter,” Baker said. “We have a lot of people anxious to get out because of it.”

After the keynote presentation, patrons will attend three out of five of the breakout sessions offered at the garden party, all taught by experts of their respective sessions topics. Sessions include Wild Flowers and Native Plants; What is a Pesticide?; Marietta in Bloom; Building Your Own Mini Greenhouses and Garden Photography.

“We try to find topics from the general public that are current and of interest,” said Levi Morrow, the OSU Extension program coordinator.

Morrow, along with coordinating the event, is also teaching a breakout session called, “What is a Pesticide?”

“In that, we’re going to walk through learning about pesticides, fungicides and insecticides and their role in gardening and how to use them properly,” he said.

Registration for the garden party is currently open, and all ages are welcome.

“We hope to teach topics that they can take home and use in their own gardens, whether that be vegetable or flower gardens,” Morrow said.

Wayne Fontaine is a master gardener volunteer who serves the Little Hocking and surrounding community by providing fresh vegetables to those in need while also educating the community about how to grow its own. He will be giving a presentation on how to build your own mini greenhouse.

“You have control of the space so you can give your flowers and vegetables exactly what they need,” Fontaine said. “And people just like to look at flowering plants. You can make a very beautiful space, and you can sit in it in the middle of winter and be warm and be surrounded by beautiful plants.”

The presentation, Fontaine said, will be to teach patrons to make small, personal greenhouses for at-home use.

“There are several designs that people can construct quite easily, and I’ll be giving out information on how you can do that,” he said.

The master gardeners receive specialized training on various gardening subjects as well as training on how to research and educate the public, and the two garden parties thrown per year are just a few of the events the OSU Extension coordinates.

“Our key focus is to educate the public on using non-biased, researched-based information on horticulture topics,” Morrow said. “Hopefully they can come away and learn something.”

Registration for the event is $15 and can be completed by calling the OSU Extension office or by visiting its website.

Baker noted that even though patrons will only attend three of the five sessions, information packets will be available from each one for everyone who registered.

The extension office will also be holding a landscape pruning seminar on April 4 and toward the end of April and into May, a bus trip to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Baker Acres in Columbus will be offered.