UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Centre County will hold their annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 19.
The event will take place at the Ag Progress Days grounds at Rock Springs, 2710 W. Pine Grove Road, Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa., 9 miles southwest of State College on state Route 45. Visitors should use Gate J.
The Garden Fair will feature more than 20 vendor booths, gardening and bird talks, exhibits and demonstrations. Commercial vendors selected from throughout Pennsylvania will offer unique products for lawn and garden.
Products on display will range from solar-powered home greenhouses to environmentally friendly lawn furniture and birdhouses. Visitors will find garden ornaments, stepping stones, pottery, botanical soaps, dish gardens, organic heirloom plants, gardening apparel and garden tools designed for women.
One of the event's commercial sponsors, Wheatfield Nursery, will donate 10 percent of Garden Fair tree and shrub sales to the Master Gardener program. The Penn State Press will offer a selection of books and will host a book signing by Pennsylvania mushroom expert Bill Russell from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Other booths will be staffed by local noncommercial groups and Garden Fair sponsors, such as Geisinger Health System with free blood-pressure screenings and nutrition and skin-care information, the Centre Daily Times, the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, the Osher Lifetime Learning Institute at Penn State, the Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania, Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research and the Master Gardeners of Centre County.
Exhibits and demonstrations will include an active honeybee colony and pollinator plants. Margie Samero, a vendor from Chester County, will give demonstrations on how to make a hypertufa pot using her do-it-yourself kit at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The Pasto Agricultural Museum will be open during the event, featuring a special gardening history exhibit and free tours. Visitors to the museum can see rare and unusual farm, garden and household artifacts and learn about farm and rural life before the advent of electricity and gas-powered equipment.
Gardening talks will be presented on the hour from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. by a variety of experts, covering new herbaceous annuals and perennials, selecting less-common landscape trees and shrubs, insects in the garden (visitors are invited to bring insects for identification), and bluebirds.
A composting workshop will be offered at 2 p.m. This is the only program that requires registration and a fee. Details are available online at http://extension.psu.edu/centre/programs/master-gardener/master-gardener-plant-sale.
A flower-pot swap will be held again this year. Attendees can bring used plastic flower pots for recycling and can take home any pots they need. All sizes of plastic pots are acceptable.
The plant sale will be held in the Special Events Building, with thousands of potted plants available for purchase while they last, including perennials, annuals, herbs, houseplants and vegetables (with many varieties of tomatoes and peppers). Notable and unique plants, pollinator and native plants, trees and shrubs also will be sold.
Master Gardeners will circulate among the crowd to answer gardening questions and help make plant selections. Also in the Special Events Building will be a "garden garage sale," a silent auction and an area for the sale of gardening gloves, soil-test kits, Penn State mushrooms and field guides. Payment must be by cash or check.
Parking and admission are free, and the event will be held rain or shine. Breakfast and lunch food items will be available from the Ferguson Township Lion's Club.
Corporate sponsors for the Garden Fair are the Centre Daily Times and Wheatfield Nursery (Platinum sponsors), Geisinger Health System and Wegmans (Silver sponsors), and Accuweather, Attorney at Law Andrew Shubin, Landscape II, and SPE Federal Credit Union (Bronze sponsors).
All proceeds directly support programs provided by the Master Gardeners. Trained and administered by Penn State Extension, Master Gardeners are volunteers whose mission is to provide research-based educational programs in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship. More information about the Master Gardener program in Centre County and the Garden Fair and Plant Sale is available at http://extension.psu.edu/centre/programs/master-gardener online.