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Fall Gardeners’ Festival to return to UT’s Plateau AgResearch Center

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:58 PM

CROSSVILLE — The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the Cumberland County Master Gardeners will again play host to the Fall Gardeners’ Festival at the University of Tennessee’s Plateau AgResearch and Education Center. 

The festival will be held Aug. 26 in the Plateau Discovery Gardens, also known as the UT Gardens in Crossville. The site is on Highway 70N, west of Crossville.

Admission is free, and there is no fee to park at the site. Registration begins at 8 a.m. The program is scheduled to adjourn at 3 p.m.

Festival activities will include four educational themes of interest to regional gardeners, including: 

• rainwater and rain gardens and plants that are suited for the extremes of drought versus soggy.

• ornamentals, particularly azaleas and native plants as well as online resources for both.

• fruit and vegetable gardening, specifically basic organic gardening, berry production and vegetable pests.

• harvesting herbs, healthy gardening for gardeners as well as Garden2Tailgate. 

For the Garden2Tailgate presentation, Dean Towers, a member of the Cumberland County Master Gardeners, who holds the unofficial title “Chef of the Gardens,” will offer cooking classes focused on safety tips for healthy tailgating. Towers plans to demonstrate special recipes that feature seasonal fruits and vegetables and which will make everyone’s tailgating party the “talk of the game.”  For a small donation in support of the Gardens, visitors may sample Towers’ fares.

The other presentations will be made by UT experts and local gardening personalities. Nine of the sessions to be presented have been approved as continuing educational opportunities for pesticide recertification points. 

Visitors may also participate in wagon tours of the center’s operations and walking tours of the gardens.  In 2013 the UT Gardens, Crossville, became the third site in the UT Gardens’ statewide plant collection. Last year, the combined UT Gardens collections were designated by the Tennessee General Assembly as the state’s official botanical garden.

The Fall Gardeners’ Festival will also feature vendors selling their wares and educational exhibits with information for gardeners and those interested in landscaping and nursery products. 

The popular UT Extension Ask-the-Expert booth invites visitors to bring samples or photos of “needy” plant materials for analysis and recommended treatments. Also, Debbie Joines, manager of UT Extension’s Soil, Plant and Pest Center, will be on hand to provide free soil pH analyses. Those interested in this service should bring a sandwich bag full of the soil they wish to be tested. 

Snacks and lunch items will be available for purchase throughout the day. A map and complete directions are available online atplateau.tennessee.edu/location. For more information, call the center at 931-484-0034 or visit the Cumberland County Master Gardeners website at ccmga.org.

The Cumberland County Master Gardeners Association is a program of the county’s UT Extension office. The Plateau AgResearch and Education Center in Crossville is one of 10 outdoor laboratories located throughout the state as part of the UT AgResearch system. Both Extension and AgResearch are divisions of the UT Institute of Agriculture, which also provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

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