New Albany’s first garden show has plenty of tips for locals, visitors

Approximately 300 people showed up Saturday at the first New Albany Home and Garden Show at the Union County Fairgrounds.

Visitors could listen to a variety of speakers, buy seeds, pots, bottle trees, yard art, jewelry, food, and many other items for improving their home and garden.

Sessions included “The Doctor Is In,” vegetable gardening, pruning the landscape, maintaining beautiful lawns, and food preservation.

In addition, the show featured three speakers prominent in the field of gardening or horticulture.

Felder Rushing, gardening expert and Mississippi author of many gardening books, spoke about slow gardening and how to enjoy your yard and garden 11 months out of the year. Rushing does a radio program called “The Gestalt Gardener” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting every weekend.

Dr. Lelia Kelly, Mississippi State University (MSU) extension horticulturist, associate extension professor in horticulture, and the state-wide coordinator for Mississippi Master Gardeners, gave a discussion on herb gardening.

Tennessee Master Gardener Carl Wayne Hardeman spoke on sustainable gardening practices and discussed easy ways to garden with very little fertilizer, no equipment, no tilling, and how to raise food organically without using any equipment.

In addition, Dr. Crofton Sloan, MSU horticulturist and researcher, answered questions about gardening with his segment, “The Doctor Is In.”

Rushing spoke to a packed house in the Ladies Building at the 10:30 presentation. He started off the program saying, “Gardening is about spirit and what pleases you.”

Rushing showed photos of various plants and flowers that grow native in this region in Mississippi and told the audience, “Despite what the horticulturists and people at the Extension Office say, you don’t have to get your soil tested.”

He talked about his great-grandmother’s garden and how he remembered her growing starflowers and phlox and how she never had specific gardening or horticulture rules that she followed and her garden always looked beautiful.

The audience learned that if a persimmon seed is cut in half, depending on the shape on the inside of the seed, determines what kind if weather is coming. This was a natural barometer that gardeners would sometimes use to determine planting time.

“Gardeners have a right to wind chimes. Gardeners have a right to rubber trees and bottle trees in their yard. Gardeners have a right to put plastic flamingos in their yard,” said Rushing.

The Union County Master Gardeners Association was in charge of this event and the volunteers were from the MSU Extension Office.