Garden Fest

Master gardeners share ‘sustainable horticulture and environmental stewardship’

The group is hosting Garden Fest 2019 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday at the demonstration gardens and Lysock View Complex Building, 542 County Farm Road, Montoursville.

Featured are workshops, tours, vendors, refreshments, prizes and more, event organizers noted, promising something for all ages.

Jean Hammond, master gardener coordinator at Penn State Extension, explained master gardeners have successfully completed coursework and volunteer service to be certified a “master gardener” through the extension. The goal of the program is “to educate the public on best practices in sustainable horticulture and environmental stewardship,” according to the extension’s website.

Workshops for all

An informational and interactive session kicks off with Carl Bower, Pennsylvania College of Technology assistant professor of horticulture, addressing Imaginative Ways to Improve your Home’s Curb Appeal: New Ways to Make House and Landscape Pop! at 9 a.m.

Bird watchers can enjoy a bird walk on the Conservation Learning Trail with the Lycoming Audubon Society or hear Erik Guthrie, of Erik’s Edibles, discuss Basic Canning: Focusing on Safety and Maintaining Taste at 10 a.m.

Dr. Karen Poh and graduate student Hannah Greenburg, both of the Penn State Entomology Department, will speak to The Dirt on Ticks and Mosquitoes, to explain Protection from These Disease-Carrying Pests! at 11 a.m.

Sue Morris, of Sue’s Salves, offers a class for DIY skin care — Plant Based Healing for the Skin: Ditch the Chemicals in your Skin Care Products with Plants, at noon.


Morris grows all the herb and plant-based ingredients in her products for Sue’s Salves in her Mill Hall garden at her home. Noting that the skin is the largest organ in the human body, the herbalist emphasized that “what we put on our skin is just as important as what we put into our bodies.”

Morris has been making her products since 2002 and said her business combines her love of both gardening and health care. With formal training as a nutritionist and a background in chemistry, she said she understands the toxicity that exists in skin products from the cheapest to the most expensive and is pleased to offer healing remedies from her garden.

Morris focuses on growing herbs that are effective and natural, like comfrey, one of her most powerful ingredients, that she noted can heal skin and even bone. Lavender, aloe vera, aroma therapy and essential oils all have a place in her products.

“I’m passionate about herbalism,” Morris said, noting that she grows her plants for both their practical benefits and their beauty.

Yoga, meditation, gardening

For an interactive experience, Nina Riggle will explain and share her experience with the connection between yoga and gardening.

Self-employed as a meditation guide who also practices sustainability and mindfulness, Riggle said her love of gardening came first, when she worked alongside her grandmother in her home state of Illinois. Along the way, Riggle noticed a link between meditation and gardening.

“I found that while I was gardening, I was more mindful. I was paying attention to the plants, the textures of the leaves, the smells that would come to me, the birds, the bees, the animals. I was just noticing more, and the more I noticed, the more I was in the moment,” Riggle said. “The goal of meditation is to learn to be in the moment instead of always forward thinking or living in the past and reliving events.”

While in her garden Riggle discovered that as her mind works through the day’s mishaps, she finds pulling weeds helps get them out of her head. “As you’re pulling the literal weeds, you’re pulling the figurative weeds, too,” she said.

Her goal is “for everyone to have these few moments of quiet daily, though any amount of quiet time is good.”

Riggle’s favorite things to grow are herbs and flowering plants “because they’re beautiful” and require only low maintenance. She grows lots of tomatoes and peppers that her husband likes. Noting her home is in the city of Williamsport, Riggle is enjoying the experience of cultivating an urban garden.

The couple’s 4-year-old daughter has shown an interest in gardening and enjoys planting her own seeds. Sometimes, her mother said, the little girl helps herself to a piece of broccoli fresh off the stalk.

At the Garden Fest, Riggle plans to make her activities accessible to all ages. She will focus on chair yoga, but will also provide mats and blankets for her mini yoga and mini meditation sessions.

“The gardening will weave its way into the conversation as we’re talking,” the instructor promised.

Garden Fest

Throughout the morning at the Garden Fest, visitors can browse and buy a variety of annual and perennial plants as well as garden-themed arts and crafts. Demonstration gardens include perennial, native, annual, vegetable, pollinator and herb gardens as well as the sensory garden.

Ask the Expert will provide opportunities to get specific advice and visitors can even bring plants with them to show an expert who may be able to help with a horticultural issue, Hammond said. Garden Fest is free and open to the public.

For more information about the event, call 570-433-3040 or email lycomingext@psu.ed.


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