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Garden Expo continues today

March 5, 2011

By Gwen Sisson

The Garden Mama Nellie Neal will be part of today’s educational line up at the 2011 Everything Garden Expo.
Neal will be one of four educational seminars available at today’s event.
She will share smart ideas and techniques to make the most of any vegetable garden. Neal’s seminar will begin at 2:45 p.m. today as the Everything Garden Expo continues.
With Saturday’s wet weather, gardeners attending the Everything Garden Expo had a chance to learn more about landscaping, growing better vegetables cooking with herbs, among many others garden-related topics.
They also had the opportunity to shop with numerous vendors on site with plants and yard art to provide a wealth of inspiration.
Emily Jones, director of the Everything Garden Expo, said the full day of educational seminars were a big draw to Saturday’s event.
“We have had a pretty good crowd, especially early in the day,” Jones said. “The seminars have been well attended and I have faith that tomorrow (Sunday) will be even better.”
The fun continues today at noon at the Mississippi Horse Park. Admission is $5 per person and children six and under get in free.
The event is a joint project of the Starkville Area Arts Council and Mississippi State University, with assistance of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, MSU Extension Service, Mississippi Horse Park and the Mississippi Arts Commission.
Today’s line-up includes:
• From noon until 1 p.m. Will Reed will present “How to Succeed as an Organic Gardener.” Reed became interested in preventable health problems while still a college student studying cultural anthropology. He moved from his native Tupelo to Northern California where he apprenticed at several organic farms. In 2010 he returned to North Mississippi to establish Native Son Farm on 30-acres adjacent to his childhood home. Native Son Farm is part of the “certified naturally grown” program which provides produce to farmer’s markets, home delivery, and restaurants in North Mississippi.
• At 1:15 to 2:30 p.m., John Guyton will present “Gardening for the Entire Family.”
Guyton believes that the garden is too important just to grow vegetables in; he believes parents can raise children in the garden as well.
Jones said “things your teacher did not tell you and your mother did not want you to know often show up in his presentations and he even encourages you to play with your food!” He said life’s most important lessons can be learned in the garden: cooperation, weather forecasting, biology and all about the birds and bees, math, nutrition, how to recover from failure, music, art, etc.
Guyton helped design the award winning Mississippi Master Gardeners program and has been recognized by the American Horticulture Society with their Great American Gardener Teaching Award.
He is an Extension faculty member in the MSU Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture department and the director of intergenerational insect and plant ecology and wildlife fisheries and aquaculture summer camps.
• At 1:45 p.m. the children’s program, “See it Grow,” will show children how seeds develop into plants. The event is a repeat of Saturday’s program.
The program is part of Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics, designed to give children the chance to learn how to build something out of wood.
Organizers said children get to take their newly-built project home. Lowe’s provides the kits, hammer, and protective goggles for the child to wear, and store employees will guide the kids through each set of the project. 
Parents are encouraged to assist their children as well. Parents are required to stay with their children to help.  Children 5 and under also build a project with mom and dad’s help too.
• Then at 2:45 p.m., “The Garden Mama” will take the stage.
The popular radio talk show host will discuss smart ideas and techniques gardeners can use right now to make the most of any vegetable garden.
A lifelong gardener, Neal writes a weekly newspaper garden column, maintains a colorful and informative website for gardeners, and can answer just about any garden question thrown her way.
She is the author of “Questions and Answers for Deep South Gardeners” and “Organic Gardening Down South.”
Jones said in the third year of the Expo, Neal has become a breath of fresh air at this annual garden event.

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