The master gardeners organize the autumn festival | Nvdaily


The Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association hosted its FallFest 2021 at Richard’s Fruit Market in Frederick County. Volunteers from the association and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office organized the event to educate people about fall gardening. Volunteers organized demonstrations, gave lectures and organized hands-on activities. The event also featured performances by local musicians, many of whom live in Westminster Canterbury.

The association previously hosted the event at Belle Grove Historic Plantation, Jennifer Flitton Adams, a volunteer master gardener, said on Saturday. A hurricane and the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted previous efforts to organize the festival. Another event was planned in Belle Grove for the weekend.

“So we decided to have him at Richard’s and they were extremely generous and helpful to us,” said Flitton Adams. “They have their own festivals, so they had a really good setup for us.”

FallFest serves as an educational event.

“We’re just looking to educate people about fall gardening and what can be planted this time of year, like bulbs for example, and fall cleanup,” said Flitton Adams. “We hope to educate the public and make them more aware of the master gardeners and know that we are here as a resource.

“We are here as a resource for anyone in the community who has questions or would like to learn more about horticulture,” said Flitton Adams.

Elaine Specht, president of the association, roasted marshmallows on sticks over a fire and made s’mores for young and old.

“It’s just a good time to take people out in the fall,” Specht said. “People always think of gardening in the spring, but there are some things you want to let go in the fall – put your garden to bed or there are certain veggies you can grow in the fall – so let us know. let’s talk.”

A group of festival-goers gathered at Helen Lake’s demonstration of how to make art with pressed flowers. Lake works as a volunteer master gardener and horticultural therapist. Lake said she developed the business while working in Westminster Canterbury.

“(The activity) helps people with dementia be pressured into making decisions, you know, boosts their cognitive memory of color, texture, smell sometimes, to be creative and that’s been really helpful,” Lake said.

She also used the activity for autistic children.

“So it’s a therapeutic activity but it’s also fun,” Lake said.

Gillian Peterson and her daughter Ullie, from Winchester, created a piece with pressed flowers and doilies during the demonstration. Peterson said she enjoyed attending the fall event and the size meant less walking. Peterson said she has worked with many volunteer master gardeners. She now teaches art at Evendale Elementary School in Frederick County.

Peterson collected flower bulbs from one of the tents the gardeners handed out for free. Peterson said she was planting flowers in her garden at her new home in Winchester. She learned from a gardener how to plant certain bulbs to prevent squirrels from digging them up.

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