Bloomin’ in the Bay, Arkansas Online Article

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Photo by William Harvey. Verna Hicks, from left, Barbara Foster and Cynthia Lacken, members of the Van Buren County Master Gardeners, hold a basket that will be for sale during the group’s annual plant sale during Bloomin’ in the Bay on Saturday at Leamon Park in Fairfield Bay.

Arkansas Online, 3 Rivers Edition
Contributing Writer Carol Rolf
Published May 3, 2015

Ed Leamon Park will come to life Saturday as the community celebrates its annual springtime festival — Bloomin’ in the Bay.

The event will feature the Van Buren County Master Gardeners’ 12th annual plant sale, music, arts, crafts, kids’ events and food.

The festival is free and open to the public.

“It’s a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day,” Fairfield Bay Mayor Paul Wellenberger said. “You can find a great gift without going to the mall.

“The festival is great for the whole family. There will be lots of activities for everyone. We had about 600 people here last year.”

Wellenberger said the Van Buren County Master Gardeners “are just fantastic for Fairfield Bay.”

“God has given us this beautiful place to live in, and it’s kept pristine and beautiful because the Master Gardeners take care of it. They just want their community to look great. They are very important
to our community.”

Verna Hicks, president of the Van Buren County Master Gardeners, said Bloomin’ in the Bay is “a celebration of spring.”

“Join us as we celebrate our 12th annual plant and garden sale and all the Bloomin’ activities, speakers and artisans. Fairfield Bay is alive with the color of spring.”

The plant sale will held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Arts, crafts and a food fair will also be featured at the event in the park. A variety of artists will be highlighted in an art show that will be on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Fairfield Bay Conference and Visitor Center.

Local Southern gospel group The Sounds of Promise will perform at 10 a.m. in the park. Members include Doyle Scroggins, Cindy Wellenberger and Bob and Wilba Thompson.

The husband-and-wife duo Still on the Hill will perform at 12:15 p.m. in the park. Still on the Hill, featuring Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna of Fayetteville, will be in concert at 7 p.m. at the conference and visitor center. That concert will feature music from the band’s new CD, Once the River.

Additional activities in the park will include face painting and pet-rock painting from 10 to noon, and a guided nature tour at 11.

The Van Buren County Master Gardeners plant sale will feature “a selection of perennials, everything from shade to full sun, showy flowers and subtle greenery to grace everyone’s garden,” said Cynthia Lacken, publicity chairwoman. “In addition, there will be annuals for sale — zinnias, impatiens, vinca, coleus, Persian shield, million bells, sweet-potato vines, geraniums and marigolds, to name a few. We will also have herbs.

“We will have hanging baskets and planters made up that will be perfect for Mother’s Day, not to mention our fairy-garden planters for sale. We will have something for everyone.”

The fairy-garden planters Lacken mentioned are said to be one of the hottest trends in gardening.

“Last year, a group of us attended the annual flower and garden show in Little Rock and were introduced to fairy gardens,” Lacken said. “We all caught the bug.

“We created a large fairy garden for our sale last year, and the public went crazy for it. Little children loved it; 95-year-olds loved it. The Master Gardeners went crazy for it.

“This year, we are making fairy gardens throughout the park. You will see the different vignettes featuring fairy houses, complete with furniture, and a variety of fairies throughout. They will be connected by a trail of glass pebbles.”

The Master Gardeners have also created fairy-garden planters that will be for sale.

“We will also be doing demonstrations on how to make fairy-garden planters and how to incorporate fairy gardens into your own landscape,” Lacken said.

Hicks said the plant sale will feature more than 35 vendors selling garden-related items, including one vendor who specializes in items for fairy gardens.

Guest speakers will present Tips and Tricks for the Garden. Master Gardener Bob Berdine of Fairfield Bay will speak on Drip Irrigation for the Garden at 9:30; Robert Hunter of Little Rock, recycling director, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, will present Starting

Backyard Composting;

and Sherrie Smith of Fayetteville, instructor and plant-health clinic diagnostician, University of Arkansas, Cooperative Extension Service, will speak on Taking Care of Roses.

Hicks said the cost of the plants will be “very reasonable.”

Master Gardener Barbara Foster said proceeds from the plant sale are used for the group’s projects, as well as for scholarships.

“It costs a lot to maintain this park and other projects we support here and in Clinton,” Foster said. “The work is all volunteer. We worked close to 5,000 hours last year.

“We contribute to the Janet B. Carson Scholarship fund.” Carson, of Little Rock, is the horticulture specialist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

“We used to try to give a local scholarship but found we often did not have qualified candidates,” Foster said. “We try to support students who are going into horticulture or a related field.”

Foster described an advantage of buying plants at the upcoming Master Gardeners’ plant sale: “We know what does best in our area.

“That’s what we dig up from our own gardens. Our plant sale gives the local gardeners an opportunity to find something new, something that will work well in their gardens.”

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