Garden Fest adds more vendors, herding demonstrations

Attendees browse plants for sale at Belle Grove Plantation's Garden Fest in 2010. This year's festival will be held on Saturday. Courtesy photo by Belle Grove Plantation.

Green-thumbed guests at Belle Grove Plantation on Saturday will be browsing a variety of plants at the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association’s 13th annual Garden Fest event.

Belle Grove Executive Director Kristen Laise said visitors can also get a taste for what the 2017 National Sheepdog Finals will be like at the manor with herding demonstrations scheduled in the morning and afternoon. She also said the roster of vendors for this weekend is notably larger than in previous years.

This year’s speakers will present a new array of topics inside the plantation’s red barn instead of under a tent. Presentations will include information on composting, agricultural history in the area and raised beds.

Guests can opt to participate in workshops to construct bird baths, birdhouses and stepping stones at Garden Fest for various materials fees. Kids can participate in Children’s Trail activities in the morning and enjoy face painting and an animal petting area. Visitors can take discounted tours of the manor house for $5, with children 11 years old and younger admitted free.

Cynthia Haley, Garden Fest chair from the association, said the wet and cool spring this year means that vendors will have a full stock of plants to offer prospective buyers. She said master gardeners will bring plenty of native plants and plants that do well in the shade.

“We’re going to have probably more plants than we’ve ever had before, as far as the master gardener plants,” she said. “For those that are behind, we’re going to have perennials, annuals, vegetables and herbs, too.”

Master gardeners will also be available at the event to talk plant care and answer questions.

Just next door, Laise said attendees can stop by the Cedar Creek Battlefield to check out the Revolutionary War re-enactment event that will be occurring at the same time as Garden Fest.

“It’s just going on in the neighborhood and there’s even more to see for people that want to come,” she said.

IF YOU GO: Garden Fest will occur from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Belle Grove Plantation, 336 Belle Grove Road in Middletown. Admission and parking are free. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/grs262z or on the event flyer at http://tinyurl.com/h5ak339.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com