2018 GardenFest a blooming success

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association hosted its 15th annual GardenFest on June 2 with over 800 attendees and 2,500 plants.

Lynn Hoffmann, master gardener and event organizer, said the event was a huge success not only because they lucked out and it didn’t rain but because they saw diversity in shoppers not seen before, notably more young adults and children.

“The atmosphere of the day was fantastic,” Hoffmann said. “Everyone seemed really excited and energetic to be part of this year’s GardenFest. We had some really neat educational activities for kids along with face painting and a petting zoo.”

Hoffmann added: “I think every child that attend had their face painted and then some. When kids are happy, parents are happy!”

Hoffmann said at 7:30 a.m. before the gates opened at 8 a.m. there were 50 people waiting in line.

“Word is getting out,” she said. “This year we had a lot of unusual things because our gardeners are really getting into pollinators, monarch butterflies and different things that attract more native bugs and wildlife.”

The Master Gardeners Association raised over $8,000 to be put toward scholarships and other educational activities for the community. Over 90 percent of the plants were sold. 

“This is the largest amount we’ve ever raised,” Hoffmann said. “We’ll be able to do a lot for our community with these funds.”

Introduced ats this year’s festival was the certification for local habitat gardens. Hoffmann said attendees seemed encouraged and energetic about getting their checklist and seeing what they already had in their gardens.

Certification and recognition for this program will begin July 1 and Hoffmann said that many of their master gardeners are looking to having their gardens certified as well.

Hoffmann said plans for the 2019 GardenFest would begin in July when the association gathers for its annual meeting.

“We’re always looking for new stuff, and I think we want to have some more hands-on activities, not just for kids but adults too,” she said.

Hoffmann said she would like to see more speakers and workshops.

“We’ve already started collecting pots,” she said. “When you have over 2,000 plants, you have to start early.”

Hoffmann added: “It’s really kind of nice to look at a plant you know you cared for and see it sell. It’s really a good feeling.”