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River Valley Lawn & Garden Show, Final District Dig In and a new meaning for Shrub

March 18, 2017

It has been quite a full few weeks and today was a culmination of our District Dig Ins.  We decided to combine the Ozark District event with the River Valley Lawn & Garden Show which is going on this weekend.  Folks could come early and enjoy the show, get plants, and listen to a great line-up of speakers before our private MG event.  The River Valley MG’s did themselves proud today with one of the best lawn and garden shows I have seen in Fort Smith. The gardens were great, with a ton of blooming plants, and more booths than last year with a wide range of plants and products.   Of course the Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and the Master Gardeners were out in full force with many exhibits and educational efforts.

They had some excellent speakers today and a full lineup tomorrow as well.  Chris Olsen is always a hit, and I heard nothing but rave reviews for the snake guys–glad Julie wasn’t with me.    The parking lot was packed when I arrived and I had quite a few loads to unload. Our district dig in room was in use until mid afternoon, so it was a scramble to get everything set up before I spoke for the public at the show. I finished just as our Dig In was starting, so it was a quick trip to our room to get things going. Of course I had excellent help from my County 76 team–Linda, Jane, Glenda and Patsy helped with set-up, registration, and introductions as well as with the food set up and take down.  I felt like it was a fast-paced day with one thing right after the other.  I got more than my 10,000 steps in today!  I also had fantastic help arranging this all from Hilda, who had to take over running the Lawn & Garden Show as well due to the illness of a member.  She did it all with grace and calmness!  I am blessed with such outstanding volunteers in our programs!

We had a great group of MGs who got to hear two speakers before my MG update. Susan Belsinger wowed us on herbal concoctions.  I was frantically running around trying to find a lavalier microphone for her, so I missed her opening remarks. When I came back in she was talking about shrubs–strawberry shrubs, and Habanero shrubs.  I was thoroughly confused.  Then we got to sample a shrub–and it definitely had pucker power!  So I learned a new use for the word shrub today–In beverage history, the word shrub has carried several meanings. What we had today  was an acidulated beverage made of fruit juice, sugar, and vinegar along with some herbs. Think drinkable vinegar.  It supposedly is quite healthy so I am sure it gave me the boost to drive home tonight!  She also created some herb butters, some tinctures and some sampled her homemade bitters.  We also got to eat redbud flowers–I had never tried them before, and they tasted about like you would expect a redbud to taste. Some liked it more than others.   In between talks as we cleaned up all her products  attendees had some refreshments to tide them over.

Then my good friend Gerald Klingaman did a great presentation on conifers.  This is not my strong suit, so I learned a lot. He is such a wealth of information and it was good to share a program with him again.    As he said in his talk, he has never met a plant he didn’t like!

After my presentation we packed up and we were on the road by 6:30 p.m. with help from the MGs.  I kept seeing a gorgeous sunset at my back in the mirrors, and at times the sun was intense.  So since Julie wasn’t with me, I snuck a few photos.

I have enjoyed the District Dig Ins and will be interested to read the evaluations once we get them out.  I have been busy speaking at many but not nearly all the educational gardening events that are going on all over the state right now.  It was unseasonably warm today–my car said 83 in Fort Smith.  Quite a difference from last Saturday’s 30 and 4 inches of snow in Mt. Home!  What a weird year this has been.

If you did not make it to Fort Smith and the show yet, there is still time. They are open all day tomorrow, so don’t miss out. You can buy plants and take them home and plant them!


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