17Cumberland County Extension Master Gardeners will hold its annual Plant Fair on April 15 at the Cooperative Extension Center at 301 E. Mountain Drive.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., novice and experienced green thumbs can peruse a variety of native plants, herbs, vegetables and harvested seed packs. As visitors browse the bounty of locally grown greenery, they can also talk a little shop and get some gardening advice.

“We have noticed that a lot of people have a lot of questions about plants,” shared Linda Myers, former president of the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. “Our goal is to help the citizens of Cumberland County make smart decisions about what to plant in their yards or how to take care of their house plants.”

Funds raised from the event will go toward several horticultural programs that serve the community. The Second Harvest Food Bank Garden, horticulture scholarships, Cape Fear Botanical Garden, Extension Master Gardener Education programs, and similar initiatives will benefit.

In addition to its function as a major fundraising event, the Plant Fair also serves as an educational opportunity for people in the community. Major topics on the day’s agenda include sowing and saving seeds, home gardening, house plants, attracting bees, birds and butterflies, and much more.

Educational displays, demonstrations and Extension Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. The fair will also offer information on Cumberland County Extension Consumer Horticulture, Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, 4H, and Junior Master Gardener programs.

Horticulture is the art or practice of garden cultivation and management, dating back thousands of years. According to the annual National Gardening Survey, around 77% of Americans garden and spend over
$45 billion annually on gardening supplies.

As concerns about the environment increase and conversations surrounding the importance of sustainability maintain a foothold in the national discourse, the ability of the individual American to grow their own food and grow their own plants is seeing a surprising resurgence.

Entities such as the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of Cumberland County provide valuable information and hands-on support for those looking to dig in the dirt.

“Horticultural Education is so important,” Myers shared. “Sometimes there are things you just don’t know. For instance, some plants will not grow in Cumberland County. If you end up planting something that likes cold weather here in the south — you’re wasting your money.”

In addition to raising much-needed funds to support such important work, Myers is excited about the opportunity for connection events like this provide. After two years of social hibernation brought on by the pandemic, many organizations are trying to get back to where they were before everything stopped.

“Coming out of the pandemic when we didn’t meet for a year and then only by zoom, we need to reinvigorate our organization and the whole program,” Myers stated. “The Plant Fair is a way for master gardeners to engage with each other and a way for us to reengage with the public.”

For more information about the Plant Fair, call 910- 321-6882.

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