Master Gardeners offering up locally grown plants at various events

GRAFTON— Join the Marion County Extension Master Gardeners Association for their Heirloom Plant Sale, for your chance to take in the beauty of historic plants.
The sale will take place on May 1 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Prickett’s Fort State Park Visitor Center. During the sale, there will be a variety of vegetables and flowers from the early days of gardening.  Payments for the plant sell will be accepted cash or check only.
“Prickett’s Fort contains historical beds, including plants that would have been there during the 1700’s, and the Job Prickett House has flower beds that were built around the 1850’s,” said Karen Morris. “The money raised at the annual sale is used to take care of the Prickett’s Fort gardens.”
Prickett’s Fort is a place where individuals can learn and see exactly how master gardening excels plants in their growth.
The plants that will be sold have been grown locally, according to Morris. Ann Burns founder of The Homestead Farm Center, a nonprofit organization, allows Master Gardeners to use her greenhouse for planting.
The farm center is located on approximately 100 acres of land on the Thomas Steele farm in the Plum Run Road area of Taylor County. Master Gardeners travel there to care for plants, that will be sold during the Heirloom Plant Sale.
Some plants are adopted, meaning they are cared for at home by other Master Gardeners who have taken the plants to their home greenhouses to grow. From there, the plants will be taken to the Heirloom Plant Sale to be sold, along with the others.
According to Morris, a Master Gardener is a gardener who has taken classes and teaches other individuals how to garden. All of the Master Gardening is nonprofit and is performed throughout various states and counties.
Master Gardeners have prepared plants for The Heirloom Plant Sale and will have a variety of options including vegetables, herbs and flowering plants, some of which would have been available in or before the 1800’s.
Offerings include Brandywine and Cherokee purple tomatoes, as well as two additional varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, eggplants, broccoli, kale, lettuce, tomatillos, melons, pumpkins, squash, watermelons and peppers.
Guests can select from various herbs including dill, lavender, parsley, basil, chives, thyme, fennel and poppy, to name a few.
In addition, shoppers may choose from Marigolds, Zinnias, Four O’Clocks, Pansies, Calendula and other varieties of flowers such as, Gaillardia, Cockscomb, Hibiscus, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Lovage, Hyssop, Mimosa, Salvia, Cosmos, Centaurea, Morning Glory, Sweet Pea, Strawflower, Nasturtium, Sunflower, and much more.
This event is free and open to the public.
Prickett’s Fort State Park is located two miles off I-79 at exit 139, at 88 State Park Road, Fairmont, West Virginia.
The next major event for the Master Gardeners will be the Annual Tomato Tasting Festival that will be held at Palatine Park in August, and they are hoping to stick with holding it on the third Sunday during that month.
“Donations are taken for the entry fee, and each gardener can set up on a table that is labeled with a number. There will be a small and large tomato category,” Morris explained. “Judges will taste all tomatoes first, and then the public will be allowed. Votes will be taken, and a winner will be claimed.”
Prizes will also be awarded to the biggest and most unique tomatoes.
For both the Heirloom Plant Sale and Palatine Park event, Master Gardeners are in high hopes of a good outcome.
Last year all events were held in a drive thru manner and restricted the beauty of plant shopping. This year, events will be held in-person, and everyone is asked to follow guidelines, wear a mask and adhere to social distancing protocols.
To become a Master Gardener, you can contact WVU Services Extension office. One of the local offices is located in Fairmont WV, where information on the Master Gardener spring classes can be obtained.


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