Rockdale Master Gardeners festival to bring out green thumb in all

CONYERS -- Family fun and plenty of helpful resources for the weekend yard warrior will be available Saturday at the sixth annual Rockdale County Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Festival.

The event will be held at the county's Parker Road facility, located at 1400 Parker Road, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents will find items for sale relating to nature and gardening in general. Seminars on several gardening topics and plant advice will be offered throughout the festival, along with demonstrations and special events.

Admission to the festival is free. All proceeds will benefit the county's Master Gardener program.

Jule-Lynne Macie, director of the University of Georgia's Extension office for Rockdale County, said the event helps support the Master Gardener program.

Community programs supported by the plant sale and festival include maintenance work at the Community Food Garden, the Vaughn Memorial Gardens and Memorial Arboretum at the Georgia International Horse Park. Also, the event will benefit outreach programs such as the junior master gardener and other school programs.

Public safety events and demonstrations will be held at this year's event.

The Rockdale County Fire Department and National EMS will have information booths set up. The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office K-9 will hold a demonstration at 2 p.m. The Sheriff's Office is also providing free child fingerprinting.

"Master Gardeners will be there all day to answer your every gardening query," Macie wrote in an email. "The 4-H Club will be selling drinks and fluorescent street number signs so the fire department and EMS can find your house easily should the need ever arise. You might want to bring your own wagon to cart all your purchases to your car."

The plant sale offers a wide variety of flowers, trees and shrubs at reasonable prices. The festival will also have a "Gardener's Paradise Gift Shop" with all kinds of gift items such as baskets, yard art, gently used gardening books, seeds and more.

Other demonstrations include:

Pete Griffin of the Department of Natural Resources Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center will bring some endangered species, including a bald eagle, alligator turtle, gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake and an alligator. Demonstrations are at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The wildlife demonstrations are sponsored by Cowan Ace Hardware and Snapping Shoals EMC.

Back for a third year is Halleyah Raks Belly Dancing studio at 11 a.m.

Jim Thornton of the Azalea Society will discuss how to select and grow azaleas at 11:30 a.m.

Chef Alain Bouzouba of Seven Gables Restaurant will present a cooking demonstration on using fall produce from the garden at 12 p.m.

Local artist Orrin Morris will present a program titled "Fall Wildflowers in Rockdale County" at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Macie at 770-278-7373.