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Native trees focus of garden celebration

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For the past nine years, the Johnson County Garden Celebration has been providing local homeowners with the knowledge and tools to grow beautiful gardens.

You could hear experts talk about native plants, learn about the newest earth-friendly methods of gardening and buy flowers and shrubs to start planting.

But this year’s event will focus on a neglected addition to many gardens — trees.

The theme of the 2013 celebration is native trees of Indiana. Organizers will give away a free tree seedling, while supplies last. Local arborists and native plant experts will discuss tree care at different stages.

The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4 at Scott Hall on the Johnson County fairgrounds.

“We’ve picked a theme each year, and it seemed like trees should be next. We’ve been giving them away for eight of the nine years we’ve been doing it,” said Philomena Ross, president of the garden club. “There’s a focus on urban forestry, and we thought people should know about it.”

The Garden Celebration is a collaboration between the Johnson County Garden Club and the Purdue Master Gardener program intended to help educate residents about all things lawn and garden.

This year’s event commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Johnson County Garden Club, Ross said.

“It began as the result of a master gardener class that finished, and one of the ladies wanted to continue contact with the others. She and the others involved with the Purdue Extension proposed the garden club,” Ross said. “It’s been going ever since.”

A slate of free garden seminars will provide attendees with a broad range of knowledge about the plants that grow best in this area, Ross said.

John Hawkins, a certified arborist with Arbor Experts, will discuss how to keep trees healthy. To encourage people to use native Indiana flowers, shrubs and trees, Amanda Smith of the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department will speak about the advantages of those plants.

People can learn to craft with willow boughs and fight off invasive species as well.

In addition to the seminar, a wide variety of vendor booths and demonstrations will be provided. People can pick up everything from annual and perennial plants to soils to gardening tools.

“People say they never miss it, and they wait until it comes to get whatever they need for the gardens,” Ross said.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be sold throughout the day. The cost of admission is $2, or the donation of a nonperishable food or toiletry item for the InterChurch Food Pantry.

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