URI Master Gardeners to host Northeast Regional Master Gardener Conference June 6-8

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Garden Marketplace and Expo to feature 38 gardening vendors

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 18, 2006 – University of Rhode Island Master Gardeners will host the 2006 Northeast Regional Master Gardener Conference and a Gardening Marketplace and Expo on June 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Newport.

The bi-annual event is being held in Rhode Island for the second time since the inaugural conference in 1988 and expects to draw nearly 500 Master Gardeners from throughout the Northeast region. While the conference is only open to certified Master Gardeners and members of select horticultural organizations, the marketplace and expo are free and open to the public.

“The marketplace and expo provide the perfect opportunity for gardeners throughout the region to gain some new knowledge and get those must-have items to ensure a successful garden season,” said Rosanne Sherry, coordinator of the URI Master Gardener program. “And the event is timed just right for the peak of the gardening season.”

The highlight of the public expo will be a series of demonstrations and lectures on such topics as landscape design, cooking, flower arranging, hydroponics, soil testing, plant dying and orchid care.

Vendors at the expo will sell a wide variety of plants, gardening tools, garden-themed gifts, books and related items. In addition, information will be available about such topics as beekeeping, recycling, composting, online gardening courses, and more. The “Ask a Master Gardener” booth will provide answers to every gardening question.

The conference will feature nearly 50 lectures, workshops and garden tours, as well as four featured speakers: Helen Dillon, Ireland’s most famous gardener who is said to have “the best small garden in the world;” garden designer Louis Raymond, a former opera singer who now serves as show designer for the New England Flower Show; gardening author Sydney Eddison, whose gardens have been featured in Martha Stewart Living and The Victory Garden; and Lee Reich, a soil researcher turned gardening lecturer who writes a nationally syndicated column on gardening.

Major sponsors of the conference and marketplace are WJAR-NBC 10, Fine Gardening magazine, Cerrone Oldsmobile, Beacon Mutual Insurance, Pleasant View Gardens, Raytheon, Citizens Bank, Sylvan Nursery, New England Regional Water Program and All Island Landscaping.

For more information about the conference, call the URI Cooperative Extension Education Center at 401-874-2900 or go to www.urimga.org.