URI to host gardening symposium, marketplace April 30

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Workshops, speakers, vendors, including talk by “The Perennial Diva”

KINGSTON, R.I. – April 4, 2011 – Gardeners interested in learning more about plants and the people who love them are invited to a special gardening symposium and marketplace on Saturday, April 30 sponsored by the University of Rhode Island Outreach Center and the URI Master Gardeners Association.

The event, Gardens and Green Spaces, will feature speakers and workshops designed to renew one’s appreciation for the positive effects of gardens and green spaces on health and wellbeing. It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the URI Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences on the Kingston campus.

The program will feature keynote speaker Stephanie Cohen, the director of the Landscape Arboretum at Temple University who is known as “The Perennial Diva.” The author of such books as The Perennial Gardener’s Primer, Fallscaping and The Nonstop Garden, her talk is entitled “Native Perennials: Sustainable, Colorful and Wonderful.”

The agenda concludes with a talk on “Gardens of Innovation, Inspiration and Insight” by C.L. Fornari, author of A Garden Lover’s Cape Cod and Your Garden Shouldn’t Make You Crazy. In between will be presentations on growing sustainable roses, discovering Rhode Island’s champion trees, landscaping with water quality in mind, and designing green roofs. A workshop on yoga for gardeners, led by fitness instructor and URI Master Gardener Nan Quinlan, is also scheduled.

Since gardeners will already be planning for their 2011 gardens, a Gardener’s Marketplace at the event will provide opportunities to purchase everything they need to help get started. Vendors will offer a large assortment of garden tools, pottery, containers, birdhouses and feeders, photographs of flowers and garden related gifts. Perennials, annuals, herbs, water garden plants, and potted plants will also be for sale. And several exhibits will illustrate gardening opportunities and programs in Rhode Island.

Among the vendors registered to participate in the marketplace are Little Tree Farm, Blue Moon Farm, The Gardeners Warehouse, Chaves Garden Center, Robin Hollow Farm, My Green Wall, The Good Earth, Lynne Puhalla Studios, Ivory Halo Creations, Blue Hydrangea, Frosty Hollow Orchids, Farming Turtles, Community Ayurvedic Herbalist, Captain Brad’s Windspinner and Jamestown Weaver.

The marketplace will be open to the public throughout the day, even to those who do not register for the symposium.

In addition, participants will have the opportunity to tour the rooftop garden and rain garden at the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences that helped to earn the building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.

The cost to attend is $70 per person, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. Participants will also receive a tote bag containing gardening tips and mementos. For more information, email ceec@etal.uri.edu or call 401-874-2900.