Lake Norman & Mooresville

Grow your yard smarts at Iredell Garden Fair

A variety of garden plants and ornaments will be on display at the third annual Iredell Garden Fair.
A variety of garden plants and ornaments will be on display at the third annual Iredell Garden Fair. COURTESY OF ANITA MURPHY

Ever wonder why your hydrangeas aren’t blooming but your weeds are? Come ask a master gardener at the third annual Iredell Garden Fair.

The Iredell Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association (IEMGVA) will host a garden fair April 25 at the Iredell Cooperative Extension Center, in Statesville. The fair will have hands-on activities, vendors, a plant sale, workshops, a raffle and food. More than 30 master gardeners will be there to share ideas and expertise.

Margaret Willett, a past president of the Iredell Master Gardener Association, is one of the gardeners who will be on hand to answer those questions about hydrangeas and weeds. She has expanded her knowledge about gardening considerably since completing master gardener training in 2007.

“I knew very little about gardening but was interested,” Willett said. “As we volunteer to assist the community with gardening information, one becomes interested in certain aspects of gardening. One such area that I enjoy is propagation of plants. I will be giving demonstrations this year at the Garden Fair.”

Willett has also enjoyed working in the Extension Center’s demonstration garden, which will be open during the fair. The demo garden, designed, planted, and maintained by master gardeners, features display-specific gardening skills and interests. Features include a vegetable garden, youth garden, xeriscape garden, plant identification, water feature, raised beds, herbs and composting.

The approximately 50 vendors at the fair will have seeds and vegetable transplants, hanging baskets, perennial and annual bedding plants, trees, shrubs, garden art and equipment. There will also be soils, amendments and organic supplies along with landscape design and installation services, handmade products such as soaps and lotions plus agricultural loan services. Vendors include Bio Green, Back to Earth Products, Jan Enright Creations, Mills Garden Herb Farm and Piedmont Plants. Local garden clubs, 4-H Clubs and the Iredell Beekeepers Association will share information.

The first workshop, “Hardscapes in Your Garden,” will feature Sherry Beck of The Designing Eye in Troutman. Beck, who worked with Johnson Concrete in Salisbury and served as president of the Rowan County Master Gardeners Association, has more than 25 years of experience in design. The workshop is at 9:30 a.m. At 10:45 a.m., Melvin York of Daddy Pete’s will discuss square-foot vegetable gardening. At noon, Jason Drum of Bell Landscape Supply in Statesville will present “Designing for Success.”

Children’s activities include making bird feeders, planting seeds and painting rocks to use as garden labels.

Throughout the year, the Iredell Cooperative Extension Service offers speaker programs on various aspects of horticulture. Through 4-H, students have opportunities to participate in clubs and summer programs that enhance their understanding of agriculture. The master gardeners help plan, build and maintain community gardens. They also answer the phones at the extension center when local gardeners call with questions on soil, plant health, pests and best practices.

Even if your garden is weed-free and your hydrangeas are brilliant, it’s worth the trip to share the joy of gardening and find something new to plant.

Erica Batten is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Erica? Email her at

Want to go?

The Iredell Garden Fair is free and open to the public. The fair will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 25 at the Iredell Cooperative Extension Center, 444 Bristol Drive, Statesville. Vendor applications are being accepted through April 10. Spaces are $75, and vendors must provide their own tables. Vendors may contact Martha Hazelton at 704-450-1333 or

For information about the fair, including a list of vendors, visit