Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring Garden Festival set for April 23 at Cuyamaca College

Wondering why your roses aren’t blooming or considering xeriscaping your lawn?
Get some tips and a lot more at Cuyamaca College’s Spring Garden Festival Saturday, April 23, a family-friendly community celebration of spring and a greener future. Like hummingbirds drawn to nectar, garden and landscape enthusiasts by the thousands flock each year to the popular event, set for 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Rancho San Diego campus becomes a growers’ mecca, with fun programs, exhibitors and demonstrations designed to inspire the gardener in everyone.  From urban farming to water-conserving landscaping ideas, the festival is the place to go to learn about sustainability and growing greenery in the midst of a historic drought. 

Sure to delight kids are the critters, including alpacas from A Simpler Time, an alpaca farm and mill in El Cajon. Face-painting is also a children’s favorite.

The event showcases the college’s renowned Ornamental Horticulture program, as well as the Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum, both located on the Cuyamaca College campus. More than 50 vendors, craftspeople, and artisans will be offering their wares and services on the campus’ Grand Lawn. A host of activities, exhibits, tours, vendors and demonstrations of sustainable gardening and landscaping promise to inform and entertain the public at one of the region’s largest outdoor community events of the year. 

Cuyamaca College alum and DJ Miguel Martinez will be providing music and the college’s food vendor, Sodexo, will grill hamburgers, hot dogs and carne asada for sale.

The Ornamental Horticulture department’s largest plant sale will feature a wide selection of modestly priced plants and flowers. Sales from the nursery supplement the Ornamental Horticulture program’s regular funding, helping to pay for supplies and equipment. The nursery is a learning lab for students on the identification, care and landscape uses of Southern California’s ornamental trees and shrubs. 

 Faculty and students will give demonstrations and provide a bounty of information on the horticulture program and topics including floral design, landscape design, pest control, plant propagation, arboriculture, irrigation, plant identification and more.

The Water Conservation Garden also will have plants for sale at stations along the garden’s paths.

“A big thing this year is the California Native Plant Society, which has a big sale in the fall at Balboa Park, has agreed to bring its plants to the Spring Garden Festival for the people in East County,” said Diane Owens, the Water Conservation Garden’s director of events.

A horticulture book sale and San Diego-area garden clubs will also be part of the day. The college’s Intergenerational Garden and Child Development Center will share an information booth in the exhibitor’s area on the Grand Lawn and also host children’s activities. 

 “Cuyamaca College has long been a proponent of sustainability and the Spring Garden Festival is a great chance to showcase Cuyamaca’s strong commitment to the green movement,” college President Julianna Barnes said. “At its core, the event is an opportunity to highlight one of the college’s premiere academic programs, but it is also a fun day for families to enjoy exhibitors and demonstrations promoting resource conservation.”

In addition to its plant sale, the Water Conservation Garden will add an artistic flair to the event with plein air (French for “open air”) painting by the San Diego Watercolor Society from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

 A composting demonstration takes place between 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and an open house with docent-led tours of the Garden will be available at 10 a.m. and noon. Between 10 a.m.-2 p.m., professional landscape designers will give 20-minute consultations to help homeowners get started with converting thirsty green lawns into attractive, water-saving gardens and yards. To pre-register for the $20 consultations, call the garden at (619) 660-0614, ext. 10.

Dream Raffle
A drawing prize of an amethyst cathedral can be won.
  The Heritage of the Americas Museum, which features historic art, culture and natural history of the Americas, will have free admission during the festival and docent-led tours at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A “Five-Choices Dream Raffle” starting at 2 p.m. for prizes including a foot-long amethyst cathedral or geode; a case with 63 ancient Paleo points, or arrowheads, from a Native American buffalo kill site in Idaho; a Sioux dance wand; a framed Chinese brush watercolor painting, and a $50 museum gift card.

 Raffle tickets for $1 can be bought on the day of the festival or in advance by calling the museum at (619) 670-5194. Ticket-holders need not be present to win.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said museum director Kathleen Oatsvall. 

The work of local artist and museum volunteer Diana Kam will also be displayed. Kam, who retired from 22 years teaching in the Cajon Valley School District, keeps in touch with young students by teaching summer art classes at the museum.

Bill Evans, a Sierra Club national outings leader for 20 years who has led hiking tours and photographed most of the western U.S. national parks, will give a presentation, “100th Anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service,” at 11 a.m. in the museum conference room. 

For more information about the event, call the Ornamental Horticulture department at (619) 660-4023, or the Water Conservation Garden at (619) 660-0614. For a program and maps, visit the Spring Garden Festival website at www.cuyamaca.edu/academics/departments/oh/springfest/default.aspx

Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego. 

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