On May 28th, I went to the Sudbury Gardening Festival with my mom and my best friend, Bethany. We had never been to this free annual gardening festival and were excited to go since we all like gardening. It took place at the YMCA Centre for Life and Parkside Centre in downtown Sudbury. Since we had never been to this event before, we decided to just wander around and take it all in. There was much more going on, like speakers, but we decided to just look at all of the vendors and exhibitors.
At the gardening festival, vendors and exhibitors don't mind answering questions. The questions can range from gardening and environment related questions to art questions since there were also vendors selling art and homemade yard decorations. There was a vendor selling chaga tea so I asked the two people at the table a few (or a lot) of questions about chaga since we have found it on my family's property. Chaga is a fungus found in some Northern countries that grows from wounds on birch trees and has many health benefits. I wanted to know how to harvest it properly and how to prepare it so that it could be used for tea. The people at the table were happy to answer my questions and seemed enthusiastic while talking about chaga. While visiting some art/yard decoration vendor's tables, the vendors told me how they make their decorations. So, I not only got some questions answered about chaga that I had been wondering for a while, but I also learned how to make some really neat yard decorations and I hope to try making them some day. I was very happy with all of the information that I received from speaking to people at the festival and I also picked up some booklets and pamphlets with environmental and gardening information as well as information about re-greening in Sudbury. This festival was definitely educational!
One of the super exciting things about the gardening festival was receiving free plants, trees, and seeds! There were many vendors selling plants and seeds but you could also get plenty for free! Some of the popular plants being given away were these two shrubs that you see in the photo above, If I remember correctly, the plant on the left is Black Chokeberry and the plant on the right is Wild Raisin. Apparently they were also giving away milkweed, which I would have also liked to receive to attract Monarch butterflies to my yard, but they ran out fast.
There were two tables giving away various types of trees so my mom and I tried to choose trees that we don't have too many of on our property. From left to right in the photo above, there is Jack Pine, White Pine, White Spruce, and Mugo Pine.
In the above photo, you can see the free seeds that we received. There are Black-Eyed Susans, Orange Jewelweed (also known as touch-me-nots), Fire Weed, and Evening Primrose. My mom got the touch-me-nots for my brother since he loves them!
One of the plant vendors that was selling plants by donation at the front of the building was selling starwberry plants so we bought a paper cup full of these guys! We got ten plants for $5. They had been kept in a fridge so we were told to also keep them in a fridge until we were ready to plant them. Once we were ready to plant, we were told not to worry if they still looked dead for a while because they would still be in hibernation mode. These strawberry plants will come back year after year and spread but we have to cover them with straw in the Fall to prevent them from freezing during the Winter. That's why they're called STRAWberries!
Here's a closer look at one of the strawberry plants! Aren't they creepy? I think they look like weird little aliens! Hehe!
I also bought a yard decoration from a vendor that was selling hanging decorations made from old tea pots, plates, metal dishware, etc. This silver creamer decoration was $10. I love the simplicity of it and how the jewels look like water pouring out of it. Of course I had to hang it in our flowering crabapple tree, especially while it was flowering!
That concludes my thoughts and summary of my first visit to the Sudbury Gardening Festival. I had a great time and look forward to going again next year!