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Specialists to diagnose plant maladies at annual Garden Fest

Last Modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 10:04 AM

By Cliff Seiber / American Press

Garden and landscaping ideas, merchandise and services from scores of vendors, and education opportunities will abound at the 14th annual Southwest Louisiana Garden Festival 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday in Burton Coliseum.

The festival, sponsored in part by the LSU AgCenter, will include the Southwest District of Federated Garden Clubs annual flower show. Clubs from Crowley, Iowa, Lake Charles and Sulphur will participate.

Horticulture and design entries are open only to Federated Garden Club members. National Garden Clubs-accredited judges will judge the show.

Additionally, vendor and educational booths will fill the coliseum floor. “We have a full house,” said AgCenter horticulturist Robert Turley. “We average about 4,000 visitors each year.”

Some exhibitors will show new plant varieties that have just come on the market, he said. Two days of seminars will be conducted by experts on fruit and vegetable and ornamental and landscaping gardening, Turley said.

The festival will also be an opportunity for gardeners and homeowners to find out exactly what is wrong with their sick and dying plants. A booth will be set up for diagnosing plant diseases and suggesting remedies.

Turley said frequent problems cited include citrus leaf miner and lawn brown patch disease.

The booth will also have soil test boxes that festival-goers can pick up, he said. They can put soil samples in the boxes for testing at the LSU laboratory. The boxes and the lab services are included in the fee.

The diagnostic booth will be staffed by 10-12 experts from the AgCenter, and 4-H’ers and volunteers will assist.

The 4-H Home School Club will sell refreshments and food in a cart service booth at the south entrance of the coliseum.

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