Tips on providing safe havens for pollinators at Ag Progress Days

University Park, Pa. -- Gardening enthusiasts attending Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 18-20, can get tips on providing safe havens for butterflies, honeybees and other struggling pollinators.

Penn State master gardeners will be on hand at the lawn and garden tent to discuss "pollinator gardening" in half-hour presentations at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Each presentation will be followed by a tour of the nearby pollinator gardens.

Ginger Pryor, extension associate in horticulture and state master gardener coordinator explained that the presentation is related to a statewide master gardener campaign to encourage the creation of pollinator-friendly community demonstration gardens. Homeowners and gardeners can chip in to promote healthy honeybee populations, which have been decimated by Colony Collapse Disorder and other environmental factors.

"We'll highlight examples of plants that are ideal for a successful pollinator-friendly garden, and master gardeners will be available to answer questions," Pryor said. "Because landscapes have been extremely fragmented due to urbanization, suburbanization and development, we would like to have homeowners and gardeners rethinking their spaces."

Penn State floriculture specialists also will offer flower-arranging demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday in the lawn and garden tent. Flower enthusiasts can learn about proper cut-flower care and handling and how to extend cut-flower life. Demonstrations will include an all-around centerpiece arrangement, a one-sided wall arrangement and an exotic Japanese-style arrangement.

Master gardeners and horticulture faculty will be on hand to answer questions each day. Home horticulturists can find out about new products and get tips and advice on landscaping, woody ornamentals, insect and disease management, turfgrass, indoor plants, flowers, tree and small fruits, and vegetables.

"Each year brings a new wave of landscape questions and concerns," said Pryor. "Master gardeners are prepared with information about local growing conditions to give visitors insights into this year's hot topics."

In addition, professional growers and home gardeners interested in cut-flower production can browse the adjacent flower garden and learn about the latest
varieties, weed control and business opportunities. Up to 15 perennial varieties for cut-flower use and as many as 20 of the best new container-garden plants from Penn State flower trials will be on display. Visitors can get information on starting and managing field-grown cut flowers or just enjoy a walk though the flower beds.

Sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State's Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on State Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 18; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 19; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 20. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days Web site at http://apd.psu.edu/ online.

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Last Updated July 29, 2009