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September 2012
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Indiana State Fairgrounds site of Purdue Extension-Marion County’s new demonstration garden

The Purdue-Extension Marion County's demonstration garden at the Indiana State Fairgrounds is near the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Building. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

When Purdue Extension-Marion County moved from Intech Park to Discovery Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds earlier this year, it could not take its demonstration garden with it.

Like other gardeners who move from one house to another, new beds were created and planted, thanks to Master Gardener volunteers.

The 5,000 square foot demonstration garden was unveiled last month during Indiana State Fair. More than 6,500 people, or about 385 a day, visited during the fair, reports Steve Mayer, horticulture educator and Master Gardener coordinator with the extension office.

The garden sits about 350 feet east of the extension’s offices in Discovery Hall in the northwest section of the fairgrounds.

The public is invited to check it out during an open house, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday. There is no charge and parking is free.

Master Gardeners and Mayer will guide tours of the garden, which is planted with dozens of annuals, vegetables, herbs, shrubs and perennials, including many All-America Selections. Food from the garden is distributed to food pantries or soup kitchens.

Besides ornamental and food plants, visitors will see several gardening techniques, such as ways to stake tomatoes, raised beds and insect control.

The open house also is an opportunity to get your gardening questions answered, Mayer said. You can also email questions to marionmg@purdue.edu, or call the AnswerLine Phone Center, (317) 275-9292.

Extension educator Steve Mayer demonstrates a new tomato cage on display at the demonstration garden at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Master Gardener classes start

Registration is now open for two fall Master Gardener classes in Discover Hall at the fairgrounds. Certification comes after completion of 50 hours of classroom instruction and 50 volunteer hours.

A Tuesday/Thursday class begins Sept. 18 and a Saturday class starts Sept. 22. Parking is free. The $150 fee covers all materials. Visit the Web site to register or call (317) 275-9286. Registration deadline is Sept. 12.