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Web Page Editor Travis J. Callahan
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All Pictures courtesy of Jenniffer Stephenson
Crystal Springs Fall Flower & Garden Fest
Every year the SFF gathers at the Crystal Spring Truck Crops Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. Crystal Springs is about 25 miles south of Jackson. Hours are from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. both days and food vendors will have food and drinks available.
This is the largest home gardening show in the
Southeast. Average attendance is 6,000 people over the two-day
event. Admission and parking are free. The garden, grounds,
seminars, and one of the tour wagons are handicapped
here for the 2016 Event.
Report on the Crystal
Springs Fall Flower and Garden Fest
On October 5th, my wife and I attended the 34th
Annual Fall Flower and Garden Fest at the Truck Crops Branch
Experimental Station in
Last year was the first time I attended Ė really
the first time Iíd met any fellow
This year I wore a nametag and got to work along
What is this weird fruit that look
like a big green brain? Can I eat it? Osage orange (Bois d'Arc) . Nope.
Can I grow blueberries here? You betcha ! Everyone
should have some in their yard.
How can I keep deer away from my
trees? Fence them, or shoot
What kind of persimmon is this? (Point to Mr. Jesse Thompson.)
How can pomegranates be propagated? (Point to Dr. Chris Inhulsen.)
Whatís a good pear for this area? (Point to Ron Hill.)
Is it hard to graft? (Point to the table where Billy Smith, Larry
Force, Ron Hill, Norm Herrin, and a couple other members are
(I did a lot of pointing.)
I have a really old pear tree in my
yard that makes a big crop of soft eating pears every
year. Can you tell me what kind it is? Nope, but get that ladyís e-mail and address; Iím
always interested in an unusual pear. Make
sure she gets our flyer; sheís the kind of member we need.
And so it went, all day. Pretty
huh? I believe I could be well employed as a salesman at a
large nursery. I was surprised
at how many folks stopped at our tables; there was a
constant stream of people interested in our exhibits. Mrs. Bonnie and Mrs. Carol signed up
a good many new members. This
show is one of our most lucrative recruiting spots.
Any time thereís a group of people discussing
fruit, well, thatís where Iím going to be, so I really
didnít see as much of the other exhibits as I would have
liked. My wife, Jenniffer, and
I did make a quick tour of the grounds. Donít
pack a lunch for this show; there are plenty of food vendors
and you can eat very well. There
were people selling all kinds of stuff for gardening and
horticulture Ė irrigation equipment, greenhouses, pruning
supplies, you name it, and also many craftsmen and small
nurseries. I did notice one
trend that I approve Ė many nurseries offered native
ornamental plants and seeds, in a huge and pleasing variety.
I suppose with all the floods
and droughts we have nowadays, gardeners have had to turn to
our tough and durable native specimens.
There were lots of experts on hand, giving tours of
the station, classes, and seminars. Of
the Truck Branch Experimental Station is pretty much a
Could the Fallfest be improved? Sure,
year YOU could join us at the Southern Fruit Fellowship
booth; youíll find it worth the trip, I promise. Bring
fruit! The bigger and more
exotic, the better. We like to
open peopleís eyes as to what can be grown, and this is a
good place to do some bragging to an appreciative audience.
Many heartfelt thanks to Dr.
Rick Snyder and all the hard-working staff at the research
station who make this show possible each year. See you next
A Note from Jenniffer:
Although Iím not as nutty about fruit trees as my
husband, Larry, I do enjoy watching him enjoy his hobby. I have watched his interest and
participation grow with the Southern Fruit Fellowship (
Well, to wrap up my
impressions of this yearís Fall Flower and Garden Fest, Iíll
just tell you what I have told some of the other
Mississippi State personnel conducted guided tours of the flower and vegetable gardens which are planted to be at their peak for the Garden Fest.
The large round bale of aged hay demonstrates another way to garden. It shows how to raise the level of gardening for people who have trouble bending. It was placed in the AgrAbility Demonstration-Gardening Accessibility area.
There were 68 vendors at the Garden Fest. Approximately half of them were plant vendors who packed the area with beautiful colorful plants of all varieties for sale.
One creative vendor entertained visitors with his Gourd Banjo which he makes and sells.
To learn more of the history of the Banza (Gourd Banjo) visit his website at www.jaybirdbanjo.com.
This vendor hand makes spoons, salad sets and bowls from different hardwoods found across the South. He also uses different types of maple for his products.
The slip covers for pots make displaying plants easier and more colorful.
There were several vendors selling bird houses and yard art to decorate the yard.
One vendor demonstrated the grinding of corn into cornmeal and sold fresh ground cornmeal.
There are always many food and drink vendors with wonderful things to eat including homemade snacks.
Southern Fruit Fellowship has had a booth at the Garden Fest for many years where members demonstrate grafting, exhibit fruit, plants and vegetables, answer questions, sell plants and sign up new members. A visitor views the posters showing fruit that members have grown and pictures showing the Annual Meetings at various locations across the South.
Photos Courtesy of Dr. Rick Snyder
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