Rain didn’t deter die-hard gardeners from making their way to the annual Herb and Garden Faire at the Landis Valley Musuem on Friday. In fact, so many people turned out early, the event opened it’s gates before 9 a.m.
“It’s really a testament to the event, and how good it is, that this many people come out despite the rain,” said Shayla Carey, media assistant for the museum. It is the second-largest event of the year with “a couple thousand” turning out over two days.
“We have two distinct crowds generally each day: one is the die-hard people that come out early, they come and they get their tomatoes or their plants that they want but mainly tomatoes,” said Carey. “They know what they want, they’re hyper-focused, and then they head out.”
And what did these gardeners buy?
“Everything,” said Lisa Klick as she pushed a stroller full of plants the same color as her poncho in the rain. Klick, who made two trips to the car, has made the annual trek from Harrisburg to the event for each of the past 10 or so years. “It’s only the second time it’s rained,” she said.
But why travel that distance just to buy plants?
“The sizes are perfect, the prices are great, and I’m too old to be digging 6-inch holes,” she said. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
The event is clearly popular with vendors as well, including locals Mike and Diana McCoy of Bloom Container Gardens.
“This is a great show,” said Mike McCoy, who minded the Bloom Container Gardens booth with family member Deb Frantz while his wife was off readying their daughter for her high school prom. It is their fourth year as vendors.
“Succulents are the big thing this year,” said Frantz, explaining that their popularity is in part due to the fact that they are drought-tolerant and need little watering.
McCoy and Frantz both agreed that seasonal gardeners looking for the unusual-plants with exceptional colors or simply outstanding plants-both of which were on display at their booth, including colorful large-leafed Watermelon Rex begonias.
While experts flocked to the event in Friday’s deluge, the event yields a different crop of shoppers on Saturday.
“Saturday is when the browsers come,” said Carey. “They walk among the stands, they pick out all the nice things they want, and then they meander on home.” McCoy has noticed a certain group out shopping on Saturdays at the event each of the past four years: dads with kids.
Sunday is Mother’s Day, and if this year is like those in the past, McCoy believes that baskets designed by wife Diana, who specializes in container gardening and personalized potted plantings, will once again be popular.
This year’s event features over 80 vendors of plants, herbal skin care products, garden art, and jewelry, as well as food and educational presentations by gardening experts.
Speaker Pat Browdoski, vegetable gardener at Monticello, spilled the dirt on Thomas Jefferson’s garden on Friday. Long before the renewed interest in organic gardening and superfoods, it turns out that the former president apparently grew kale and turnips.
The tent of the Heirloom Seed project was pitched across the nearby muddy patch from where Browdowski shared her insights and tips. The Project actually started the Herb and Garden Faire, now in its 29th year,and is the main beneficiary of it, according to Carey.
“They have a very large marketplace. They grow over 15,000 plants and then they sell those, and then that goes towards the Heirloom Seed Project,” she said. Admission, which is $10 for adults, goes more towards the museum in general.
Carey is hoping for a good Saturday turnout, and better weather.
“If it had to rain, Friday was a good day to rain,” she said.
Details: Landis Valley Musuem 29th Annual Herb and Garden Faire, featuring over 80 vendors with plant and plant-related items, food, and educational speakers.
Tips: Wear mud boots, a cart for your plants, and cash.
Where: Landis Valley Village and Farm Musuem, 2461 Kissel Hill Rd., Lancaster, PA
When: Today, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,Saturday, May 7.
Cost: Admission is $10, FREE for ages 5 & under.
More Info: Visit the Herb and Garden Faire website.