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Santa Fe Master Gardeners host sixth annual garden fair April 24

SANTA FE, N.M. - The sixth annual Santa Fe Garden Fair will be Saturday, April 24, at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds, 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe. The free event is presented by the Santa Fe Master Gardeners' Association, with sponsor support from Santa Fe Greenhouse and Newman's Nursery.

The Santa Fe Master Gardeners' Association, part of the Master Gardener program run by the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, serves the community by educating and promoting locally responsible gardening.

"This is a great opportunity for gardeners to have access to horticultural experts and gardening-related vendors," said Janet Hirons, Santa Fe Master Gardeners' Association president. "This event has grown each year in the number of lectures and demonstrations we offer, in the number of exhibitors and the public's participation. We offer a lot of information to educate and inspire everyone, from the novice to the experienced gardener."

This year's garden fair keynote speaker is Lois Ellen Frank. The celebrated chef and author will speak on "Seeds of Health: A Chef's Experience in a Native New Mexico Garden." There will also be a book-signing after her 12:30 p.m. lecture.

Other free lectures will include backyard beekeeping with Les Crowder; gardening for the senses with David Salman; "Santa Fe Vegetables Superstars" by Bob Pennington; "Asters, Goldenrods and Sunflowers for the New Mexico Garden" by Tom Antonio; bringing birds to the garden by Dawn Graber; growing fruit for food, beauty and pleasure by Jeff Clark; growing herbs by Michael Clark; and "Enliven Your Garden and Save the World" by Nate Downey.

Demonstrations will also be given during the day, including how to propagate cactus and grow different species of cholla; how to compost with worms and without worms; seed collecting, saving and cleaning; rose care and pruning; starting plants from seeds; how to make hypertufa pots; and how to grow and care for vegetables organically.

Activities and exhibits are planned for the entire family. "This is an event that the entire family can participate in," Hirons said. "There will be a kids' corner where they will participate in fun gardening activities."

One highlight of the garden fair is the plant sale. "Some of the plants were donated by local commercial greenhouses, but many were started by our Master Gardeners in the hoop house located at the fairgrounds," Hirons said.