Blackwelder column: Demonstration gardens grow information
Cooperative Extension uses a multitude of methods to provide information to the gardening public.
Demonstration gardens are one of the best educational tools. Master Gardener volunteers have been working on a number of demonstration gardens to help provide current gardening information. Below are active educational demonstration gardens:
West End Community Park Horticultural Demonstration Gardens: Located on Brenner Avenue, these gardens are at their peak of color with bedding plants and other plantings, including a great vegetable trial garden.
Located near the railroad tracks on Brenner Avenue, the garden is part of the city of Salisbury Parks and Recreation, but maintained by Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers. A major demonstration this season for beginner gardeners is the raised bed gardens.
Master Gardener volunteers have a vegetable planting in raised planters of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, etc.
Other demonstrations include: drip irrigation, composting, grape trellising, shade garden, an insect and butterfly habitat, asparagus plot, enabling garden for physically challenged and turf variety trial plot.
Waterwise Garden at Rowan Public Library: Master Gardener volunteer Caryn Blackwood spearheads Waterwise Garden, formally the Xeriscaping Garden, at the Rowan Public Library in Salisbury. Located at the front entrance, the ongoing demonstration garden features plants that thrive with little or no water.
The garden began in 2003 with a display of drought tolerant plants and has evolved not only as a waterwise planting, but contains easy to maintain showy perennials. Plants are labeled and a notebook inside has information on plant materials.
Ornamental Grass Plot: In the spring of 2006, Rowan County Master Gardeners developed a dwarf ornamental grass demonstration garden featuring non-invasive, unique, drought tolerant, full sun varieties readily available in this area.
The garden is at the Agriculture Center on Old Concord Road in Salisbury, adjacent to the greenhouse. This demonstration garden contains smaller ornamental grasses suitable for small pocket gardens. These grasses are very drought and heat tolerant, withstanding extended periods of drought.
Cool Season Turf Variety Trials: Twenty-four different types of cool season fescues and other grasses are planted in a clearly defined area at the West End Community Garden on Brenner Avenue and at the Agricultural Center in Salisbury. A variety of turf cultivars was selected from garden centers and retail outlets and planted to determine which do best in our area.
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County; 704-216-8970.