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Virginia's gardeners encouraged to plant patriotically-colored gardens for 400th anniversary


BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 28, 2005 – Patriotically colored red, white, and blue flowers will bloom across Commonwealth as Virginia gardeners celebrate the nation’s 400th anniversary by displaying colorfully-themed gardens and landscapes in an America’s Anniversary Garden project.

"We hope to have America’s Anniversary Gardens in all the communities as part of Virginia’s welcome to the many visitors that the 400th anniversary celebration will bring to the state,” said Joyce Latimer, Virginia Cooperative Extension horticulturist.

Citizens creating America’s Anniversary Gardens will get educational help from Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The work will be supported by a grant of $25,000 from the Jamestown 2007 Commission. Faculty members from the Department of Horticulture and Virginia Cooperative Extension will provide the educational material and leadership to help Virginians grow an America’s Anniversary Garden.

“The funds from the Jamestown 2007 Commission will help support the effort and we will work with the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, the Virginia Flower Growers Association and the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers and others,” Latimer said. The state’s greenhouse producers will have time to grow the products so that they will be readily available for gardeners.

The initial garden design will be introduced in the spring of 2006 with plans for a fall 2006 garden and spring 2007 gardens. The design and suggested plants will be selected to provide success for even the most inexperienced gardeners in hope that they will continue gardening, said Ross Richardson, of the Jamestown 2007 Foundation.

Bonnie Appleton, professor of horticulture at Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Beach, David Close, Extension horticulturist and coordinator of the Master Gardener program, and Leanne DuBois, Virginia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agent at James City County are organizing the educational efforts for the production of the plants by the growers and retail businesses as well as the information for gardeners.

“We hope that Master Gardeners, 4-H Clubs and other civic organizations will show off the state through plants that focus on the red, white and blue,” said Latimer. “Our education material will feature a collection of native plants along with the colorful annual and perennials.”

“The plants and seeds along with the brochures from Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists will be available at many local retail outlets to welcome new gardeners as well as entice regular gardeners to beautify Virginia for America’s Anniversary celebrations.

Information on how to plan an America’s Anniversary Garden is available at http://www.ext.vt.edu/americasgarden/index.html.

Virginia Cooperative Extension provides the research-based educational resources of the land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to individuals, families, groups and organizations especially in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. It operates through a network of on-campus and local Extension educators who provide leadership for programs that bring the resources to help all the citizens of the Commonwealth.