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Can you dig it?

Proceeds from Master Gardeners’ plant sale to benefit students from three-county area

By Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer

This article was published March 30, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

Master Gardener Sue Benge digs up daffodils at the home of Florene Phipps in Conway to be repotted for the plant sale.

Plant enthusiasts will notice several new things about the Faulkner County Master Gardeners’ plant sale set for May 10, but one thing remains constant — the purpose of the plant sale.

Money raised from the sale will be used to fund scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year to residents of Conway, Faulkner or Perry counties.

“We will award $4,500 in scholarships,” said Sandra Bradberry, chairwoman of the scholarship committee. “We will give one $1,500 scholarship and will distribute the rest of the money in scholarships at the discretion of the committee.

“Any high school senior or current college student may apply. Previous recipients may also apply.”

Bradberry said preference will be given to residents who are pursuing a postsecondary degree in a plant-science-related field, which includes, but is not limited to, horticulture, botany, agronomy, forestry, turf management and landscape architecture or design.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday.

Hailey Lachowsky of Conway received a scholarship from the Master Gardeners last year for her freshman year at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

“I absolutely love majoring in agriculture at Arkansas Tech,” said Lachowsky, the daughter of Ralph and Sherry Lachowsky. “Everything is so hands on and practical. Everyone knows everyone in the agri department, and all my professors help make my dreams achievable in whatever way they can.

“I hope to use this degree by teaching people in Third World countries how to grow crops and raise livestock to help them provide their families with a sustainable diet to live on and help future generations of farmers to come,” she said. “I am very grateful for scholarships like the one I received from the Master Gardeners. This scholarship will help me financially as I work to complete my education and receive my degree in ag-business.”

Scholarship applications are available online at

gardener. Completed applications need to be returned to the Faulkner County Master Gardener Scholarship Committee, 110 S. Amity Road, Suite 200, Conway, AR 72032. Scholarships will likely be awarded in early May.

For more information contact Kami Marsh, county extension agent for agriculture, at (501) 329-8344.

Jan Spann, publicity chairman for the Master Gardeners’ plant sale, said this year’s event has a new name and will be held at a new time and a new location.

“The Faulkner County Master Gardeners’ Plant Sale and Garden Expo will begin at 8 a.m. at the Conway Expo Center,” she said. “This is a new start time for us. It will begin at 8, not 7, as in the past, and will conclude at 2 p.m.

“Another new aspect of the plant sale is the addition of guest speakers,” Spann said.

Guest speakers will include the following:

• Rand Retzloff, the owner of Grand Design in Little Rock, who specializes in native shade and hosta plants, at 9 a.m.;

• Chris Olsen, TV personality and the owner of Botanica Gardens in Little Rock, at 10 a.m.; and

• Tamara Walkingstick, associate director of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, at 11:30 a.m.

“We will also have ‘how-to’ demonstrations in between these guest speakers,” Spann said. “I will do something on composting. Paula Adlong will talk about roses. Don Greenland will talk about bees. Mary Wells will discuss container gardens.

“And several others will give presentations as well, including Brian Campbell of the University of Central Arkansas, who will staff a booth on heirloom seeds.

“There will also be several vendors on sight with presentations; however, they will not be selling anything.”

Spann said there is no admission charge for the plant sale and garden expo. Plants will be priced from $2 or $3 for 4-inch pots to $10 or $20 for shrubs and trees in 3-gallon containers.

Master Gardeners have been busy lately digging plants and repotting them for the sale.

About 40 members were on hand March 20 for the first dig of the year at the Conway home of Betty Baxter. Spann said the group potted approximately 2,500 plants, including 1,800 plugs of various houseplants donated by Culberson Greenhouses, a wholesale operation in Mayflower.

“This is such a fun way to make money,” said Sheila Nash, president of the Master Gardeners. “Two scholarships are defined in our bylaws, but we gave four last year. It’s fun to give this money away, and the kids need it.”

Members gathered again Thursday to dig plants at the home of Florene Phipps in Conway and will meet Monday for a dig at the home of Julie Walker in Vilonia.

Additional digs will be held in April.


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