Fall Fest Sneak Peek

A great event for gardeners

Fall Fest is coming soon – so be sure to save the date: Saturday, September 28 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Registration for workshops is now open.

Fall Fest registration

Join us for educational sessions and hands on workshops, plant sale, garden marketplace, information booths and more.  There is no charge for general admission to the event.

A series of reasonably priced workshops are available. We’ve summarized them below – simply register for the ones that interest you. We have 3 sessions each with different topics to choose from.

Session 1: 9:00 – 10:15 am

Lecture A –Picking Prolifically Pleasing Perennials

Ray Murphy, Master Gardener & Nemours Estate Gardener

Perennial garden

So many perennials, so many choices! Let’s take a look at both popular and lesser known perennials for your garden. We’ll discuss their care, and some of the different conditions to consider that will make your yard look beautiful! Fee: $20

Workshop A – Corn Husk/Sunflower Wreath

Beth Folkomer, Master Gardener


Join Beth and create your own Harvest Rustic Wreath to adorn your front door or gate. You have two choices to select (with your own creative touches, of course) a plain corn husk wreath or a sunflower corn husk wreath with pinecone seed pod. All supplies included. Limited to 15. Fee: $20

Workshop AA – Fern Propagation

Mary Tipping, Curator & Plant Recorder, Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College


Discover with other fernophiles how to cultivate fern species from spores – which is much easier than you think. Spores of two different fern species, related cultivation items, and an overview of fern reproduction will be provided in this class. Limited to 15. Fee $20

Session 2: 10:45 am – 12:00 noon

Workshop B – Natural Impressions in Air Dry Clay

Gerri Eunson, Alyce Zellers & Catherine St. Clair, Master Gardeners

Learn how to use air dried clay to capture nature. We will be creating a necklace with a pendant and a holiday ornament. You will leave with completed projects plus additional items to dry and finish at home. All supplies included. Limited to 15. Fee: $20.

Workshop BB – Tool Maintenance

Liana Baurele, Master Gardener

Tool sharpening

Looking for a simple sharpening method to bring your garden tools back to good form? Look no further. Armed with a complimentary sharping stone and illustrated directions, Liana can show you how to put a sharp edge on your dull garden tools. Bring 2 tools of your choice to work on. Limited to 15. Fee: $20.

Session 3: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Lecture C- Compost Forum

Sam Barnett, Chris Coulter, Teia Harding, Chantel Wildman, Master Gardeners

compost bin

Learn from our panel of master gardeners all of the correct steps required to produce your own ‘Black Gold’ from garden and kitchen scraps along with the different techniques to achieve this rich organic product. Fee: $20

Workshop C – Succulent Pumpkin Centerpiece

Gerri Eunson, Alyce Zellers & Catherine St. Clair, Master Gardeners

Succulent pumpkin

Create a stylish, fall themed decoration to celebrate the season. In this hands-on workshop, we will combine live succulents, moss, seed pods and dried flowers with pumpkins to create a festive centerpiece that will last through Thanksgiving. All supplies are included. Limited to 15. Fee: $20. This session is filled.

Workshop CC – Autumn Craft Workshop for Children & Adults

Teresa Albers, Master Gardener

This workshop consists of two activities geared to children (8 years +) and adults. Leaf rubbing is both fun and educational as children and adults learn together about leaf structure and identification while creating a leaf rubbing collage. Decorating mini pumpkins offers children and adults shared sensorial exploration and creative expression. Come and join Teresa in these Fall activities of joyful, creative self- expression. All supplies included. Limited to 5 adults & 10 children. Fee: $5 per child

You can also register for a boxed lunch, available at the event. Classes fill quickly to sign up soon.

Home Gardeners’ School 2019

The 23rd annual Home Gardener’s School will be Saturday, June 1 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

The Home Gardeners’ School is a day of gardening inspiration, learning from top regional gardening experts, and an opportunity to meet with fellow gardeners. 

This event is hosted by the Master Gardeners of Delaware County at the Education Center in Smedley Park in Springfield, Pa.

You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to attend this event. All levels of experience are welcome.

The day includes 3 activity sessions. Create your own perfect day by choosing your favorite activity for each session.

Bid in the silent auction to win unique plants, gift certificates, books, and other items of interest to gardeners.

And of course our Master Gardener Marketplace with a fabulous selection of outdoor planters: big, small, short and tall! Great for pollinator pots, veggies and ornamentals plus a variety of plants. Unique MG-made items found nowhere else.

Registration and shopping begin at 8:30 am. Our educational sessions are summarized below. You can register on line here.

9:00 – 10:15 Session Choices:

Lecture A – Nature Nurtures – The Power of Plants – Louise D. Clarke, Horticulturist, Morris Arboretum –  Enjoy a fascinating presentation on the scientific evidence that demonstrates the positive effects of the natural (outdoor) environment on both our physical and emotional well-being. Cost $20

Workshop A – Herb Vinegars, Dips & Spreads, Oh My! – Jane Nyiri, Master Gardener -Taste fresh herbs in dips and spreads and enjoy a hands-on experience in making your own herb spread and vinegar to share with family and friends. Recipes will be shared. Limited to 15. Cost $25

Workshop AA – Build a Bird Feeder – Frank Foxwell, Master Gardener – Join Frank in assembling your own birdfeeder for Baltimore Orioles, Catbirds and Scarlet Tanagers. Suitable for mounting outdoors, each feeder has locations for jelly, apples, and oranges. Bring portable drill (Philips head driver, 1/8” & ¼” bits) & hammer. Limited to 15. Cost: $25

10:30 – 12:00 Session Choices:

Lecture B  – Developing Curb Appeal – Duncan Himmelman, PhD, Mt. Cuba Center Educator – Learn how to revitalize your front yard to meets your needs, provides year-round horticultural interest and variety, and increases your property value. Cost $20.

Workshop B – Wood Base Moss Wreath with Clay Pots & Succulents – Joe Daniels, Master Gardener – Create a sensational wood base moss wreath with sedums in clay pots to decorate your summer garden. Hands-on workshop, plants included, bring gloves. Limited to 15. Cost $25

12:00 Noon – Lunch

Purchased lunch selection available through on-line registration.

1:00 – 2:30 Session Choices:

Lecture C – Let’s Look at the New Perennials for 2019 – Sharee Solow, Designer & Owner, Solow Horticultural Designs – Find out the best new plants for your garden this year. Sharee will review the “best of the best” new perennials for 2019, highlighting the ones that will thrive in our area. Cost $20.

Workshop C – Building Your Own Bamboo Trellis or Tuteur – Julia King, Master Gardener – Bamboo is a wonderfully versatile building material and one of the world’s most renewable resources. It’s lightweight, strong, and flexible, and it looks at home in most garden designs. Build your own ornamental trellis or tuteur for your clematis, beans or any other climbing plant in need of a little support on its skyward growth path. Limited to 15. Cost $25.

Workshop CC–Master Gardener –Summer Sippin’ Herb Container – Brenda Troutman, Master Gardener – Grown for their versatile use, herbs are some of our oldest plants. Learn their preferred growing conditions and the new ways to incorporate them into your garden and containers. Each participant will plant a beverage herb container to take home for their summer drinks. Limited to 15. Cost $25.

Annual Garden Contest 2019

Are you proud of your garden and believe it is worthy of notice?  Enter the Delaware County Master Gardener 2019 annual Garden Contest being held this summer.

For more than 20 years, the Delaware County Master Gardeners have been sponsoring a garden contest for Delco residents as a way to way to educate and empower gardeners to beautify their environment . 

The contest is open to individual gardeners as well as community gardens in both ornamental and vegetable categories.  We welcome all gardens that merit attention. 

Sub-categories for the contest include:

Ornamental Gardens:

  • Native/wildlife – use of native plants that attract and sustain wildlife
  • Pollinator Gardens – use of plants that attract bees, birds, and butterflies
  • Landscape Design

Vegetable Gardens:

  • Individual
  • Community Gardens
  • Youth Gardens
  • Novice Vegetable Gardens for first year gardeners

Garden judging takes place on June 14th for the ornamental garden categories and August 9th for the vegetable garden categories .

You can download a copy of the contest registration form here.

Winners will be notified by mail. First, second and third place winners in each category are invited to our Fall Fest in September 28th in Smedley Park to receive their ribbons.  

Plant and seed sales and swaps

Special thanks to Brenda Troutman for research

Delaware County and the surrounding area has many active gardening groups, gardening societies, arboretums, public gardens and historical sites that hold special plant and seed sales and swaps. We’ve collected descriptions of some of those sales below so you can plan your plant shopping adventures.

Many of these sales support various non-profit and charitable activities – so you can buy plants and do good at the same time. What could be better?

The Winters Heritage House Museum third annual Heirloom Seed Swap. Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 10am to noon at 47 East High Street in Elizabethtown, PA. More information here.

The Penn State Brandywine Sustainability committee plant/seed swap. Friday March 29th from noon to 1:00. Penn State Brandywine, Student Union Building , 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Media, PA 19063. For more information contact
Mary Fran. Email: Maryfran.mcl at gmail dot com

Providence Garden Club Annual Plant Sale. Friday, May 3rd, from 8 am to 1 pm and Saturday, May 4th,  from 8 am to 12:00 pm on the campus of Williamson College of the Trades, 106 S. New Middletown Road, Media Pa. More information here.

Tyler Arboretum Plant Sale. Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5, general public, 9am – 3pm both days. More information here.

Garden Club of Springfield 9th Annual Herb, Plant and Bake Sale. May 4, 9:00 am on Saxer Avenue on the grounds of the Old Schoolhouse. More information here.

Schuylkill Center Greenhouse and Native Plant Nursery Spring Plant Sale. Saturday May 4th & 11th 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Sunday May 5th 9:00 am to 2:00 pm:  8480 Hagys Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA. Click here for more details.

Central Pennsylvania Native Plant Festival and Sale.  May 4, 2019,  10AM – 3PM,  Boal Mansion, Boalsburg, PA.   Click here for details.

Manada Conservancy’s 19th Annual Spring Native Plant Sale.  May 4, 2019, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at Herbert A Schaffner Memorial Park, Parkside Ave, Hummelstown, PA 17036. Click here for details.

Scott Arboretum Selections: Spring Sale  Sat., May 11, 2019 – Member only shopping, 10 am – 12 pm,  free and open to the public, 12 – 3 pm. More information here.

The Brandywine Conservancy annual Wildflower, Native Plant and Seed Sale. Saturday, May 12–Sunday, May 13, 2018  – 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. More information here.

King’s Gap Plant Sale and Spring Garden Days.  10 am – 4 pm -May 11, 12 – 4pm May 12,   500 Kings Gap Rd, Carlisle, PA. More information here.

Delaware County Master Gardeners Home Garden School and Plant Sale. Saturday, June 1 form 10:00 to 3:00 at Smedley Park, 20 Paper Mill Rd, Springfield, PA. More information here.

Did we miss your favorite local plant sale? Include the information in the comments below and we will add it to the list.

Become a Master Gardener

Are you a gardening enthusiast who:

  • Loves learning about horticulture including best practices based on scientific research?
  • Has a desire to promote environmental stewardship?
  • Is willing to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others?
  • Is dedicated to supporting your local community through volunteering?

If so, consider becoming a Penn State Extension Master Gardener!


Join a group of like-minded gardeners and have fun volunteering while creating lifelong friendships.  You do not need to be a gardening “expert, just enthusiastic, willing to learn and willing to share your knowledge with others. Penn State Extension provides training and wonderful continuing education opportunities.

“What I love about being a Master Gardener is the combination of great friendly members, ability to learn about and access terrific information about all aspects of gardening, and the willingness of members to share tips and help fellow members resolve “thorny” problems. I’ve been a Master Gardener for 16 years and it’s been nothing short of enjoyable on every level! “


Applications for becoming a Master Gardener will be accepted through April 26, 2019.  Interviews will be held in mid-May, and the Master Gardener Basic Training for Delaware County begins in mid-August.

Basic training includes 15 classes taught by Penn State University and Extension staff and a hard-covered Master Gardener Manual with over 750 pages.  The Basic Training fee is only $200, and a limited number of partial scholarships are also available.

The classes will be held at the Government Services Building, 601 Westtown Rd., West Chester. (Delaware County is jointly training with Chester County). They will be on Thursdays from 12 noon until 3 pm, beginning on August 15th and ending on December 5th. Please contact us if this conflicts with your schedule, as we may be able to make alternate arrangements.

Master Gardener trainees are required to participate in a minimum of forty hours of basic training, score 80% on the final exam, and fulfill 50 hours of volunteer service. More details on qualifications, requirements, and steps to become a certified Penn State Master Gardener can be found on the Penn State Extension website.

For more information or to apply, please contact the Delaware County Master gardener Coordinator – Linda Barry – at lrb16@psu.edu or 610-690-2655.

“What I admire about the Master Gardener program is that it potentially unites people through an interest in gardening, while promoting timely sustainability and responsibility for the environment. “


“As a Master Gardener, I love sharing the joy of gardening with others and educating the Delco community about research-based best horticulture practices and promoting respect for the environment.”


Home Gardeners School

hgs-2-webSave the date!

The 22nd annual Home Gardener’s School will be Saturday, June 2 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

The Home Gardeners’ School is a day of gardening inspiration, learning from top regional gardening experts, and an opportunity to meet with fellow gardeners.  This event is hosted by the Master Gardeners of Delaware County at the Education Center in Smedley Park in Springfield, Pa.

hgs-4-webYou don’t have to be an experienced gardener to attend this event.  You just need to be curious about some aspect of gardening that you may want to try in your own back yard.

You can even plan your own day based on your interests.

We are featuring a selection of workshops and lectures. Create the perfect day by choosing one of the following combinations:

  •             2 Lectures and 1 Workshop
  •             1 Lecture and 2 Workshops
  •             3 Lectures

The day is broken into 3 sessions, just choose one from each session:

Session 1 at 9:00 am:

Lecture: Common Plant Problems – Emelie Swackhamer, Extension Educator – Montgomery Co. – Find out what may be ailing your favorites and what remedies to employ. In this session we will learn how to identify and manage some of the more common problems found in your vegetables and ornamental plants.

Workshop: Pruning: When and How – Ray Murphy, Master Gardener – Sharpen your pruning skills with Nemours Estate gardener, Ray Murphy.  Ray will discuss pruning tools and types, and the best times to prune.  Then go out in the field and find pruning opportunities to practice your skills!

Workshop -Vegetable Seed Starting  – Cynthia Sabatini, Master Gardener – Learn to grow cool weather vegetables from seed in the summer. We’ll cover timing, soil conditions, germination rates, fertilization and water requirements, controlling pests and diseases, and other cultural needs to ensure healthy crops.

Session 2 at 10:30 am:

Lecture – Planting Your Rain Garden – Constance Schmotzer, Consumer Horticulture Educator, York Co. Ext. – Rain gardens do double duty in our landscapes.  As they function to clean and infiltrate storm water they can also become an oasis for wildlife with wonderful colors and the sights and sounds of butterflies and songbirds.  Learn how to choose plants that “work” in your rain garden.

Workshop- Painted Leaf Impression Tote Bags – Carol Stahle & Jeanne Quintavalla, Master Gardeners – Create a unique canvas bag, hand painted with real leaf impressions.  Supplies, technique, and creative support are all included.  Bring clothes protection, if desired.

Workshop – Plant Propagation – A Hands On Approach – Sinclair Adam, Extension Educator & Horticulturist – Lebanon Co. – This course will be an applied practicum in plant propagation.  Students will experience propagation of woody and herbaceous plants by cuttings, by division, by seed, and by tissue culture. Stock plants will be provided, as well as all required planting materials.


Session 3 at 1:00 pm:

Lecture – Surefire Trees for the Home Landscape – Dave Sanford, PhD, Ornamental Horticulture, PSU – Berks Co. – Considering the pest and disease problems affecting our more popular trees, we will look at better choices for today’s home landscapes.  We will consider how to select the best trees for both the small and larger properties to reduce long-term maintenance as well as provide the desired ornamental and environmental qualities.

Workshop – Foam Trough Planters – Mary Teresa Lopata & Elisabeth Dalrymple, Master Gardeners – In this session, we will make lightweight planters for your garden from recycled Styrofoam that looks like stone.  Learn this technique to create fairy gardens for your garden and more.  Bring clothes protection, if desired.  This is a fun re-purposing craft!

Workshop – Plant Propagation – A Hands On Approach – Sinclair Adam, Extension Educator & Horticulturist – Lebanon Co. – Repeat of above.

hgs-3-webDon’t forget the Master Gardener Marketplace.

Have fun shopping for fun, funky, and practical garden art, MG-recommended tools, pre-planted planters, Master Gardener-made creations, and locally sourced perennials and woody plants. Our selection is different every year so come early for the best selection!  All sales support our many community programs.

Gardening Questions? Ask our on-site Master Gardener Hot Line experts about your everyday garden and plant questions. Let us help you with “How To” tips for some of the most common situations.

The cost of the day’s programs including lunch is $65.

For more information or questions contact: Linda Barry, Master Gardener Coordinator, 610-690-7669 or lrb16@psu.edu