Portfolio | Garden stuff galore

Posted: September 14, 2007

Gardeners can't ever buy enough high-quality, interesting plants and all manner of related stuff, which is one of many reasons to head for the fourth annual GardenFair at Winterthur this weekend.

Seventy plant and garden exhibitors from 15 states will be selling everything from tools and outdoor furniture to herbs and trees. Free gardening lectures, how-to demonstrations, and workshops also run throughout the fair.

Hank Schannen, owner of Rare Find Nursery in Jackson, N.J., in the northwestern tip of the Pine Barrens, is a GardenFair veteran. He'll literally be selling truckloads of Japanese maples, dogwoods and magnolias, viburnums and summersweets (Clethra alnifolia), echinaceas and clematis, and a favorite new hybrid Calacanthus.

'Venus' is a cream-colored, medium-sized shrub with a fragrance Schannen says "is like strawberries and melons."

This will be the first GardenFair for Kathi Lafferty, owner of the Mushroom Cap in Kennett Square. She'll be selling fresh local mushrooms by the pound - portobellos, white, shiitake, crimini, maitake, oyster and enoki - along with delectables like white truffle Parmesan popcorn.

"It's pretty good," Lafferty says. "You can taste the truffles."

And, at GardenFair, you can hear some big-name speakers. Among them are garden designer Gordon Hayward; photographer/plantsman Rick Darke of Landenberg; Panayoti Kelaidis, from Denver Botanic Gardens; landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy; and green-roof expert Ed Snodgrass.

- Virginia A. Smith

GardenFair starts today at 9 a.m. and ends Sunday at 5 p.m. at Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, on Route 52 six miles north of Wilmington. There are many ticket packages available, including a $15 general admission for tomorrow and Sunday. Kids under 12 get in free.

For information, call 800-448-3883 or go to www.winterthur.org/calendar/gardenfair.asp.

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