The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

April 25, 2010

Jo Ellis: May 1 promises full day of events

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The spring rush is on, and in Carthage all events appear to be converging on the magic date of May 1. Both the Master Gardeners plant sale and the citywide garage sale will be happening Saturday.

While the extended forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of showers, I’m sure it will be only a slight deterrent to dedicated gardeners and shoppers.

Early birds who arrive at the plant sale by 7:30 a.m. will have a wide choice to select from on the grounds at Powers Museum, 1617 Oak St. For weeks, Master Gardeners have been planting seeds and digging and potting up transplants so all you have to do is plant, water and fertilize.

Mary Bethel, who is coordinating the plant sale with Debbie Fedie, said Master Gardeners have been bringing in trees, shrubs, berry bushes (including American Beauty and mock orange), and annual and perennial flowers. There also will be grasses, ground covers and border plants such as liriope.

“We will have all kinds of vegetables and herbs. Tomato plants are always popular,” Bethel said. “We also have rhubarb, squashes and some of those little white egg-shaped eggplants.”

In the flower categories, she expects the perennials to include phlox, both creeping and garden types, along with day lilies, Siberian iris, columbine and chrysanthemums.

Bethel said there will be some unusual plants in very limited quantity — such as the Seven Suns tree from China. “It’s named that because the white blossoms have 7 petals,” she said. The tree grows 15 to 18 feet tall and differs from normal blooming trees because it blooms in August or September rather than in spring.

“We may even have some banana plants,” she said. Bethel, who is a transplant from California, said she was surprised to learn that banana plants can survive in this climate.

Hanging baskets, stepping stones and other garden décor will be available to help complete a beautiful look for your garden. Plenty of Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to assist in carrying and loading purchases, and passing out information on composting and raised-bed gardening.

The May 1 plant sale is the only fundraising event of the year conducted by the Master Gardeners. In addition to volunteering many hours of community service, the gardeners offer a gardening help line (417-358-2158) at the University Extension Office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from April through August.

The plant sale will remain open until 2:30 p.m., if plants are still available.

Assuming you’re still going strong, stop in at Powers Museum sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and view a traveling photo exhibit of 40 of Missouri’s 114 courthouses. The photographs are included in “Missouri Courthouses: Building Memories on the Square.” Dennis Weiser, photographer and author, said the survey represents an architectural variety of courthouses “from the early spare brick foursquare and the classical temple-front style to ... ornate expressions representative of the late 19th century (Carthage, for example) and streamlined Work Projects Administration projects of the 1930s.”

If you have a fourth-grader who is studying Missouri history now, this would be a great “field trip.”

Also on your to-do list, you can check out the citywide garage sales where you might find a bargain buy. Some of the garage sales will be open Friday so you can get a head start.

Finally, just a reminder of Carthage Historic Preservation’s Mayfest celebration that I wrote about last week, also going on Saturday at historic Phelps House. For details, people may call Judy Hill, 417-358-9688. Hope you get a reservation. And ladies, don’t forget to wear your hats in recognition of Derby Day.

Whew! May 1 is going to be a busy day.

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Carthage, Jasper County