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Event showcases ornamental horticulture nursery and water conservation garden


April 6, 2011 (Rancho San Diego)--A garden party of sorts is on tap Saturday, April 9, at Cuyamaca College, but don’t expect cucumber sandwiches, tea, and the soothing strains of Pachelbel’s Canon in D at this event. Instead, an international food court, a “bug zone,” and petting zoo for kids, a plant sale, horticulture demonstrations, arts and crafts vendors and exhibitors, and much more is in store at the 18th Spring Garden Festival, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The free event features two sites at the college: the nursery operated by Ornamental Horticulture students and The Water Conservation Garden., operated on campus grounds by an independent nonprofit board, The Friends of the Water Conservation Garden. Shuttle buses will be available to transport festival-goers between the sites and parking lots. Parking is free.

With a theme of “Conservation in Bloom,” Cuyamaca College’s Ornamental Horticulture Department will hold its biggest plant sale of the year, featuring a large assortment of ornamental and drought-tolerant plants, and The Water Conservation Garden will offer sustainable gardening advice throughout the day.

About a quarter of the student-operated OH nursery’s total proceeds from the year are made at the event. Sales from the nursery supplement the OH program’s regular funding, helping to pay for supplies and equipment, said Don Schultz, acting program coordinator.

“In these tight budget times, the extra monies from the nursery operation are all the more important,” Schultz said, noting that the nursery is a learning lab for students on the identification, care and landscape uses of Southern California’s ornamental trees and shrubs.

Open to the public, operating hours for the small, but well-stocked nursery are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. In addition to the plant sale at the nursery, the festival will feature horticulture demonstrations of pruning, irrigation, pest management, masonry construction, plant identification and floral design by OH students. Gardening clubs and other organizations will be represented.

The popular event typically draws more than 6,000 people, thanks to the many activities and attractions made possible by the support of sponsors, including the Cuyamaca College Foundation, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Agri Service Inc., Hunter Industries, Inc., Wells Fargo Bank, and many others.

“The garden festival is the perfect family event, both educational and entertaining,” said Robert Garber, interim college president. “It’s also a way to showcase the Ornamental Horticulture program and to increase public awareness of The Water Conservation Garden we have right here at Cuyamaca College.”

At The Water Conservation Garden, festival-goers can get tips on water-smart landscaping, composting, and vegetable gardening. People of all ages will want to meet resident barn owls, “Hoot and Holla”, and their owlets, viewable during the event through The Garden’s live Owlcam, which broadcasts at

“The festival provides an opportunity for thousands of people to see just how beautiful water-wise landscaping can be, and to learn a lot about it from experts, in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere,” said Marty Eberhardt, executive director of The Water Conservation Garden.

For more information about the Spring Garden Festival, call the OH department at (619) 660-4262, or the Water Conservation Garden at (619) 660-0614.

The garden is located 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West in Rancho San Diego. For maps and driving directions, go to

Web links to the programs of each event partner can be found at .


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