July 25, 2008

Kentucky grown and nationally known, garden designer Jon Carloftis will speak Aug. 5 at the Baptist Heart Center Auditorium in Paducah. His appearance is part of the Gardener's Toolbox Series offered by the McCracken County office of University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

The program, "The Heart of the Garden," is sponsored by the Purchase Area Master Gardener Association and the Baptist Heart Center.

"With the heart center just opening up, we thought good health and gardening would be a good tie-in," said Dava Hayden, horticulture extension agent in McCracken County. "Gardening is a healthy way to get out, be active and promote good health."

And you don't have to have a lot of space to do it, she said.

"There's a lot that can be done with a small-scale space, so even people in the smaller spaces of Lower Town and the downtown portions of Paducah can try their hand at gardening," she said.

That's one of the reasons why the organizers of the event wanted to bring in Carloftis. A native of Rockcastle County and a graduate of the University of Kentucky, he moved to New York City where he made a name for himself designing rooftop gardens for notable New Yorkers. Today he is one of the premier garden designers in the country. His designs have been featured in publications that include House Beautiful, Country Home, The New York Times and Martha Stewart Living.

His presentation will include how-to tips for gardeners of all skill levels. A reception and book signing will follow his talk.

Organizers are inviting area gardeners to bring in container gardens to help set the atmosphere.

"We wanted to highlight some of their creativity and also inspire people to pull color into a small space with container gardening," Hayden said. "We're inviting Master Gardeners, garden clubs, and garden centers to bring in some inspiration pieces for the program."

She asks that those interested in bringing in a container garden contact her no later than 10 a.m. the day of the event.

Doors open at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at the Baptist Heart Center Auditorium in Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. The event is free and open to the public, but due to limited seating, reservations are required. Hayden said they will also have standby opportunities available on the day of the event.

"We'll allow in the first 200 people with tickets, and then we'll see where we are at that point," she said.

For ticket reservations or to sign up to bring a container garden for display, call the McCracken County extension office at 270-554-9520.

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