Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Plants, flowers, and gardening handcrafts of every kind filled the Cascade Park dance hall Saturday.
The annual New Castle Garden Mart brought in gardeners and those with green thumbs from around the area to peruse the plants and flowers, potted and ready to be planted. Dozens of vendors displayed their wares, and hundreds of visitors scoured the mart in search of that perfect gardening item.
David Spencer of New Castle was leaving the sale with his arms loaded down with bright hanging baskets of flowers, six in all. “It’s the day before Mother’s Day,” he said. “These are for my mom, my mother-in-law, three grandmas and my-great grandma.”
Among vendors, The Lawrence County Garden Club was one of the busiest. Amy Jo Labi-Carando of Neshannock Township was in charge of the club’s Garden Mart committee. She said ferns and herbs were the hot items at their table, selling out quickly after opening.
“People were here last night as we were setting up trying to buy,” she said.
Cheryl French from Union Township said that her hot sellers were peonies and irises. French grows all her plants at her home in her own gardens.
For the Walmo Garden Club, the hot item was the handmade hypertufa, a cement-like, leaf-shaped garden accessory embossed with leaves and other textures. It is meant to sit in a garden and be used to hold birdseed, butterfly feeders or even bird baths.
According to club president Nicole Vitale, the hypertufas came about when a member found the instructions online.
“Our club needed a project to make and sell, so we made these. Money raised from this project will be used to plant flowers in Pearson Park and to buy toys for the less fortunate at Christmas,” she said.
There was a large display of unique and original birdhouses created by local craftsman Ed Lipp, who has been designing, building and selling his birdhouses at the rate of about 125 a year, for more than 15 years.
If Lipp is a veteran in his craft, Wade and Diane Rose are relative newcomers to theirs. They design and build unique wind chimes. Rose says he got started because his wife really liked them and wanted one, but they were too expensive, so after retirement he tried his hand at making one. He has been having fun making them ever since.
“We are just getting started,” Rose explained.
Throughout the day, visitors could be seen entering the ballroom empty handed but leaving with their arms filled with plants, handcrafts, garden stones and hosts of additional items as the growing and gardening season officially got under way.