Annual GardenFest at Belle Grove Plantation

The Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), supported by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association, will hold its annual GardenFest on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Virginia. The event will begin at 8:00 a.m. and conclude at 2:00 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Tours of Belle Grove’s historic Manor House will be $5 for visitors 12 and older and offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Master Gardeners will also give free guided tours of Belle Grove’s Teaching Garden.


The highlight of GardenFest is the VCE Master Gardeners’ Plant Sale. This annual fundraiser supports the educational programs offered by the Master Gardeners throughout the year. Plants will be priced at $5, and trees and shrubs will be $10. A list of the more than 3,000 plants for sale is posted at Cash and credit cards are accepted. Attendees should note that, unlike in past years, no wagons will be provided for transporting plants, so they should bring their own.


The plant sale is the ideal place to find Shenandoah Valley and Virginia native plants, plants for beneficial pollinators, unique trees and shrubs, as well as vegetables and herbs. “There will be hundreds of varieties, lots of natives, lots of perennials—a huge selection. All plants have information on them and a link to the Master Gardner website that has a huge database so that people can go to and look them up. It is a resource not many people know about,” said Ann Levi, one of the co-chairs of this year’s festival along with Kathryn (Kathy) Doyle and Joey Waters. Master Gardeners will also be available to answer questions about plants and gardening.


The event will also feature Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener education booths, unique vendors, informative non-profits, wildlife rescues, tool sharpening, children's activities, and “Secondhand Rose,” a Rummage sale for gardening and household items.


There will be a “buzz” of excitement in the kids area at GardenFest. Children will have opportunities to learn all about bees. They can make a bee bath to take home and plant seeds in an ice cream cone that is ready to plant. A Make and Take It Kit will also be ready for children to take home and create a native bee house to hang in a tree. Special guests will present information on Bees at 9:30 and 10:30am and a beekeeper will visit at 11:30 to show what she wears and tools she uses when taking care of her bee hives. There will also be a fun picture opportunity, games to play and face painting.


Attendees at Garden Fest can learn about bees, wildlife rescue or becoming a tree steward, Master Gardener, or Master Naturalist. In addition to the Master Gardener plant sale, vendors will have native perennials, trees, shrubs, mushroom logs, medicinal and culinary herbs, and houseplants for sale. There will also be merchandise and craft vendors including handmade wreaths, jewelry, air and wind chimes, and soaps and body products. Delicious food items will be available from the onsite food trucks.


At 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on the lawn behind the Belle Grove Manor House will be border collie duck herding demonstrations. Belle Grove will host the U.S. Border Collie Handler Association’s National Sheepdog Finals this September 30-October 6.


PHOTOS: Master Gardener Plant Sale at GardenFest and Plant Vendors at GardenFest


The Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association supports its members—Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers serving the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren. VCE Master Gardener Volunteers are educators who work within their communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management, education, and training. They continue their education each year to stay up to date on current issues and recommendations for home gardeners. Since 1993, they have coordinated educational events, projects, help desks and info booths, and gardening speakers throughout NSVMGA’s five-county area. They also teach horticulture to children, through a Junior Master Gardener Program and an annual memorial scholarship to area high-school students. GardenFest is the major fundraiser for NSVMGA.



Belle Grove Plantation is a non-profit historic house museum that is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site and a partner in Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Its grounds and gardens were designed and donated by The Garden Club of Virginia and are tended by dedicated volunteers with guidance from the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners. Belle Grove’s Teaching Garden contains useful and beautiful plants typical of those used by the Hite family in the early 19th century and it will be available for touring during GardenFest. Belle Grove is located off Route 11 at 336 Belle Grove Road south of Middletown, Virginia (exit 302 on I-81, one exit north of the I-66 interchange).


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