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Festival time in the gardens

It’s festival time at Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens.

The public is invited to come celebrate the joys of gardening and warmer weather at the Festival in the Garden, Saturday, June 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain or shine, free admission).  

There will be something for everyone:  a 5K Run/Walk, flower show, silent auction, kite flying, speakers, workshops – and lots of food, music and fun.  This first annual gathering will help raise funds to continue the growth of the gardens, provide educational programs and develop the Cotton Mill site.

The day kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with runners and walkers assembling for the 5K loop around the gardens and past the woods.  The first 50 runners to enter will receive an embroidered T-shirt.  

The festival officially opens at 9 a.m. with the National Anthem.  Then the garden club flower show will welcome arrangements from garden clubs around the area and neighboring counties. These floral creations will be entered into the silent auction. The auction, open throughout the day in the big tent, promises to offer some interesting and valuable items for lucky bidders to take home.

For kids, there will be a kite-building competition.  Make a colorful kite and then let the wind catch it out on the rolling hillside.  A make and take station to pot up flowering plants will be available – and face painting, too.  

Stroll among the arts, crafts and food vendors and sample the home-made ice cream.  

Workshops will teach about worm farming (9:15 a.m.), making hypertufa pots (10 a.m.), beekeeping (10 a.m.), creating fairy gardens (11 a.m.), and attracting Purple Martins (noon).  

Hypertufa planters are an easy, lightweight alternative to clay or ceramic containers.  They are quickly made from a mixture of Portland cement, peat moss and perlite which is packed into a form and allowed to harden.  Make your own pot and then learn how to put together a whimsical world in miniature for a fairy garden ($5 fee for gairy items and supplies). 

Come hear experts talk about new developments in the world of roses (10 a.m.) and daylilies (11 a.m.).  

Visit the Native American Sculpture Garden where artist Dan Shaw will talk about Native American gardens, herbs and plant use.  Walk the woodland trail to learn about trees and understory plants.

Bluegrass, country and gospel music on the new stage will keep feet tapping all day featuring Mark and Linda Satterfield at 10 a.m., Ollie Adams and the Slick Rock Pickers at 11 a.m., Rhonda and Steve Powell at  noon; Kyle Martin and the Halifax Hillbillies at 1 p.m. and Nellie Zamora-Jones and Anna Jones O’Neill at 2 p.m. 

Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens is located within Paul C. Edmunds Park and is one of the best-kept secrets in South Boston.   

It was established in 2010 by Halifax County Master Gardeners to provide a clean, green space to research and showcase flowers and plants. The gardens are a place to teach children about growing things – and a place for everyone to relax and enjoy blooming displays and wide green lawns.  And on June 8, it’s a place for family-friendly fun.

For more information, visit their website,   


The Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens is at 3170 Dan River Church Road, South Boston.  Follow the festival signs from 501, 360 and Dan River Church Road.  Turn at the Paul C. Edmunds Park entrance sign – then take the first right turn past the Cancer Memorial plaza.