East Coast Garden Center hosting Flower & Arts Festival

Spring is in full swing, and it’s time to get out in the garden and enjoy the beauty of nature and its floral display. Combining both aspects of the season, on Saturday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., East Coast Garden Center will hold its annual Flower & Arts Festival.

“We’ll have local artists that are here, en plein air. They’ll paint around in the gardens and some will be in the Cordrey Center,” said Linda Forte, events coordinator. “It’s really fun to see the artists scattered around the gardens. The artists are going to not only be painting, but they’ll also be selling some of their artwork. They’re doing a little bit of everything. So you can get all the good art and the flowers!”

One of the featured artists is Jan Bain, a local award-winning artist who will have her art on display in the Enrichment Center. Bain will also be on-site to offer a basic art class at 11 a.m. on Saturday, at a cost of $5 per participant.

“She’s really talented and she’s great with teaching, so if anyone wants to just dabble for a little bit, they’ll enjoy that. It’s for all ages, and they’ll be going home with a little project,” said Forte. “It’ll be a preview of the art class she’ll be teaching this summer.”

Also at 11 a.m. on Saturday, foodies can enjoy a free Cooking with Herbs class in the Cordrey Center, with Ginny Rosenkrantz.

“She’s the flower lady that’s on WBOC, and she’s with University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The fun thing with the herb class is that they’ll get a little trip into our greenhouse, where all of our herbs are, and we’ll be picking herbs right from there. That’s going to be really nice. We have so many, and they look great! It’ll be a fun spring moment.

“I’m hoping we’ll have some in the art class and some in the cooking class. It’s going to be really fun.”

During the day, those who visit the garden center can enjoy free hotdogs, drinks and even face painting.

“We have a lot of good things going on,” said Forte.

Along with the artists, East Coast will be showing off its stock of plants and flowers.

“Everything has come in. It’s wonderful! For next weekend, we’re going to be full with all of the flowers,” said Forte, noting that tropicals have just arrived.

The following day, Sunday, April 28, East Coast will also offer a free class with Barbara Bush, on starting your own garden.

“I want to encourage young people to garden, which is part of the reason we’re going into the schools and teaching about gardening,” explained owner Valerie Cordrey. “It’s beautiful, but more so it’s good exercise. It gets people outside. It gets kids off the computer.”

Cordrey said she hopes other people can enjoy gardening as much as she does.

“It’s instant gratification, the fact that you can go outside and pick your dinner, or your lunch, or a snack. It’s great fun. Whether it’s the beauty of the flowers or evergreens or watching things grow and develop and change all throughout the seasons.”

Along with the festival, East Coast also offers seniors 10 percent off plants every Tuesday, and also on Sundays for young families who are 35 or younger.

“We’ve got a lot of young people who are working here, and that’s when you really need the help.”

Forte said that the center is grateful that the community has embraced the festival.

“Oh, my goodness — we get a lot of folks here, and people look forward to it and put it in their calendar. People have been asking about it. It’s like a spring ritual, I think,” she said.

Forte added that Saturday’s festival is the perfect time to pick up a Mother’s Day present and enjoy the day with family.

“I just know it’ll be a fun family event. A lot of families come out, and there’s something fun for everybody to enjoy.”

East Coast Garden Center is located at 30366 Cordrey Road in Millsboro. For more information, call (302) 945-3489 or visit www.eastcoastgardencenter.com. East Coast Garden Center is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.