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Saturday, June 9, 2018

June 23: learn from the Masters

Master Gardeners to showcase 20 demonstration gardens during Project Open House
Need a little garden inspiration? 

The University of Rhode Island Master Gardeners have just what you’re looking for. 

Gardeners from throughout the region are invited to attend Project Open House, a showcase of 20 demonstration gardens in all corners of the state that will be open to visitors for informal tours and fun activities.

The free event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 23.

“Our demonstration gardens are designed by URI Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers to teach community members about research-based gardening practices,” said Vanessa Venturini, state program leader of the Master Gardener Program. 

“Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and to discuss how to improve environmental quality through their gardening practices.”

The event is timed to coincide with National Pollinator Week, so each garden will feature pollinator conservation techniques. Three participating gardens are designed specifically to attract pollinators with season-long blooms – the Charlestown Schoolhouse Garden, Cumberland Monastery garden, and the URI President’s Formal Garden.

Other featured gardens include the Kettle Pond Native Garden at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visitor center in Charlestown, Mabel’s Garden at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, and the Wilcox Park garden in Westerly, all of which feature native plants in a garden setting.

Those interested in vegetable gardening should visit the Roger Williams Park Produce Donation Program garden in Providence, East Farm in Kingston, Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, and the Good Gardens at Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, all of which grow produce for local food pantries while avoiding the use of harmful pesticides.

Historic herb and perennial gardens will be showcased at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Prescott Farm in Middletown, Glocester Heritage Gardens, Smith Castle in North Kingstown, the Governor Bradford Garden at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, and the John Hunt Heritage Gardens in East Providence.
URI’s Graduate Village Community Garden, tended by an internationally-diverse group of gardeners, will teach about global food crops.

“The theme of the day is land stewardship,” said URI Master Gardener Alice Cross of Barrington, who volunteers at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Gardens. 

“Visitors to the participating gardens can learn new ways in which URI Master Gardeners are preserving biodiversity, creating habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects, planting native shrubs and trees and removing invasives, improving soil health, conserving water, and adopting non-pesticide means to control insects and disease problems.”

Many gardens will feature tours, scavenger hunts, children’s activities, soil testing and other interactive activities.

A complete list of participating gardens and their locations can be found at For more information, contact URI Cooperative Extension at 401-874-2900 or