August 11, 2011 10:08:00 AM
"You can''t just sit around polishing your silverware. You got to get out and bring the kids, ''cause there''s so many cool things to see," proclaimed Felder Rushing, urging folks to come out to the Hitching Lot Farmers'' Market Saturday in Columbus.
Mississippi Public Broadcasting''s "Gestalt Gardener" will be at the market located at Second Avenue and Second Street North from 7 to 10 a.m.
A local market is a "horticultural carnival," he promised, a good place to pick up an intellectual buzz, to rub shoulders with people he calls the "real deal."
This will be the popular garden guru''s third visit to the Columbus market.
"Felder''s half-comedian, half-garden expert; it''s always just a treat to have him, and we work toward having him every year," said Amber Brislin, executive director of Main Street Columbus.
Organizers will have a limited number of chairs on hand for those coming to hear Rushing, but encourage attendees to bring a lawn chair along, just in case.
Rushing will talk gardening and answer questions throughout the three-hour market. He also plans to demonstrate making flower planters out of tires about mid-morning.
"And I might even tell a pirate joke or two," he laughed.
Garden buffs are welcome to bring in any weed or insect they''re hoping to get identified.
The garden expert will pull into Columbus, as always, in his trusty 1988 Ford F-150, the bed still sporting a portable garden.
"I do the truck just to show that anybody can garden anywhere," he said. The broiling heat has taken a toll on his "crop," but basil, rosemary and oregano have held up reasonably well. He even certifies that his truck garden is sturdy up to 80 mph -- and has the traffic ticket to prove it.
Gardening folk can be as "quirky as can be," said the horticulturist, "but quirky in a good way. I like to eyeball people who grew stuff ''cause they''re so earnest. I like to buy something from someone who grew it."
The 2011 season has so far been one of most successful at the Hitching Lot, said Brislin.
"From feedback from vendors, we know this has been one of the best, sales-wise."
Opening on Mondays from 5-7 p.m. has proven to be a sound move.
"It hits our faithful crowd that is always going to be there no matter the hours, but also attracts a completely different crowd that might not be able to get here on early mornings," Brislin added.
Copies of Rushing''s latest book, "Slow Gardening," will be available Saturday. "This is what I''ve been free falling toward a long time," he said. "It explains what growing grass and making up your bed have in common."
Starkville native and well-known children''s book author Laurie Parker will also sign copies of her book "Garden Alphabet" at the market Saturday.
For more information about any Hitching Lot Farmer''s Market activities, contact Main Street Columbus at 662-328-2471.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.