Garden and landscape enthusiasts will flock to the Fall Flower and Garden Fest on Oct. 18 and 19 at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs for plant and health recommendations.

The largest home-gardening event in the Southeast will focus on more than healthy plants during the "Healthy Living - Healthy Gardening" festivities. A 1-mile fun walk kicks off this yearís event at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18. Free diabetes testing will be offered throughout the event.

The 35th annual fall fest will take place from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. both days. Admission and parking are free.

Visitors can tour the 3-acre garden of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Additional gardens feature butterfly and hummingbird attractions, banana trials and shade-loving plants. Specialty crops, ornamental grasses, and both All-America Selections and Mississippi Medallion award-winning plants also highlight the grounds.

Master Gardeners, MSU specialists and others will conduct seminars throughout the fest. They will discuss managing ponds, beekeeping, composting and creating backyard wildlife habitats. Wagon-ride tours will be available all day. Walking tours on a variety of subjects -- flowers, vegetables, herbs, plant diseases, insect identification and high tunnels -- will be led by experts in these fields. Vendors will sell food and drinks.

One of the most popular areas each year is the plant sales area west of the pond, where more than 60 vendors will have thousands of plants, garden tools and yard art available for purchase. Returning this year is the very popular plant swap, which will allow visitors to bring a plant or two to exchange with others. Those interested can bring a half-cup sample of their garden or lawn soil for free pH testing.

Smartphone users can download an app to view the complete schedule of events for both days. For instructions and to download the app, go to

The MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station sponsor the Fall Flower and Garden Fest. T

he Truck Crops Station is located 25 miles south of Jackson on Highway 51. Travelers on Interstate 55 should take exit 68.

For more information, contact Rick Snyder, event coordinator, at 601-892-3731, or visit the event website at

The complete schedule is posted on the website.