MASSILLON  The 18th annual Beech Creek Garden Symposium was held at R.G. Drage Career Center in Massillon on Feb. 10. Hundreds attend the event every year with many coming from all over Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The event is hosted each year by Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve.

Gardening expert speakers also come from all over to share their expertise and tips with the attendees. The event includes workshops, a keynote speaker, raffle baskets, a silent auction, lunch and gardening vendors.

Melinda Carmichael, associate director of Beech Creek Garden said there were 20-25 vendors this year. She said February is a great time to hold the symposium.

"We have many people tell us that this is the perfect time to hold the event because it’s like a breath of spring in the middle of winter," Carmichael said. "The event does have a registration fee, but it is open to anyone interested in gardening. It’s a place for people to come to learn about horticulture, the environment and gardening. It’s also a fundraiser and we hold a silent auction and a basket raffle."

The keynote speaker this year was Dr. Laura Deeter, a full professor of horticulture at The Ohio State ATI in Wooster. She spoke on One Hundred Years of Front Yards: The Evolution of the Foundation Planting.

Workshops included 52 Weeks of Blooms & Color, Taking Nature’s Course, Container Garden Beauty, Gardening with Native Plants, Small space Veggie Gardening and a make and take workshop for Rock Rain Chains.

The make and take activity was taught by Carmichael. She was teaching a packed room how to make a river rock rain chain.

"The chain uses eight feet of wire and 17 rocks. It can transform a plain gutter downspout into a pleasing water feature," Carmichael said.

Vendors included those selling books, live plants, local honey, garden art, pottery, candles and much more. One of the vendors, Mary Allison of Sacra Natura (sacred nature) was selling all natural products including sage bundles.

"They are used for cleansing or grounding, you can burn them in a new home or a new apartment to clear the air," Allison said. "Burning sage can also be used to clean the air of viruses too. They can be used for spiritual or practical purposes."

For more information about Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve or about the symposium for next year, visit www.beechcreekgardens.org.