The Stark County Master Gardeners' held their ninth annual symposium, Botanica 2017: Ideas and Inspirations, in Massillon Saturday.

MASSILLON Melinda Stewart cut a whole into the corner of plastic bag filled with dirt and showed the crowd how to neatly line the bottom of a glass jar.

Then she walked the group through adding layers of charcoal, moss and soil before selecting plants to place inside. 

Stewart, a Stark and Summit County master gardener, led a demonstration Saturday on "Creating a Beautiful Terrarium." It was one of several demonstrations during Botanica 2017: Ideas and Inspirations, the Master Gardener Volunteers of Stark County's ninth annual symposium.

The event at R. G. Drage Career Center was open to area master gardeners and the public and included talks and demonstrations as well as an auction, vendors and a garden shop.

"It's going really well," said Elaine Regas, the Botanica committee chair. "It's just been growing and growing every year."


More than 100 gardeners from around Ohio attended Saturday's event, Regas said.

The event has been a great learning experience, said Linda Wurthner of Cortland, a Trumbull County master gardener.

Gardeners are always looking for "a good all-day even to get together and learn," added Carol Caronite, also a master gardener from Cortland. "Seeing it done in person is better than reading about it."

Wurthner purchased the materials to make a terrarium and was eager to get started after Stewart's presentation.

The friends also planned to pass on their new knowledge to friends who couldn't attend.

It's just what gardeners do, she said.

"Gardeners are never done learning," agreed Clara Miller, owner of the Perennial Post in Mesopotamia. "We're always learning from each other."


Botanica is the organization's largest fundraiser. Proceeds from the event go toward future fall symposium programs and the organization's community projects.

The event also raises awareness of the master gardener volunteer program.

The program, part of the Ohio State University Extension, works to bring horticulture information, education and training to the community and its members. It offers several community activities, such as an heirloom seed bank at the Stark County Library and a free garden information line. They also have a speakers bureau that provides expert presentations for local organizations.

Master gardeners are an underutilized community resource, said Judy Daigen, president of the Master Gardener Volunteers of Stark County

"We want people to know about it. It's a great resource for the community," she said.

For more on the organization and how to get involved, see or call 330-832-9856.

Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or

On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.