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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI's East Farm to host Open House & Crabapple Festival May 8

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 26, 2003 -- With a little help from Mother Nature, more than 170 crabapple trees of 50 varieties will signal the arrival of spring weather during the URI College of the Environment and Life Science's second annual East Farm Open House & Crabapple Festival on May 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This free event will give visitors a close-up look at the farm and its many activities, including discussions of lobsters in the Fisheries Lab, an insect zoo sponsored by the Bio-control Lab, and guided tours of the horticulture trial gardens.

A wide variety of plants will be on sale all day -- native plants from the R.I. Wild Plant Society, annuals and perennials from the URI Master Gardeners, shrubs and daylilies from the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District, perennials from the South County Garden Club, and crabapple trees from the URI East Farm Plant Evaluation Team.

Located just one mile south of route 138, the 70-acre farm is best known for its crabapple plantation, one of the largest crabapple collections in the country. The trees come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including pillar, pyramid, lollipop, spreading, weeping, and shrub-like varieties.

The farm is also home to greenhouses administered by the URI Master Gardeners and the URI Plant Sciences Department, an apple orchard and dozens of other trees and shrubs being grown for research purposes. Many plants are brought to East Farm from other parts of the country for testing to see how well they adapt to Rhode Island weather conditions.

The event will include tours of the farm, a cooking demonstration by Chef Normand Leclair, and demonstrations of container gardening, hydroponics,composting techniques, asparagus bed preparations, and many others. Master Gardeners will also answer questions and test soil ph (bring a soil sample).

Admission and parking are free. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information and a schedule of talks and tours, call the URI Gardening Hotline at 1-800-448-1011 or visit Crabapple Festival.