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Wednesday, May 23 News

Litchfield Crossings to hold celebration of spring

It will be a day of celebration for garden, outdoor and spring enthusiasts as the Litchfield Crossings shopping center in New Milford holds a “Get the Dirt” event this weekend.

Guest speakers and educators will include master gardener Michele MacKinnon, representatives from Goatboy Soaps, Lyme disease expert Ken Hoffman and author Beth Molinaro. Local maple syrup and honey will be available, and Richard Rosiello, of Meadowbrook Gardens, will share advice on landscape design.

Get the Dirt will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Panera Bread patio within Litchfield Crossings at 169 Danbury Road in New Milford. The rain date is the following weekend.

“We are thrilled to bring local garden enthusiasts to Litchfield Crossings on what will surely be a fun and interactive day,” said Kristen Gizzi, executive director of ECCO II Enterprises, which owns the shopping center.

MacKinnon will give three talks and conduct a short walking tour of the Litchfield Crossings grounds to point out the native trees and shrubs used for landscaping. The tours will be at noon, 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

“I always enjoy chatting about gardening with people,” she said. “Hopefully people will be able to visualize the plants in their own garden and maybe consider native plants instead of something flashy that is not native.”

MacKinnon, who described herself as a “gardenpreneur,” stressed the importance of using native plantings in landscaping because of the decrease in pollinators such as monarch butterflies and several varieties of bees. Pollinators, and other insects and birds, have evolved with native plants and rely on them as a food source. MacKinnon said native plants are also able to withstand the extremes of New England weather, and require less water and fertilizer.

“We have a virtuous cycle. The plants, birds and pollinators all need one another to thrive,” she said. “People benefit knowing they are creating a mini-habitat right in their own backyard.”

Native plants at Litchfield Crossings include juniper, bayberry, red osier dogwood, summersweet and winterberry holly.

Vendors will be on hand selling products such as soap, syrup, honey, plants and jewelry. Admission is free and a portion of the sales will benefit the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club.

Goatboy Soaps owners Lisa and Rick Agee will bring their baby goats and sell the company’s soaps and lotions. The Agees founded Goatboy Soaps in New Milford following their search for alternative foods for their son Bobby, who has severe allergies.

“He was able to tolerate goat milk and quickly became obsessed with all things goat. So did my husband and I,” Lisa Agee said. “Before long, we became the owners of two goats, which fulfilled Bobby’s dream”

Molinaro will sign copies of “Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Kind of America,” in which she has a short story published about her neighbor Sharon Elias. Molinaro and Elias are neighbors in New Milford. Elias will also be at the event selling her handmade jewelry designs, Charm of Hearts.

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Hoffman, the medial director of SOPHIA Natural Health Center in Brookfield, will discuss new information regarding ticks and Lyme disease. His presentation is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

Representatives from the Connecticut Audubon Society will discuss the organization’s new center at Deer Pond Farms in Sherman. The 835-acre property was bequeathed last year by the Kathryn D. Winston Estate.

Litchfield Crossings, which includes tenants such as Panera, Big Lots, Kohl’s, HomeGoods and Petco, holds several events on its grounds, including treasure trunk shows and antique car shows.

cbosak@hearstmediact.com; 203-731-3338

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