Gardening and Beyond with GROW Jamestown

Mike's Nursery, GROW Jamestown Garden Show sponsor & vendor.

Contributing Writer
Stephanie McCraw

On a sunny Saturday last year nearly 2,000 people from the greater Jamestown area participated in workshops, visited with vendors, and left with a better understanding of how to start or improve their own garden.

The GROW Jamestown Fair, an annual event held in the Northwest Arena, is scheduled for Saturday March 30, 2019 from 10a.m. until 4p.m. It is part of a much broader cultural movement toward sustainability and a need for education on regional bio-diversity.

The Secret Garden Flower Shop at GROW Jamestown 2018.

“It’s important that we embrace the native plants that grow in this climate,” according to Linnea Carlson, Public Market Manager for the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation. From containers and hydroponics, to succulents and herbs, gardening is flexible enough to fit different lifestyles, and the GROW Fair specifically shows how to incorporate it into urban neighborhoods.

One of the fair’s sponsors is the Chautauqua County Master Gardeners, a group through Cornell Cooperative Extension with experts in the field of gardening, and an excellent resource of information about our area. They are available to answer questions and offer support and advice about the right tools to get something growing.

Master Gardener Cheryl Wahlstrom will offer a workshop on “Protecting and encouraging native pollinators in your garden.” Melanie Smith from RTPI will discuss non-native ornamental plants and how they negatively impact the wildlife in our area, as well as offer different landscaping options with plants that perform important ecosystem functions.

Growing in Popularity

The fair began with 14 vendors in 2011. Because of enthusiastic community support it was moved to the Northwest Arena in 2015. Linnea Carlson said, “[From the beginning] the goal was always to further beautification and greening efforts. How we’ve grown shows the support of the community.” This year they will use both skating rinks with a total of 65 vendors.

“There is something for everyone at this event; gardeners, handymen, home owners, families, community advocates, and those simply looking for a fun, inexpensive time. Admission and workshops are free! We know that everyone who attends, whether they are looking to start a home garden or simply learn about local businesses to frequent, will learn something new!”

As in years past, the Title Sponsor is Mike’s Nursery in Lakewood. Mike will continue his tradition of donating free tomato seedlings to those attending. Persell Produce Patch is sponsoring children’s activities. See the list of sponsoring vendors on this page.

More workshops this year are geared toward home improvement and curb appeal. They are held throughout the day and last about 45 minutes each. The staff at JRC wanted to expand on what it means to “beautify,” including furniture refurbishing. Attendees can learn to mix milk paint, apply different top-coats, and work on a small project of their own.

A local realtor will be discussing ways to increase the property value of a home, and other professionals are scheduled to present on everything from construction to interior design.

Sherwin Williams will host a painting workshop and have information available on grants provided through the Paint Jamestown Program. The program, targeted towards the Southside of Jamestown and sponsored by UPMC Chautauqua, provides a booklet of historical colors for participants to choose from and matching funds up to $1,000 for exterior paint.

Community Gardens

Before joining the JRC staff, Linnea Carlson worked for the Chautauqua County Health Network and helped introduce tower gardens to area schools. Keeping food sources local and contributing to the health of people in Chautauqua Country is a passion of hers.

“The overall health of the people in our city is an area we can improve upon.” Carlson said. “Urban Gardening has been shown to drive economic development and contribute positively to people in the city.” Community gardens are another initiative from GROW Jamestown aimed at revitalizing vacant lots into garden beds that can be rented for a small fee. Renters can grow flowers and vegetables in high quality soil.

These gardens, found on Washington Street, Lakeview Avenue, and Allen Street, are part of a long tradition of using city land to the positive end of growing food together. From the JRC website, “During the 20 th Century, Jamestown and other American cities promoted community gardening during World War I (Liberty Gardens), the Great Depression (Relief Gardens) and World War II (Victory Gardens) to augment food supplies.”
JRC also started the Front Garden Recognition program back in 2011, with the goal to encourage city residents to play an active role in beautifying Jamestown. Volunteer surveyors look at overall maintenance and balance of plants, shrubs, trees and grass and acknowledge the garden with a GROW Jamestown sign.

Simple Advice

Whether we walk by our neighbor’s well – manicured flowers or glimpse pictures of a homesteader’s garden harvest, seeing how others dedicate themselves to a beautification project can inspire the most novice gardeners into projects of their own.

Linnea Carlson has some simple advice for all interested. “My advice is to take it one step at a time. There are so many ways to garden, and they are all such a beautiful thing. Come to the GROW Fair to make connections.”

For more information visit or for a full list of programs provided. To learn about renting a community garden, readers are encouraged to contact Mary Maxwell at or call 716-489-3493.

2019 GROW Jamestown Garden Fair & Home Show Workshops

Grow Your Own Shitake Mushrooms – Green Heron
Learn the basics for starting your own outdoor shiitake mushroom logs. See the tools for innoculating logs, find out if you have the right conditions for growing shiitake, and get ready to enjoy producing this delicious fungi.

Landscaping for Butterflies – Jeff Tome
Butterflies need more from your yard than just a few flowers. Butterflies need caterpillar food plants that range in size from giant oaks to tiny violets. Learn how to assess your yard for what butterflies need at all their life stages in order to create a more perfect place for them to live. Learning how to landscape for butterflies is not always intuitive, since a good mix of butterflies requires a good mix of plants, shrubs and trees.

Pollinators – Cheryl Wahlstrom MG
Protecting and encouraging native pollinators in your garden.The

Aliens in Our Backyards: Invasive plants, the problems they cause, and practical native alternatives for landscaping – Melanie Smith – RTPI
Landscaping with non-native ornamental plants has transformed suburban/urban ecosystems throughout U.S. into a landscape dominated by plant species that evolved elsewhere. Non-native plants do not support native wildlife effectively, and they often cause various environmental and economic problems. Native plants perform important ecosystem functions, and these benefits are important for people as well as for native wildlife. During this workshop, we will discuss some of the most prevalent examples of non-native and invasive ornamental plants in our region, and learn about native species that can fill the same purposes in landscaping efforts.

The good, the bad, and the ugly – Jamestown’s urban wildlife – Twan Leenders – RTPI
Urban habitats are wildlife habitats, and Jamestown is no exception. Our city provides critical resources for rare and endangered species, but also becomes a target for undesirable species, like the harmful pest Emerald Ash Borer, or increasingly disease-carrying ticks. Other species, like White-tailed Deer, may be well liked elsewhere, but can become a problem in urban environments for a variety of reasons. Conservation biologist and RTPI director Twan Leenders will provide an overview of some of the wildife-related highlights and challenges that are relevant to Jamestown and will provide helpful tips on how to prevent or mitigate urban wildlife issues.

Ask a Carpenter – Kurt Sturzenbecker
Where to begin kitchen and bathroom renovations. Electrical and plumbing upgrades and troubleshooting. Deck designs and material review. Siding, windows and door review.

Furniture finish with Milk Paint – Shabby Shrub
Learn how to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. Participants will mix milk paint, paint a small item, and apply different top coats. Take a small finished project home. Feel comfortable to start a furniture project with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint at home!

Easy Ways to Increase Your Property Value – Sharon Lisciandro
Small improvements to increase the property value of your home.

Design It Right The First Time – Maria Perron
Planning interiors with a professional can save time and money. We’ll inspire you with our work, demonstrate how you can save thousands with one simple form and how designing it right will alleviate stress of renovation.

Professional Painting Tips – Sherwin Williams
Selecting tools, preparing surface, identifying products for a professional paint finish. Learn about grant opportunities.

2019 GROW Jamestown Garden Fair & Home Event Sponsors

Mike’s Nursery
The Resource Center
Community Bank, NA
Master Gardners
City of Jamestown Parks Department
Jamestown Up Close

2019 GROW Jamestown Garden Fair & Home Show Vendors

Audubon Community Nature Center
Bath Fitter of Erie
Braymiller Builders
Buffalo Bonsai Society
Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity
Chautauqua County Board of Realators
Chautauqua County Lead
Poisoning Prevention Program
Chautauqua County Master Gardners
City of Jamestown Parks Department
Copper and Hide
Crown St. Roasting Company
Davis Concrete and Excavation
Dr. Green Lawn
Eat Smart WNY
Elizabeth Gifford
Findley Lake Fire Department
For Peate’s Sake Homestead
Green Heron Growers
GROW Jamestown
Havana Cuban Café & Pizzeria
Hickory Hurst Farms
Invisible Fence of Erie, INC.
Jamestown BPU
Jamestown Clown
Jamestown High School Garden Club
Jamestown Public Market
John’s Wood
Klein Basement Systems
LadySong Farm
Lakeside Works LLC
Lakewood Memorial Library
Linda’s Little Greenhouse
Love Your Weeds
Mike’s Nursery
Modern Windown of NY
Moonlight Electric
Nature’s Hues
Overhead Door Company of Jamestown
PC Pottery
Persell Produce Patch
PlantLife Clothing
Prendergast Library
Rabers Horseshoeing N Farm Supplies
Rena Pierce
Roger Tory Peterson Institute
Royal Wind & Solar
Second Chances
Sherwood Arts Complex Inc.
Shorty’s & Gifts
Silvertree Seniors of Jamestown
Stone & Outdoor Living
Sunshine Honey
The Basket Company
The Biodome Project
The Herb Mill
The Resource Center
The Secret Garden Flower Shop
The Shabby Shrub
The Sweetest Thing
Troyer’s Greenhouse
Two Lake Stuidos
Vase Place
Vintage House Design, Inc.
What a Crock