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NMSU Extension to host Home and Garden Expo in Los Lunas on April 6

LOS LUNAS – Gardening is horticultural therapy for some people. Plants are non-judgmental, non-threatening and non-discriminating. They respond to the care given.


Man in white shirt.
Horticultural therapist Hank Bruce will be the keynote speaker at the Valencia County Home & Garden Expo, Friday, April 6. The Expo is presented by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service in Valencia County. It will be from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus, 280 La Entrada Road in Los Lunas.

A nationally known horticultural therapist, Hank Bruce, will be the keynote speaker opening the Valencia County Home & Garden Expo Friday, April 6, at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus, 280 La Entrada Road in Los Lunas.

The day of seminars and demonstrations for the home and garden is presented by New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences through the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service and the Valencia County Master Gardeners.

“The annual Home & Garden Expo offers a valuable opportunity to gain useful education from NMSU Extension specialists and industry experts on a variety of topics benefitting every homeowner or gardener,” said Laura Bittner, NMSU Extension’s Valencia County program director. “This year’s seminars focus on practical approaches in improving gardening practices, making the most of your garden products and sustainability.”

Following Bruce’s talk on horticultural therapy, the first session of the day will be about vertebrate pest management for the home and garden presented by Sam Smallidge, NMSU Extension wildlife specialist. Following this presentation, there will be two tracks of seminars for people to attend.

The home track will include presentations on food preservation by Debby Hasse, Master Food Preserver and Laura Bittner, Valencia County family consumer science agent; herb infusions by Lisa Wiseman, owner of Purple Sage Herb and Health; gardening for arthritis by Sonja Koukel, NMSU family health and wellness specialist; and purposeful container gardens by Marisa Thompson, NMSU Extension horticulture specialist.

The garden track will include presentations on seed saving by Stephanie Walker, NMSU Extension vegetable specialist; selecting and planting bulbs by Thompson; garden insects good or bad by Ashley Bennett, NMSU Extension integrated pest management specialist; and gardening by the month in Valencia County by Newt McCarty, Valencia County Extension agricultural agent.

Besides being a horticultural therapist, Bruce is a writer, hunger activist, teacher, speaker and former president of the Florida Chapter of the American Horticulture Therapy Association.

“In the field of horticultural therapy we use plants and the companionship with plants to soothe, heal and help each other cope with the difficulties that we all encounter,” Bruce said. “We say we use plants as healing tools, but the reality is that the people growing in the garden are instruments of healing, too.”

The Expo will be from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants are required to RSVP before April 2 by calling 505-565-3002. Registration is $5, which includes lunch.