UACES Facebook ‘Rock in the Garden’ showcases local flavor at AFGS
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‘Rock in the Garden’ showcases local flavor at AFGS

By Benjamin Waldrum
The U of A System Division of Agriculture
Jan. 26, 2016 

LITTLE ROCK ­— Live music, local food vendors, cooking demos and a garden walkabout are on the menu for ‘Rock in the Garden’, an event benefiting the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show and the Dunbar Community Garden Project.

AFGS, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is Feb. 26-28. ‘Rock in the Garden’ caps off the first day, Friday, Feb. 26, from 5-7 p.m. at the Governors’ Halls of the Statehouse Convention Center.

“Arkansas is well-known for its natural beauty and its growing support of locally produced food,” said Holly Wyman, horticulturalist at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. “‘Rock in the Garden’ will inspire, educate, and entertain while highlighting the importance of local ingredients.”

Captiva, an alternative rock band based out of Kansas City, Mo., will headline the event.

The first hour is packed with cooking demos from some of Arkansas’ best: 

  • Gwen Jones, owner, Beast Food Truck, stationed at Grand Design
  • Jack Sundell, owner, The Root, stationed at Roseberry Landscape Services
  • Phillip Schaaf, chef, South on Main, stationed at Better Lawns & Gardens/Antique Brick
  • Kent Walker, owner, Kent Walker Cheese, stationed at Ozark Folk Center

 Walker will be making herbed goat cheese made from the goats that are part of the Dunbar Community Garden Project. “You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make goat cheese,” said Wyman.

The second hour features a garden walkabout with award-winning landscape designer Billy Goodnick. Goodnick began a career as a sought-after Hollywood studio drummer before an interest in the Japanese art of bonsai sparked a decades-long love affair with plants.

For 22 years, he was the city landscape architect for Santa Barbara, California, and has honed his mantra of “beautiful, useful, sustainable gardens” using an upbeat, funny and inventive delivery.

The interpretive garden tour runs from 6-7 p.m. and will begin near the ticket window in Toltec Lobby. Goodnick will discuss creating a personalized garden, how to use plants strategically for the best effect, and develop participants’ observational skills and garden vocabulary.

Goodnick hopes to inform as well as entertain.

“Everyone can have a garden that’s beautiful, serves their needs, and treads lightly on the planet,” he said. “Sustainable landscape design is a serious subject, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a few laughs along the way.”

Food vendors for ‘Rock in the Garden’ include Loblolly Creamery, with a special rose custard in honor of AFGS, Kent Walker Cheeses, Argus Cider, Ozark Candies & Nuts, and Post Winery.

The Arkansas Flower & Garden Show is the largest three-day celebration of gardening in the state. It brings together experts in the fields of plant cultivation, propagation, and plant disease prevention and management, as well as leading nurserymen, designers, naturalists and artisans, into one place. There are over 140 vendor booths at the show selling everything from plants, tools, furniture, and birdhouses to organic cosmetics, housewares, and jewelry.

This year’s event will be held Feb. 26-28 at the Statehouse Convention Center, 101 E. Markham Street, in Little Rock. Show times are Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is $10, with a three-day pass for $15. Children 12 and under get in free. Tickets may be purchased at the door the day of the event, or online.

The Arkansas Flower & Garden Show is organized by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with proceeds from the show funding scholarships for students majoring in horticulture or related fields at Arkansas universities and community colleges. Proceeds from the show also fund the Greening of Arkansas grant program, which provides grants to Arkansas communities for public spaces to enhance the beauty of the Natural State.

The Dunbar Community Garden Project is a two-acre, outdoor classroom serving students from the adjacent Gibbs International Magnet Elementary School and Dunbar Magnet Middle School.

For ticket information and a full schedule of events, visit


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.  

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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