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HerbFest Touts Drought-Tolerant Plants

A sea of sweet-smelling green has overtaken downtown Wake Forest's Festival Park. Drought-tolerant plants are a showcase at HerbFest 2008, which runs until April 27.

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Around 20,000 people will look at, pick and chose from a world of herbs spreading across a downtown Wake Forest street for the next 10 days.

The tiny plants are also a drought-friendly way to spruce up your garden, herb enthusiasts said.

HerbFest, which began Friday, has only grown bigger in the 10 years since Bob and Elizabeth Johnson founded it, the husband-and-wife team said.

Bob Johnson said the outdoor festival atmosphere is perfect for others pick up his enthusiasm for the herbs.

"When I can smell them and touch them and make potpourri with them and so on and so forth, I think they might be talking to me," Bob Johnson said.

"I like smelling them and seeing the different blooms that come out," festivalgoer Mary Beth Murphy said.

HerbFest should also be able to delight participants with other features, too, the Johnsons said. Ducks put on parades daily, and herb-infused food is served up while live music plays.

"Once we get them here, we like to entertain them," Elizabeth Johnson said.

Bob Johnson is also available to unearth interesting facts about herbs – such as, since they originated in more tropical areas, many herbs do well in dry climates.

"Many times people will get them, and they don't realize they're drought tolerant," Bob Johnson said.

Rosemary, sage and thyme are among the drought-friendly herbs. Those three herbs are all from the Mediterrean, so they do not require a lot of water.

You can also conserve water by planting an herb in a hole 3 inches wider than its pot.

HerbFest takes place in Wake Forest's Festival Park on South White Street. It is open daily until Sunday, April 27.

Most herbs sell for a little more than $3 a pot.


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