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Skaggs: Plant expo focuses on drought
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Spring is here, and with it comes the urge to dig, prune, plant and mow. For many gardeners living in Northeast Georgia, a much anticipated event is finally here — the 2008 Spring Garden Expo!

Dave Rusk, president of the Hall County Master Gardeners, describes the event as the "greatest two-day plant sale in Georgia." The sixth annual Spring Garden Expo is set for April 11 and April 12 at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center located on Calvary Church Road.

If you haven’t been there, the Agricultural Center is a great venue. It allows for more vendors, more demonstrations, more parking and several display gardens which will be open to Expo attendees.

The Spring Garden Expo is sponsored by the Hall County Master Gardeners and Hall County Cooperative Extension. The Expo will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The purpose of the event is to bring together local residents interested in gardening and landscaping, providing educational opportunities and locally produced garden products.

Drought-resistant gardening will be the focus of this year’s Spring Garden Expo. Several of the free workshops offered during the Expo will share information on drought resistant plants, techniques for conserving water, and ideas for reducing water-loss from evaporation. Also, plant vendors will provide numerous varieties of perennial plants and shrubs that are drought-tolerant , as well as lots of advice for gardening in drought conditions.

More than 50 vendors will be at this year’s Expo. Plus, 25 regional plant growers and retailers will have the greatest variety of plants for sale anywhere in Georgia. This is a "must" event for the avid gardener. Garden tools and accessories, mulch, garden art, pottery and antique tools will also be available.

The Expo will feature interesting hands-on demonstrations and seminars beginning at 10 a.m. each day. The demos are for beginning and experienced gardeners alike. Master gardener experts will present topics such as pruning, composting, herb selection and care, soil preparation, landscape design basics and water-smart landscaping.

Other Garden Expo offerings include the "Ask a Master Gardener" information booth, a children’s hands-on gardening booth and door prizes provided by each vendor. In addition, a gardening shed will be raffled off with the proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity.

So, please bring your friends and family with you to listen, learn, shop, and share at the sixth annual Spring Garden Expo.

Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County Extension Coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.