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Gardeners, its time to prepare you beds
Spring Garden Expo brings plants, experts to Gainesville
Plant lovers looking for the perfect plant fill the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center during the 2008 Spring Garden Expo. The Hall County Master Gardeners are hosting the same event this year too.

2009 Spring Garden Expo

What: Two-day plant sale
When: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center
How much: Free
More info: 770-535-8293

With gardening gurus, vendors selling Japanese irises, children’s activities and Hall County Master Gardeners giving gardening tips, this weekend’s Spring Garden Expo will have something for every plant lover.

The event put on by the Hall County Master Gardeners will feature around 50 vendors selling plants, garden art and garden products along with free mulch and compost.

Kathleen Holdash, chairwoman for the garden expo, said the best part of the event is that everything garden related is brought to one location.

“We bring in vendors from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia counties,” said Holdash, who has been a Hall County Master Gardener for three years. “They all come to one area and they come to us.

“We have probably 16 to 17 new vendors and of course our older vendors.”

The Spring Garden Expo will be Friday and Saturday at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center. The two-day expo will have events like gardening workshops presented by Master Gardeners. Hall County extension agent Billy Skaggs will be on hand with a workshop on current water restrictions and offering tips on growing tomatoes.

Holdash said author Pamela Crawford will speak on Saturday and will be signing her books, “Easy Container Gardens” and “Easy Gardens for the South.” “And the illustrations are just marvelous,” Holdash added.

An array of plants for your home and garden will be available, including annuals, perennials, daylilies, specialty trees and ornamental shrubs, hanging baskets, potted plants, herbs, ferns, hostas, hellebores and vegetables.

“A lot of the vendors are, of course, plant sellers. They have specialty plants; there will be native plant vendors, people with native azaleas, people with hostas and then there will be people that sell things like knock out roses, impatients,” said Lori Carson, president of the Hall County Master Gardeners. “The city gives away free mulch and free compost, and Habitat for Humanity Women Build is going to be selling pine straw for the first time.”

There will also be a hold and load service where Expo attendees can keep their purchased plants and load them as they leave, a Junior Master Gardener booth, children’s activities and a snack bar.

The Hall County Master Gardeners is a 180-member volunteer program offered through the Hall County Extension Office. The Master Gardeners donated nearly 15,000 hours to the community in 2008, and the Spring Garden Expo is one of the ways they give back to the community.

“The money (from the garden expo) goes to support all the projects that we do in the community; we’ve got 10 or so projects that need money to fund,” Carson said. “We maintain part of the garden at Wilshire Trails ... we have a butterfly garden at Elachee and we do habitat landscaping, we have the Cherokee native garden at the (Northeast Georgia) history center.”