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2010 Fall Garden Expo will offer advice, education
By Emily Perry
Janet Bryant gets info from Mark Wheeler about Japanese Maples at the Fall Garden Expo at the Ag Center.

Need an ornamental shrub? Wondering how to plant that tree you've always wanted? Then look no further than the 2010 Fall Garden Expo hosted by the Hall County Master Gardeners.

"Fall is an excellent time of year to plant your shrubs, bushes and plants," Irene Michaud, president of the Hall County Master Gardeners, said. "It gives the plant the opportunity to establish a root system."

The annual fall expo will begin this morning at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.

Hall County's Master Gardeners will have a booth of volunteers available with advice for people who want to know what is best for their yard. "We will make recommendations and the vendors will, too. It's a good education event," Michaud said.

A special seminar on composting will be offered at 1 p.m. today and Saturday by Hall County Resource Recovery division's natural resources coordinator, Rick Foote.

"Composting happens without human intervention, but we want to make it happen by supplying guidelines and tips to do it even better," Foote said. "We'll have handouts and resources available including a list of things that should not be composted."

Another highlight of the expo will be the sale of composting bins and rain barrels. The Master Gardeners want residents to know that conservation of water is still a top priority in Georgia. "The rain barrels will be on sale at a pretty good price, too," Michaud said.

Today and Saturday there will be a booth run by the Junior Master Gardeners with representatives from the Master Gardener program, teachers and kids from Hall County schools. The program is funded through a grant given to the school system by the Hall County Master Gardeners.

"(The Junior Master Gardeners) are going to help sell bulbs and flats of plants. Whatever profits are made, that will be divided among the schools who had people come and help sell," Michaud said.

Indirectly, the fall expo provides grant money to fund the program for kids. The Master Gardeners have already awarded $3,000 to the Junior program in Hall County for the first half of 2010.

The Master Gardeners provide volunteer hours to parks in and around Hall County such as the New Horizons garden at the Medical Center, Wilshire Park and the Northeast Georgia History Center.

Attendance at the expo will help provide continued support of these community projects.

The expo will feature free gardening workshops, an array of garden products available for sale from more than 50 vendors and an "Artist's Row" with garden arts and crafts.

Door prizes, vendor giveaways and a raffle will add to the fun of the expo.

"Each vendor is supposed to donate something to the raffle," Michaud said. "Last year the main raffle prize was a ceramic fountain.

"It's a great time of year to get out and come see all of the plants and everything that we have available. It's just fun, it's going to be somewhat festive this year."

Admission and parking are free. Consessions will be for sale by the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center's food vendor.

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