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Hall County Master Gardeners’ spring expo marks 20 years
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Plant and gardening enthusiasts visit the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center Friday, April 1, 2022, for the Hall County Master Gardeners annual Spring Expo featuring dozens of vendors and educational speakers. The expo continues Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. - photo by Scott Rogers

An upcoming plant sale may enable spring and summer gardens across Hall County to put their best leaves forward for the 20th year running.

Hall County Master Gardeners Spring Expo

When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 7; 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 8

Where: Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville

How much: $2 per adult, free for children

More info: 

Slated for April 7-8 at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, the Hall County Master Gardeners’ spring expo will connect gardening novices and extraordinaires with dozens of vendors and horticulture experts, landscape designers and plant-based artisans in addition to varieties of flowers, plants and trees and garden art ranging from elegant and sophisticated to funky and whimsical, according to expo chairman Stormy Costas.

Keynote speakers will also convey tips and expert-level insight on beekeeping, propagating camellias, straw bale gardening and tending to roses. Speakers’ presentations are slated for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days of the expo.

Though attendance has waned since the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Master Gardeners’ spring and fall expositions remain heavily trafficked, according to Costas, drawing roughly 1,500 to 2,000 visitors per day.

Costas anticipates the upcoming plant sale — considered one of the largest in the region — will be particularly popular among those affected by the holiday frost and freezing temperatures late last year.

“It devastated my yard, so I imagine other people are looking to replenish some of their supplies,” he said. “It’s a chance to find some unusual plants, fill one little spot you’ve been looking to fill for a long time (and) get ideas. Mostly, it’s finding plants to kick off your spring and summer season. We hope that it’s an exchange of concepts and ideas.”

A retired orthopedic surgeon and two-year member of the Hall County Master Gardeners, Costas said he’d always wanted to get into gardening, and the program posed the perfect forum to dig right in while carrying on the legacy of his late mother, a prolific gardener and visual artist.

“She was somebody who could grow absolutely anything, somebody who would go to the ‘dead’ category at the nurseries … and resurrect those plants,” he said. “I’ve never achieved that ability — I’ve tried.”

According to Costas, the Hall County Master Gardeners’ mission to beautify the county by educating individuals on the art and science of horticulture and gardening remains as important now as when the inaugural spring expo took place 20 years ago.

“Look at our lives — we depend so much on food, and it’s important to learn that food comes from the dirt. It doesn’t come from the grocery store,” he said. “It’s important that people understand that we have to take care of our environment.”