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2010 garden expo continues at Chicopee Woods today
Lori Carter moves her cart around the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center Friday afternoon during the first day of the Master Gardeners’ Fall Garden Expo. The expo will continue 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today.

2010 Fall Garden Expo

When: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today
Where: Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville
How much: Free

Fall is the time for planting, and there are plenty of plants to go around.

At the 2010 Fall Garden Expo, hosted by the Hall County Master Gardeners, shrubs, potted plants and flowers abound for both beginning gardeners and serious green thumbs.

The expo started Friday at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center on Calvary Church Road, and vendors stayed busy as they pointed out their special perennials.

"This really gives local vendors the opportunity to sell and allows local people to come and buy locally, which we really encourage," said Tamara Dellinger, a Master Gardener and chairwoman of this year's Fall Expo committee. "This is the seventh year, and we have more vendors than in the past. We've been working hard all summer to organize this."

Nursery owners and garden experts came out from across North Georgia - and even some from North Carolina and South Carolina. Friday's traffic included serious gardeners, but today's crowd likely will feature browsers and families out for the afternoon.

"It brings the community together for an educational event, especially for those who want to start a garden but don't know how," said Irene Michard, president of Hall County Master Gardeners. "They can get directions about what to purchase and what grows well in certain sun and soil. This is also a good time of the year to plant to give them time to establish a good root system instead of being up and out and blooming."

Today's expo will feature John Grimm, a fiddle player from Dahlonega, around noon, and Rick Foote, Hall County Resource Recovery division's natural resources coordinator, who will talk about composting at 1 p.m.

Keep Hall Beautiful is teaching children how to compost by helping them create an edible treat. With an ice cream cone to represent the compost bin, children can pile on apple chips to represent fruit and vegetable peels, coconut flakes for mowed grass, cereal for raked leaves, stick pretzels for twigs, crumbled chocolate cookies for coffee grounds and gummy worms for earth worms.

"The environment is so very, very important, and we need to start kids off at a young age and teach them how to do composting," said Betty McGuigan, a Master Gardener at the kids' booth. "It's amazing how much compost material you throw out of your house. It makes excellent fertilizer."

At the nearly 50 vendors featured on site, shoppers can find thousands of plants and gardening tools, as well as antique watering cans, decorated hats, gardening books and lawn decorations. At the Jaemor Farm booth, Stephen Jackson said business was good - especially for the edible products.

"The blueberry and blackberry plants have been doing well. We've also got some good pumpkins over there, and, of course, everybody loves boiled peanuts," he said with a laugh while stirring a batch. "We also have baskets of fresh apples right from the farm. Those have been popular."

Among those browsing were Helen Stewart and Carol Ann Armstrong, Gainesville residents looking for a plant to grab their attention.

"We try to come every time we can. I'm not looking for anything in particular," Stewart said.

Armstrong had something in mind.

"I want to replace some of my plants in pots by the front door because of the hot summer," she said. "There are always great things here that you can't find anywhere else."