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April showers dont dampen expo flowers
Annual gardeners event continues today at Chicopee Ag Center
Darrell Montonaro of Dahlonega pulls two flowering red bud trees Friday morning as he visits the Spring Garden Expo at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center. The annual event is sponsored by the Hall County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program and Hall County Cooperative Extension. It features dozens of vendors and experts offering free informational sessions. The Expo continues from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Admission is $2.

The annual Spring Garden Expo drew a large crowd on its first day Friday despite wind and a threat of rain.

The event, held by the Hall County Master Gardeners, gives shoppers a chance to peruse a variety of flowers, trees, shrubbery, yard art, vegetables and other gardening goodies.

Eager shoppers headed from the packed parking lot to the agricultural center, while others guided their full carts of purchases back to load up their vehicles.

Gainesville resident Kelly Strickland has been attending for “several years.”

“I look forward to it every year and mark the calendar because I love to garden. It’s my joy; gardening just makes you feel good,” she said as she added some peach-colored begonias to her nearly-full cart.

Strickland also picked up some colorful tuberous dahlias, pink bleeding heart flowers and a Mikawa yatsubusa, a type of Japanese maple tree.

“I had to look up the name,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s just gorgeous — this is the star.”

Vendors offered everything from grasses and vines to yard art and raw honey.

Returning vendor Nick Margaritondo has a booth of custom woodworking items he made from his shop, Nick’s Nack, including cornhole boards and birdhouses.

“I sold two bluebird houses before 9 a.m.,” he said. “I had two ladies come right up that remembered me from last year. This is probably my most popular item.”

Margaritondo also spoke of the wide variety of plants and merchandise offered by the expo.

“It really is neat. Things that are hard to find, people come from all over to look here,” he said.

The expo also offers speakers who deliver two free presentations each day, and food vendors providing refreshments.

“Anything to do with gardening you can find here: trees, flowers, vegetables, garden art, you name it,” said Ron Brechter of the Hall County Master Gardeners.

“It’s the largest two-day plant sale in the state of Georgia, and this is our 12th year, I believe, of doing this.”

Brechter also added that shoppers can ask any gardening questions at their “Ask a Master Gardener” booth. Free handouts and information from the extension office are available.

The expo continues today from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville.

Admission is $2 per adult, children free. Pets are not permitted. For more information, call 770-535-8293 or visit

Regional events