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Skaggs: Come to Garden Expo to buy locally grown plants, get expert advice
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The drought of 2007 is hopefully behind us, and with the recent rains, landscape professionals and homeowners alike are hopeful that 2008 will provide the opportunity to improve area landscapes and gardens with the addition of trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, hardscape materials and mulch.

Many such products are grown and produced in other areas. However, Hall County and Northeast Georgia are
experiencing a rebound in the number of local ornamental plant suppliers and growers. This includes both retail and wholesale, growing and shipping.

If you’re a local resident who commonly purchases landscape supplies at one of the large nationwide retailers, you may not know where to find locally grown plants and other landscape items.

If you’re interested in buying local plants from local folks, I would suggest visiting the 6th Annual Gainesville Garden Expo on Friday and Saturday at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.

The Garden Expo is sponsored by the Hall County Master Gardeners and Hall County Cooperative Extension. The Expo will kick off at 8 a.m. and be open until 6 p.m. both days. The purpose of the event is to provide local residents interested in gardening and landscaping an opportunity to purchase locally produced garden products, as well as receive the latest in horticultural information.

About 50 vendors are scheduled to be at the expo, selling a variety of items, including specialty plants, annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, power equipment, hand tools and lawn furniture.

Also scheduled throughout the day are demonstrations and seminars with water conservation and water-smart plant choices as the theme of all workshops. Learn about water-smart landscape practices, drought-tolerant plants, drip irrigation and other great topics.

And if you’re having trouble selecting the plants that will work best in your landscape or garden, stop by the Ask a Master Gardener booth for the latest information from locals who know. They’ll be glad to assist you with whatever garden dilemma you may be faced with.

The Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center is located just off Interstate 985 at Exit 20 on Calvary Church Road — just look for the signs. For more information, visit the Hall County Master Gardeners Web site at

Billy Skaggs is a Hall County extension agent. He can be reached at 770-531-6988. His column appears biweekly and at