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Gardeners flock to fall expo
Selection, access to experts thrill event attendees
Sylina Brooks stops to look at a selection of orchids for sale Friday afternoon at the Hall County Master Gardener’s Fall Home Expo at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center. The show features more than 60 vendors with plants, garden art and products for sale. The Expo continues from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today.

Sunflower, magnolia and snapdragon fans united Friday at the sixth annual Fall Garden Expo at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.

This is the first year that the expo has been expanded to a two-day garden lovers celebration. It will continue today from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The expo has 40 vendors from four different states. Along with shopping for their favorite plant, participants can make their own rain barrels for $25. There also will be a raffle for a potting shed/playhouse courtesy of Habitat for Humanity, as well as speakers discussing how to prepare plants for the winter.

The garden expo has been in the making for the past six months.

"It does not happen without all of the volunteers," said Beth Kendall, chairwoman for the Hall County Master Gardener’s Fall Garden Expo. "All of the Hall County Master Gardeners step up to the plate one way or another."

Unfortunately, the heavy rain that Georgia experienced lately hasn’t been helpful.

"The rain that we’ve had is tough on the plants," Kendall said. "Too much rain is almost like not enough rain. We never have a balance here in Georgia."

Although many people get excited about planting in the spring, Kendall explained that fall is actually the best time to head out to the garden.

"Fall is the best time of year to plant because it gives the plant time to establish its roots before it has to support the system above ground," Kendall said.

Susan Fink of Greenville, S.C., was at the expo with her company, Mystic Farm.

Fink said she has been coming to the spring and the fall shows for six years.

"It is a nice little show with very knowledgeable Master Gardeners," Fink said.

While Atlanta was hit with heavy rain, Greenville was blessed with only 3 inches. Therefore, for Fink, the rain "has helped green things up."

"It really brought back the pastures and the plants, and we haven’t had to water as much," Fink said. "We were in drought mode for a while."

She said she enjoys coming to the expo because of the facility and the people in charge.

Fink said this is the only show she has been to where the Master Gardeners will help people unload when they arrive and leave.

"That takes a tremendous burden off of you," she said.

Flowery Branch resident Amber Degnan was shopping at the Garden Expo. She currently is working on landscaping in her yard and was looking for some foundation plants.

"They have a great selection, and they have a lot of native plants, which I’m looking for," Degnan said. "They have both the plants and the trees so you can do your entire landscaping here."

Linda Karr, a Master Gardener from Stone Mountain, was at the expo with her company, the Garden Enthusiast.

"It’s great to interact with the people and see what they like and what their plans are," Karr said.

Kendall would encourage plant lovers to come to the garden expo because "they will find the best quality plants ever."

Although Kendall loves plants, it is hard for her to pick her favorite.

"It is a question like, ‘What is your favorite day?’" Kendall said. "Any day above ground is a good day. Plants are beautiful, and they provide our environment with so much; and there is really not a plant that I don’t love."

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