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Green thumbs gather at Hall County Spring Plant Expo
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Susan Palmer gets some help picking plants Friday from Alan Vining with Leilani’s Garden in Dawsonville at the County Spring Plant Expo at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center. - photo by Tom Reed

Garden lovers are gathering this weekend at the Hall County Spring Plant Expo at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center in Gainesville.

Today’s event runs 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is sponsored by Hall County Master Gardeners and the Hall County office of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

Expo leaders say their goal is to educate people in the community about plants and gardening.

“Our motto is ‘beautification through education,’” said Linda Chastain, chairwoman of the Publicity and Media Committee for the Hall County Master Gardeners. “I learn so much every time I come to the expo. ... I bought plants today I’d never heard of before.”

“In the spring, we typically have around 3,000 (people at the event),” said Mindy Wade, co-chairwoman of the expo and a master gardener. “This is the 12th year we’ve been doing this. We started out at the farmers market and outgrew that space quickly, so we moved here to the arena.”

Wade said that about 1,200 people came to participate Friday.

The event includes a variety of activities and products. There are not only plants, but antique gardening tools, pottery and children’s activities, which feature a visit from Smokey the Bear and lessons on how to grow beans. There are also educational seminars led by garden experts for adults. The expo also features food vendors and many door prizes.

“As Master Gardeners, we want to beautify the community, but we also want to educate the community,” Wade said.

Participants have the opportunity to ask the master gardeners any gardening questions they have.

Everything at the expo is done under the University System of Georgia Cooperative Extension, which means advice given is based on educational research.

“If you can get everything under one roof with knowledgeable growers, why not do so?” Wade asked.

Admission is $2 for adults; children are admitted free.

All the funds raised at the expo will benefit the organization’s community service and educational programs that run throughout the year.

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