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story.lead_photo.caption Richard Davis keeps his trains running smoothly in the Central Arkansas Model Railroad Club display March 3 during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey

Our weather has been all over the place this month — highs in the 80s, lows in the upper teens. We have had thunder and lightning, hail, strong winds, with even a tornado in the northern part of the state — and this is February. Who knows what else is in store, but gardeners are ready to get growing.

A sure sign that spring is almost here is the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show, the state's largest gardening event. For a second year, the show is the first weekend in March, March 1-3. Once again it will occupy the Arkansas State Fairgrounds at 2600 Howard St. off Roosevelt Road in Little Rock.

If you didn't make it last year, you missed a great new location, so plan to check it out this year.

"Living Color" is the theme for the 2019 show. The hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets will cost $10 at the gate, free for children 12 and younger. Tickets can be bought online for $9.99 with a 75 cent handling fee; here is a shortcut link to the site: arkansasonline.com/216AGFS.

Garden gnome and flower markers in a vendor's booth March 3 in Barton Coliseum during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey
Garden gnome and flower markers in a vendor's booth March 3 in Barton Coliseum during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey

FOUR BUILDINGS

The move to the Arkansas State Fairgrounds was a good thing. There is ample free parking, and parcel pickup is a breeze: Customers can pull their cars up to Barton Coliseum or the Hall of Industry to have purchases loaded in.

The coliseum has plenty of space to showcase gardens and garden products.

The main displays and gardens are in Barton Coliseum and the Hall of Industry, but the Federation of Garden Clubs standard flower show and the How To stage are in the Arts and Crafts Building.

Educational speakers will be in the Farm & Ranch Building on Friday and Saturday, and Children's Hands-on gardening workshops will be held there Sunday.

To help people get from the parking lot to the various buildings, there will be a free trolley service running on a continuous loop all three days.

The Arkansas Flower & Garden Show began in 1992 with a goal to educate Arkansans on proper gardening techniques and to highlight the horticulture industry. The idea is to help make Arkansas a better and more beautiful place by promoting gardening and beautification.

Each year the proceeds of the show support college scholarships for students majoring in horticulture or related fields, and the show funds Greening of Arkansas grants to communities across Arkansas for beautification projects.

Since the grant program began in 2006, more than $95,000 has been given to communities across the state for Greening of Arkansas efforts on public lands. Guidelines and applications are available on the garden show website, argardenshow.org. Here is a shortcut link to the application: arkansasonline.com/216grants.

Dan Scheiman (left) and Uta Meyer talk up Audubon Arkansas in the Hall of Industry on March 3 during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey
Dan Scheiman (left) and Uta Meyer talk up Audubon Arkansas in the Hall of Industry on March 3 during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey

LEARN AND SHOP

The show is a one-stop shop for everything gardening related.

You can get ideas for your own yard by seeing how the landscapers designed their demonstration gardens. This year's gardens will be created by Antique Brick Outdoors/Better Lawns & Gardens; Grand Designs; Lopez Landscaping; the Ozark Folk Center; Roseberry Landscape Services; and River Valley Horticulture Products with Turf Master Inc. and Russell Wiggs Landscape Inc.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Friday in Barton Coliseum visitors can watch Joe Barnett from LR Land Design construct a garden from beginning to end in "Watch a Pro at Work."

More than 100 booths will be set up in Barton Coliseum and the Hall of Industry with educational exhibits and companies selling plants, garden-related materials and more. Gardeners can buy new plants for their garden.

The Arkansas Federation of Garden Clubs will present an award-winning Advanced Standard Flower Show. Exhibits will range from plant specimens to elaborate floral displays, along with educational exhibits.

SPEAKERS

While you are in the Arts and Crafts building, take time to listen to one of the many speakers on the How To stage; a new topic will be presented every 30 minutes. The schedule is online (or see accompanying story).

Friday and Saturday there will be four 60-minute presentations in the Farm and Ranch Building. The first will be John Gavin at 10 a.m. Friday with "Grafting Tomatoes: The Why's and How To's," followed by Carol Guffey at 11:15 a.m. with "Native Trees in the Landscape: Selection, Care and Maintenance."

At 1 p.m. Friday, Chris Hiryak will share "Farming in the Rock: Lessons From a Decade of Producing and Marketing Organically Grown Flowers and Vegetables in the Capital City."

John Baker will wrap up Friday's talks with "Ten Steps to Great Roses in Arkansas."

On Saturday the bee expert Jon Zawislak will speak at 10 a.m. on "Pollinators in the Garden." At 11:15, Nolen Buffalo will present "An Introduction to Aquaponics." Bob Byers will speak at 12:30 p.m. on "Garden Design Made Easy," and the last talk will be at 1:45 p.m. by Janet Carson with "Shade Loving Perennials."

The schedule of speakers is available here.

Little Rock Land Design included this wire sculpture in the impromptu landscape it created in front of one of four vinyl "house fronts" for the Landscape Challenge in Barton Coliseum during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey
Little Rock Land Design included this wire sculpture in the impromptu landscape it created in front of one of four vinyl "house fronts" for the Landscape Challenge in Barton Coliseum during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey

FOR KIDS

They haven't left the children out. Arkansas 4-H will be on-site all three days with activities for young people. The Tree Marshall will have some fun projects for kids of all ages, and a family scavenger hunt can be downloaded from the website.

Arkansas Audubon will host two activities from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday in the Farm and Ranch Building: "Backyard Birds: How to ID Birds in Living Color" and "Plants for Birds: How Native Plants Feed Birds."

Gardeners could make a day of it. Food concessions will be available at several locations with the main dining in the Blue Ribbon Club across from the Hall of Industry.

Everyone is ready for spring and getting out in the garden; the show is a chance to whet your appetite and prepare to start the season off right. More information is at argardenshow.org.

Horticulture expert Janet Carson's blog is at arkansasonline.com/planitjanet.

Botanical Gardens erected this impromptu landscape in front of one of four vinyl "house fronts" for the Landscape Challenge in Barton Coliseum during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey
Botanical Gardens erected this impromptu landscape in front of one of four vinyl "house fronts" for the Landscape Challenge in Barton Coliseum during the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Photo by Celia Storey

HomeStyle on 02/16/2019

Print Headline: Spring forward: Get ready to go green with next month’s Arkansas Flower & Garden Show

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