Master Gardeners prepare for Everything Garden Expo

The Oktibbeha County Master Gardeners will host the Everything Garden Expo, including vendors, guest speakers and children's activities, March 24 and March 25 at at the Mississippi Horse Park. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Master Gardeners will host the Everything Garden Expo March 24 and 25 at the Mississippi Horse Park.

The expo will feature guest speakers, vendors and children's activities, providing a family environment for all ages beginning at 7:45 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.

"We have some very well known speakers coming — Garden Mama, who is Nellie Neal, Gary Bachman and Jim DelPrince," Everything Garden Expo committee member Jim McKell said. "They're all very well-known in their field and very educated."

Garden Mama will also do her Super Talk radio show at the expo Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Other speakers scheduled to present are Jay McCurdy, Michael Hatcher, Jason Gordon and Blake Layton on Saturday, and Christine E.H. Coker, Michael Seal and Richard Harkess are set to speak on Sunday.

The guest speakers will present their programs in the seating area of the Mississippi Horse Park, with vendor booths set up on the arena floor.

Committee Member Jane Loveless said vendors will be selling everything related to gardening. This includes tools, plants, outdoor furniture, decor and outdoor kitchen supplies.

"We have a select group of vendors with a variety of things," McKell said. "We don't want just plants or just patio things. We want everything there is in regards to gardening."

McKell said vendors from across the Southeast will attend the Everything Garden Expo.

"We don't have many vendors from Starkville at all," McKell said. "Many of our vendors are from Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi too."

On Saturday, Chrissy Hamilton from Freedom Ranch Outreach Education will give a birds of prey animal education program at 11 a.m., and the Mississippi State University Extension Service will host "Farmtastic" hands-on agricultural exhibits at 1 p.m. Hands on Gardening Fun with 4-H will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Also during the expo, The Horticulture Club will have their annual spring plant sale, MSU Extension will set up a booth to answer any gardening questions and antique tractors will be on display.

Admission for the Everything Garden Expo is $5 for adults, and children under six get in free.

The expo will benefit Master Gardener projects, MSU agriculture programs and scholarships, and MSU extension programs. Loveless said the Everything Garden Expo was originally hosted by the Starkville Area Arts Council, who was looking for another event idea for Starkville.

"I was on the board, and they needed another event," Loveless said. "A lot of people love gardening, and it draws a lot of crowds. At the time, there wasn't another garden
show in this part of the state. So that's how it got started."

Loveless said SAAC approached Master Gardeners about the event, and now the group hosts and organizes the annual expo.

Loveless said she expects over a thousand people to attend the expo this year, based on how it has gone in the past.

"I think it is a very good thing for the whole Golden Triangle area," Loveless said. "Actually for the state, and I see that it's really coming together, and everyone will be really pleased, not just gardeners but other people who are interested in shopping, hearing the speakers, seeing the hands-on things and also the children's programs."