The Master Gardener Spring Fair at The Expo on Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, will feature plants, of course, but so much more.
You will find more than 5,400 plants covering 450 varieties that were grown by Master Gardener students, including 40 kinds of tomatoes, 28 varieties of daylilies, more than 50 types of annuals and 100 varieties of perennials, plus a vast array of ornamentals and trees. Best of all, the plants have been grown in, and so are acclimated to, the Rogue Valley.
And that's just the plants grown by Master Gardeners — local vendors bring thousands more.
Sponsored by the Oregon State University Master Gardeners, the show features free classes all day Saturday and Sunday, where you can learn about topics ranging from composting to pollinators to eliminating gardener's back pain.
The Plant Clinic will be there, too, so bring your plant, insect and disease problems, plus other gardening questions. You also can bring a sample of your well water for free testing for nitrates.
Last year, more than 200 children participated in the Children's Booth activities. This year, kids can learn how to make a cup from newspaper and plant a flower in it to take home. Later, it can go in the ground, cup and all. Kids also can make and decorate a sun visor, and a table will display ideas for recycling household items.
You also will find a great collection of pre-owned books at bargain prices, including gardening, cooking and craft books.
Something new this year is a textile center, featuring a variety of llama and wool crafters, plus quilters and spinners.
Many vendors will feature garden-related items from tools and lawn furniture to exotic plants and composting worms.
You may become so enthused that you'll want to become a Master Gardener yourself. People at the information booth can tell you about that, as well as the group's upcoming evening and Saturday classes. And don't forget to buy the two "Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley" books, written by Master Gardeners.
The Master Gardener program is self-supporting, and it awards grants to local schools, as well as a college horticulture scholarship each year. You can help support this endeavor by buying raffle tickets for three raised beds.
If all this activity wears you out, you can sit and listen to our local "Rogue Gardener," Stan Mapolski, as he broadcasts his radio show on Saturday morning. Or you can get a mini massage on your back.
Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission costs $3. Children 15 and younger get in free. Parking is free, too.
See you there!
Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.