This year marks a new era for the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show. March 2-4 are the dates for the 2018 show at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds at 2600 Howard St. in Little Rock can be a good thing!
The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. You will pay entrance fees at the gate, and free parking (and plenty of it) is included. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at the show’s website through Etix, or they are also available at the gate each day of the show. Single-day tickets are $10 at the gate. Children age 12 and under get in free.
The mission of the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show is to promote gardening and beautification. The show does this by providing one of the largest garden displays in the state each year, with exhibits showcasing the latest information on gardening, landscaping and horticultural practices. This year it will transform Barton Coliseum, the Hall of Industry, the Arts & Crafts building and the Farm & Ranch building. There will be gardens and displays, booths and more in the coliseum and Hall of Industry. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture has a large presence each year with plant diagnostics, beekeeping, information on home gardening and the Master Gardener program plus much more. The Federation of Garden Clubs’ standard flower show will be presented in the Arts & Crafts building along with a full lineup of dozens of how-to speakers, with a new topic every 30 minutes. In addition, longer seminars will take place in the Farm & Ranch building on Friday and Saturday, with UA horticulturist Dr. John Clark leading the lineup on blackberries for the home garden Friday at 9:30 a.m. To see the full lineup of topics and bios go to the website: argardenshow.org/attractions/gardening-seminars-2/.
For the second year in a row there will be a Landscape Challenge. Four local landscaping companies, Botanica Gardens, Hocott Garden Center, Eminent Terrain, and Little Rock Land Design, will face off during the challenge, which starts at 10 a.m. Friday, in Barton Coliseum. Landscapers will have just four hours to create a unique landscape for four house facades.
Every year kids love to learn about gardening and nature through the hands-on workshops held Sunday only. These are group sessions limited to 30 children each. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Sessions are free and will be repeated twice in the Farm & Ranch building.
The show is about education and there is a lot of learning going on during the three-day weekend, but it doesn’t end when the show is over. Profits from the show are used to provide college scholarships to students who are majoring in a horticulture-related field and attending a college or university in Arkansas.
Since 2006 more than $95,000 has been given to communities across the state through the Greening of Arkansas grant programs. These grants in amounts up to $200 are awarded to nonprofit and civic groups for beautification projects on public lands. Grant applications will be available in late summer and awarded at the show each year.
The Arkansas Flower & Garden Show is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in gardening. You will get ideas on how to landscape your yard by browsing through the large display gardens prepared by Antique Brick Outdoors/Better Lawns and Gardens; Grand Designs; Lopez Landscaping; Ozark Folk Center; River Valley Horticultural Products; and Roseberry Landscape Services. For the shoppers, there are more than 100 booths loaded with plants, gardening tools, garden art, books, and other garden related items. Top-notch speakers from across the region will be on hand Friday and Saturday to present seminars on everything from blackberries in the home garden, to drought-tolerant plants, home landscape problems and solutions, tough and new plants, plus much more. Shorter how-to sessions will be held in the Arts & Crafts building every 30 minutes all three days.
Mark your calendar now. You don’t want to miss out. For more information visit
https://argardenshow.org or call 501-821-4000.
Janet B. Carson is an extension horticulture specialist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.