A taste of spring – Arkansas Flower and Garden Show set for Feb. 24-26



The show offers a wide selection of plants for purchase.

After the roller-coaster ride we have had with winter weather, we are all ready to have a taste of spring. That is just what you will get at the 26th annual Arkansas Flower and Garden Show Feb. 24-26 at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.

Local Roots is the theme of this year’s show, which will feature beautifully landscaped gardens, a full lineup of garden seminars, flower competitions, educational exhibits, children’s events and an opportunity to shop from garden vendors. Regardless of the weather outside, the sun is always shining inside at this must-see event.

The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show is produced by the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, Inc., a not-for-profit volunteer organization dedicated to promoting the discussion, dissemination, and exchange of the latest information and new ideas on gardening, landscaping, and horticulture practices to the public through educational programs and materials, demonstrations, displays and exhibits. The show opens at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, and runs until 7 p.m. with a special event called “Rock in the Garden”  including live music and food trucks. Saturday hours are from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. On Sunday, the show opens at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10, and children ages 12 and under are free. A three-day pass may be purchased for $15.

The show also has a philanthropic side. Proceeds support the Greening of Arkansas grant program, which provides grants for community beautification projects throughout Arkansas.  Over $50,000 has been given to communities across Arkansas to beautify public areas such as parks, community entrances and schools. Grants are awarded to non-profit and civic groups for beautification projects on public land. Grant amounts are up to $1,500, and 50 percent of the funds must be used for horticulture (trees, shrubs, and flowers). College scholarships are given annually to students attending a college in Arkansas and majoring in horticulture-related field. The show also works closely with the Arkansas Master Gardener program, utilizing hundreds of volunteers to set up and work the show. In return, the show helps sponsor the annual Master Gardener statewide conference.

In addition, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service will have a huge display showcasing raised-bed vegetable gardening, backyard poultry, water conservation, beekeeping, container gardening and more. The state plant pathologist will be on hand to diagnose plant problems, and the family and consumer science agents will offer tasty food demonstrations and tips on food preservation. Arkansas 4-H will have hands-on activities for kids of all ages each day. Master gardeners will be volunteering in many capacities at the show.

Vendors offer gardening accessories.

A new feature will be held on Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Landscape Challenge will showcase local landscapers constructing home foundation plantings at the show. Come see how they do what they do.

Hour-long seminars this year will be in the Pope and Fulton Rooms downstairs. Two concurrent sessions will be ongoing Friday and Saturday. In addition, shorter topics will take place all three days at the how-to sessions on the show floor.

Complete details on the seminar descriptions and speaker bios can be seen at www.argardenshow.org/.

The “flower” part of the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show includes blooming plants in display gardens and flowering plants for sale thanks to the efforts of the Arkansas Federation of Garden Clubs and the Arkansas Florist Association. Both have spectacular displays. The garden clubs are presenting “ART-rageous,” an Advanced Standard Flower Show. Many beautiful floral arrangements, plant specimens and educational exhibits will be on display. On Friday morning, the Arkansas Florist Association hosts a tabletop competition with competitors creating their masterpieces in front of show attendees. Once created, they will be on view for the remainder of the show.

Sunday is Family Day at the show. Children can attend two free Hands-on Gardening Workshops from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in the Fulton and Pope rooms. These make-and-take projects will delight the young gardener.

This is the premier garden event of the year, so you don’t want to miss out. For more information or to pre-purchase tickets online go to: www.argardenshow.org or call  501-821-4000.

Janet B. Carson is an extension horticulture specialist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.