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Great time to grow garden excitement

There will be all sorts of cool plants for sale at next Saturday’s Garden Expo. (Susan Mulvihill)
There will be all sorts of cool plants for sale at next Saturday’s Garden Expo. (Susan Mulvihill)

This spring has been tough on gardeners. Our chilly, wet weather has made it difficult to get gardens started and has put a damper on most gardeners’ cheerful optimism about the new growing season.

The perfect cure for this is next Saturday’s Garden Expo, a free all-day event for gardeners. Put on by The Inland Empire Gardeners, it will be located in and around the Lair building at Spokane Community College.

This show, made possible by scores of volunteers who belong to the garden club, is the main event local gardeners look forward to each year.

Last year, more than 20,000 people attended Garden Expo, which gives you an idea of its popularity.

At this year’s event, more than 250 vendors will be selling plants, bulbs, tools, artwork and garden-related items.

“The Garden Expo is the perfect outlet for small business owners to bring their products to a larger marketplace and to promote their business,” says ViAnn Meyer, president of The Inland Empire Gardeners.

Some of the specialty nurseries featuring rare and unusual plants include B&D Lilies, Heavy Petal Nursery, Killdeer Farms Geraniums, Lily Pad Bulb Farm, Steamboat Island Nursery and Tip Top Tomatoes.

Local plant vendors include Alpine Greenhouses, Blue Iris Water Gardens, Desert Jewels Nursery, Fussy Hen Flower & Herb Farm, Jarms Citrus & Tropicals, Northland Rosarium, A Plethora of Primula, Roy Barton’s Dahlias and Wabi Sabi Japanese Garden.

Many local garden clubs will have information booths and Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions.

In case you get hungry, the SCC cafeteria will be open for lunch and there will be many vendors with tasty offerings to provide the sustenance you’ll need while shopping.

New this year is the show’s farmers market area.

“There will be a large tent housing 15 vendors selling plants, fresh bread, USDA meat and fresh produce,” Meyer says. “It’s all about educating the public on CSAs: Community-Supported Agriculture.”

The show’s organizer, The Inland Empire Gardeners, was founded in 1994 and has more than 400 members.

“Our members range from beginning gardeners through Master Gardeners and come in a variety of ages,” Meyer says. “One of the strengths of our club is the diversity of our membership, not to mention their enthusiasm.”

Every summer, the club holds the Garden of the Month contest, which is sponsored by Northwest Seed & Pet and The Spokesman-Review. It has been involved in many community service projects as well.

To learn more about The Inland Empire Gardeners, visit its website at

Meyer is particularly excited about this year’s Garden Expo.

“With the high price of gas,” she says, “where else would you find all of these vendors and this variety under one roof?”

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via email at