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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In the Garden: Expo gives gardeners time to learn, play, shop

Shoppers will find plants, garden art, tools, containers and much more at Saturday’s Garden Expo, which will be  at the Spokane Community College Lair. (Susan Mulvihill / SUSAN MULVIHILL/ FOR THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Shoppers will find plants, garden art, tools, containers and much more at Saturday’s Garden Expo, which will be at the Spokane Community College Lair. (Susan Mulvihill / SUSAN MULVIHILL/ FOR THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Garden Expo is every gardener’s dream event. When you combine a massive plant sale along with seminars and demonstrations that teach new skills, and throw in free admission and parking to boot, you’ve got a recipe for success.

Gardeners of the Inland Northwest have the Inland Empire Gardeners to thank for this wonderful annual event which is in its 20th year. It will be held May 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Spokane Community College Lair, 1810 N. Greene St.

“Garden Expo is not just about a mad dash for plants first thing in the morning,” as ViAnn Meyer, president of the Inland Empire Gardeners, puts it. “It is meant to be savored and enjoyed for the entire day. There will be interesting garden talks, great food, live music, activities for kids, a garden railroad set-up, a flower show inside the Lair, and many cool vendors and organizations that you can meet and talk to.”

This event is put on as a community service project by Spokane’s largest garden club. Their members volunteer their time to plan and organize it to ensure attendees have a delightful experience while being surrounded by all aspects of gardening.

In addition to hundreds of garden-related vendors, local gardening organizations will have information booths. Fifty new vendors will join in the fun, including Bonsai Akira Nursery of Portland and Courting Frogs Nursery, a Seattle-based business that specializes in carnivorous plants. All Decked Out Glass Art is a new art vendor featuring their fused glass wind chimes. Pyro Planters offers handcrafted planter boxes filled with succulents.

Just a sampling of local plant vendors includes Alpine Greenhouses, Blumenhaus, Desert Jewels Nursery, Elithorp Farm, Footehills Farm, Fruit Hill Farms, Gourmet Foragables, Lupine Nursery, Northland Rosarium, Prairie Sky Farm, and The Tomato Lady. To view a full list of vendors, go to the club’s website at tieg.org/garden-expo-attend and download the brochure.

The flower show mentioned by Meyer will be held by Floral Art Designers’ Judges Council inside the Lair Bigfoot Bistro.

Don’t forget that next Sunday is Mother’s Day. With all of the shopping opportunities at Garden Expo, it will be easy to come home with a special gift sure to please Mom. And if all of that shopping is fatiguing, there are 20 food vendors with a wide variety of options to rejuvenate you.

“This event is all about a celebration of gardening and the start of our growing season, the beginning of new life,” Meyer explained. “And this old gal known as the Garden Expo might have a little life left in her yet. And she might just surprise you.”

Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” Contact her at Susan@susansinthegarden.com. Watch this week’s “Everyone Can Grow a Garden” video on youtube.com/c/susansinthegarden.

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