It may seem like cold snaps will never stop coming through north Georgia, but soon enough it will feel good enough outside for Forsyth County residents to get back into gardens and flower beds to plant flowers, herbs and vegetables that will grow throughout this summer and fall.
This past Friday and Saturday, the red barn at the Cumming Fairgrounds was aswarm with happy, green-thumbed people, looking for new and unusual plants at the annual Forsyth County Master Gardeners Plant Sale.
According to Master Gardener Jackie Grote, the annual sale is an opportunity for people to come out, meet the Master Gardeners, shop for rare and exotic plants, and learn about ways to improve their gardens.
“The best thing about the Master Gardener shows is that we have plants that you cannot find anywhere else. We have heirloom plants, we have native plants, plants grown in our own gardens and just plants that are hard to find anywhere else,” she said, motioning to the aisles of plants on display at the show.
From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, people were able to peruse those aisles and chat with the master gardeners.
“About 80 Master Gardeners are involved putting together this annual event,” said Ellen Rupert, a Master Gardner and an organizer of the event. “It is our only event, and the money we receive from renting the barn and selling of our plants goes to all of the gardens in our community.”
Grote said that after the annual plant sale, groups of Forsyth County Master Gardeners are able to maintain gardens at the Forsyth County libraries and some Forsyth County Schools.
She said that this sale seemed like it was busier and better attended than any year yet.
“This event is important because it educates people to the wide range of possible plants they can put in their yard. They sometimes go and just see begonias and impatiens and boxwoods. We are much more than that,” she said.
One vendor who was at the sale Friday and Saturday, 20-year-old Matt Veccie, said that he has been a vendor at the annual sale for the past five years and has seen it grow larger and better attended firsthand.
“This is a great one here. I mean, this is probably the best show I go to. I go to probably 10 or 15 of them a year, and this is the best,” Veccie said.
According to Veccie, the nursery he works for, Delvecchio Nursery, grows and sells to more than 100 varieties of Japanese maple trees.
“My dad was always interested in them, collecting them, messing around with them, I just got interested in them, started growing them and turned it into a business,” he said with a laugh.
One patron of the sale, Pattie McDonald, who attended Saturday afternoon, said that she is an avid gardener and comes to the event every year to support the different groups involved in making it happen.
“I have got a lot of pots to fill ... I come out to support the high school Future Farmers and to just look at beautiful plants,” McDonald said.