Northwoods Adventure: Ready, Set, Grow! Garden Expo
Outside of Central Lakes College, it looks like the dead of winter: cold, snowy, and miserable. But inside, it’s full of life at the Crow Wing County Master Gardeners’ Ready, Set, Grow! Garden Expo.
“An event like this today is perfect because the weather is terrible outside, so in here, it’s a great event,” says Shelly Boser, retail sales manager of Landsburg Landscape Nursery. “They can come and learn and visit, network, find new vendors, find new places to buy plants.”
“It makes you want to go out there and go digging in the garden right now,” says Carol Becker, a master gardener who is also in charge of hospitality for the expo. “But obviously that isn’t going to happen right now.”
But until that day comes, class is in session. The expo hosts twenty different sessions where speakers educate the crowd on topics such as vegetables, beekeeping, and vertical gardening.
“First of all, we want to inspire them to take the knowledge they’ve gotten today and apply it to their own gardens and hopefully try some new things they haven’t done before,” says Pauline Condon, one of the co-coordinators of the expo.
“It gives me a lot of fresh new ideas for things that I’ve never thought of,” says Marie Esser, who attended the expo. “It also helps me answer those questions that I’ve come up with during the growing season that I wish I had some source for.”
The expo holds a silent auction where proceeds fund scholarships and community projects throughout the year. It also hosts dozens of vendors who love meeting the enthusiastic crowd.
“We’ve been here for probably seven or eight years, I’d say, having a booth and being speakers,” says Boser. “This group is really dedicated to plants and knowledge and they do a wonderful job.”
Year after year, the community comes back to meet new people and exchange ideas to improve their gardens once the ground thaws.
“I’ve already made two or three connections: people who I’ve never met before, people from out-of-town,” says Esser. “We exchanged email addresses…it’s a really good fertile ground for making connections.”
“We hope to continue to educate the public and inspire them to be better gardeners,” says Condon.