Now in its 14th year, the annual Porter County Annual Gardening Show at the Porter County Expo Center is a favorite Region event. More than 2,000 people attended last year.
“Since it began as a Seed & Bulb Exchange in 2004, the Annual Gardening Show has become a popular regional event,” says Maureen Phillips, a master gardener and member of the Porter County Master Gardeners Association and chair of this year’s garden show. “Avid gardeners come from a 200-mile radius of Valparaiso from as far away as Indianapolis, Naperville, Illinois, and Saginaw, Michigan, to enjoy a day learning how to be better gardeners. This year the 14th Annual Gardening Show will open with 20,000 packets of seeds — twice the number as last year — and hundreds of bulbs to choose from at the Exchange. We believe our Seed & Bulb Exchange is the largest on-site event of its type in the country."
The show, which is Jan. 28, also features 15 different seminars and demonstrations including “how to” topics on basic gardening skills by national, regional and local gardening speakers to choose from throughout the day.
This year’s keynote speaker is Scott Beuerlein, horticulturist at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden whose presentation, How to Become a better Gardener — Faster, covers tricks and tips from his years of gardening experience. He also will present a seminar on Season Extenders about plants that provide late fall, winter and early spring beauty and are important not only for gardeners by creating year round interest but also provide food for wildlife.
Local television and radio host and Indiana accredited horticulturist George Brenn, owner of Four Seasons Landscaping Nursery, will help gardeners overcome their fear of shears in his seminar, Pruning 101: How Plants React to Pruning.
“One of the terms I like to use is prunophobia,” Brenn says. “People are afraid of pruning because they’re afraid they’ll make a mistake and the plant will be gone forever, the skies will fall down and the sun won’t rise ever again.
“There is absolutely no rocker science in pruning,” says Brenn, who gives seminars on this topic and others throughout the state. “It’s simply that people don’t know how to do it.”
Besides numerous seminars, the Seed & Bulb Exchange, raffle, Children's Corner educational activities and photo contest, there are more than 125 vendors and exhibitors scheduled to be at this year’s show.