As sure a sign of spring as fresh blooming daffodils peeking through the warming soil, Charlotte’s Southern Spring Home & Garden Show opens Friday for a a two-weekend run.
Entering its 56th consecutive year, the show is widely attended by gardeners, homeowners and legions of do-it-yourselfers. Show-goers scour 280,000 square feet of landscaped gardens, home interiors, accessories and boutiques looking for ideas, inspiration and advice on landscaping, building, remodeling, decorating and home reorganization.
This year’s theme is “World of Spring,” emphasizing outdoor living and extending home living space, according to Mardee Woodward, executive show manager with Southern Shows.
There’s also an increased emphasis on area and regional artisans who are exhibiting accessories for the home, both indoors and out.
“We have a large number of artisans and craftspeople such as sculptors, metal workers, potters and mixed-media artists with beautiful accent pieces for the home,” said Woodward.
Another new feature finds the show’s home and garden stages combined into a single large stage in the exhibition hall’s central lobby. The new space focuses on integrating home improvement, landscaping and design with the trend to outdoor living.
Also new this year is a showcase on backyard wooden playsets and play equipment. Representatives from Charlotte Playsets will share expertise on kid-friendly rubber mulch, play equipment, tree houses and trampolines.
“While there are a large number of returning exhibitors, almost half of the show’s 375 exhibitors are appearing for the first time,” said Woodward.
Among the new exhibitors are area boat clubs. Show-goers can learn about these increasingly popular groups that give members access to boat usage through dues and fees without the hassle of owning and maintaining a boat.
Help for DIY projects
Do-it-yourself project help and advice are routinely among the most popular exhibits at the show.
Back this year is the “Ask a Designer” exhibit, where show-goers can receive a free interior design, space planning or color consultation with members of the Interior Design Society of Charlotte. To make the most from these sessions, experts suggest visitors bring room diagrams, measurements and images to share.
Those interested in building, remodeling or home renovation can meet with vendors to get advice and product recommendations on how to do the job right. Bathrooms, kitchens, flooring and outdoor decking are extensively featured at the show.
Always popular are the elaborate gardens and seemingly exhaustive variety of flowers and plants found at the show. Many area garden and nurseries will have plants for sale.
“We’re featuring 18 unique gardens that represent various styles and countries,” said Woodward. “We have special African, Chinese and Japanese gardens.”
For the home cook, look for cooking demonstrations from Willow’s Bistro, Harper’s, Mimosa Grill, Fig Tree, Mama Ricotta’s, The Secret Chocolatier and others.
Celebrity guests this year are experts and personalities likely familiar to many Charlotte home and garden enthusiasts.
J. Schwanke, fourth generation florist, author and uBloom website founder, will speak on arranging and enjoying flowers. Nearby South Carolina resident and personality Pearl Fryar will share stories from his wildly creative 3-acre topiary garden at his home in Bishopville.
Sustainable garden enthusiasts should look for Joe Lamp’l. The creator and host of the PBS series “Growing a Greener World” will share stories from some of his most popular episodes.
“My message is for people to go out and experience the joys and wonders of gardening, growing your own food and connecting with the earth,” said Lamp’l. “We have a choice in how we make things grow. I want to share with people how they can garden in a responsible way.”
Southern Spring Home & Garden Show
When: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and March 4, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and March 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday and March 6.
Where: The Park Expo, 800 Briar Creek Road.
Tickets: $9-$11. Seniors $7, Fridays only. Children under 15, free with paying adult.
Details: 704- 376-6594, https://southernshows.com/sss.