Garden Variety: Spring gardening gets underway with community events

Spring gardening activities are underway in northeast Kansas with two events this weekend and more on the way over the next few months. Here are the top picks for garden inspiration, networking and community building:

• Ninth Annual Kaw Valley Seed Fair — 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Douglas County 4-H Fairgounds, 2110 Harper St, Lawrence. Kid-friendly. Free admission.

The Kaw Valley Seed Fair was built around exchanging seeds of vegetables, flowers, and native plants. Too many seeds in a packet for your garden? Have seeds you collected from your garden that you would like to share? Want to try a few new things? Seeds for sharing will be laid out on tables and organized by type. Attendees may take seeds even if they do not have any to trade back, but are encouraged to bring envelopes or baggies in which to transport the seeds home.

Besides the main attraction of the seed exchange, the event hosts about 25 vendors, including Lawrence Farmers Market favorites and other local businesses and organizations with interest in gardening and/or environmental issues. There are educational talks throughout the day, and food is available for purchase.

• Kansas Garden Show — 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Kansas Expocentre, 1 Expocentre Drive, Topeka. Kid-friendly. Admission: adults, $8; children 12 and under, free.

The Kansas Garden Show fills the Expocentre with displays of spring flowers, greenery and just about everything garden-related. Expect greenhouses selling plants; landscapers, lawn care companies, and arborists showcasing their services; lawn and garden equipment vendors; educational booths; and a little bit of home-related (outdoor) services.

• Earth Day Parade and Celebration — 11 a.m.-4 p.m., April 21, 1141 Massachusetts St, Lawrence. Kid-friendly. Free admission.

The parade starts at Watson Park, near the intersection of 7th and Kentucky Streets, at 11 am and travels down Massachusetts Street to the celebration in South Park. There, according to event promoters, you can enjoy live music, yoga, local food vendors, environmental exhibits and children’s activities.

The Earth Day Celebration is organized by the City of Lawrence Solid Waste Division to connect community members with environmental organizations/businesses and to provide education on environmental concerns such as recycling, composting, land preservation, etc.

• Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair — 9 a.m.-5 p.m., April 28, Douglas County 4-H

Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St, Lawrence. Kid-friendly. Free admission.

The Master Gardeners host this event that is all about providing education on gardening with a celebratory atmosphere. Besides displays and handouts, experts in various gardening subjects will be on hand to answer questions and provide recommendations. They typically have a raffle or silent auction with garden-related items as a fundraiser during the event.

Stay tuned for more information about local plant sales and educational opportunities this spring.

— Jennifer Smith is a former horticulture extension agent for K-State Research and Extension and horticulturist for Lawrence Parks and Recreation.