LITTLE ROCK – Two of the best-known names in Arkansas gardening will be featured speakers at the 2018 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds, March 2-4.


John Clark, distinguished professor and fruit breeder for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, is scheduled to speak at 11:15 a.m. Friday, March 2. Janet Carson, extension horticulture specialist for the Division of Agriculture, will speak at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, March 3.


Clark, known for developing breeds of blackberries grown on six of the world’s seven continents, will discuss the fruit’s well-suited temperament for home gardening. Clark’s presentation will highlight blackberries’ strongest attributes, and how to choose the best varieties for each garden, said Krista Quinn, executive director for the show.


Carson, who is also the state Master Gardener coordinator for Arkansas, will discuss how to make care for annual and perennial plants easier.


Other seminar speakers will include Patrick Byers, a regional horticulture specialist with the Webster County Cooperative Extension Service in Missouri; Jill Forrester, a farmer and floral designer who co-owns Whitton Farms and the Trolley Stop Market restaurant in Memphis; Carol Mendel, a lifetime Master Gardener with a background in interior design; and Allen D. Owings, professor emeritus of horticulture at Louisiana State University.


“We’re really excited about this year’s seminar schedule,” Quinn said. “We’ve got a lot of local experts who will be sharing their expertise. Whether you’re a beginning gardener or have plenty of gardening experience, you’re sure to learn something new that will help you be successful.”


The 2018 session of the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show will be its debut at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. The show will feature gardens, vendors, speakers and other activities spread out through several buildings on the grounds. The new location offers several improvements including plenty of parking, which is included in the ticket price.


“Moving the show to the fairgrounds has a lot of advantages,” Quinn said. “We’ll have plenty of secure and convenient parking and more space for our vendors and other gardening exhibits.”


Now in its 27th year, the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show is a non-profit organization that uses the vast majority of money raised through ticket sales and vendor fees to fund Greening of Arkansas grants, which help subsidize community beautification projects in public spaces throughout the state, and scholarships for students studying horticulture at universities in Arkansas.


To learn about gardening in Arkansas, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu. For Arkansas Flower and Garden Show details, visit www.argardenshow.org.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.


— Ryan McGeeney is with the U of A System Division of Agriculture.