The Waxahachie Civic Center was overflowing with attendees for the 2011 Master Gardeners Lawn and Garden Expo.

Spring was in the air as patrons meandered through the more than 75 exhibitor booths of garden related services and products including machinery, herbs, plants and garden clubs.

“We have over 100 Master Gardeners working today,” said Gail Haynes, expo chair person and Master Gardener since 2008. “We are expecting about 3,000 people to attend today’s event.”

Melinda Kocian who has been a Master Gardener since 2004 said the event is a lot of hard work and the gardeners begin cultivating plants for the spring plant sale in the fall.

“We grow the plants ourselves. We have a sort of marriage with Waxahachie High School and they graciously allow us to use their greenhouse to grow our plants for the sale,” said Kocian who served as publicity chair for the Expo.

There was no shortage of interesting displays to attract the attention of those looking for ideas to enhance their landscape. Award for the Most Outstanding Booth went to EarthTones of Midlothian and the honor for Most Creative Booth was awarded to Garden Inspirations in Waxahachie.

The most popular attraction was the Master Gardeners plant sale. Arms were brimming over with greenery and flora as gardening enthusiasts perused the extensive selection.

Red Oak resident Charlsye Cason knew exactly what she was looking for.

“This is that rose that survived Katrina. I especially came for this. I love the outdoors and love working in the yard.” Cason said she was also shopping for herbs. “I mingle them with my flowers and it give me enough to make me happy. This is an annual affair and I love it.”

Manning the plant sale was Mattie Thompson, a Master Gardener since 2004. She cultivated roses, turk’s cap and Datura L. for the sale.

“Most of the plants are grown in Master Gardener’s yards,” Thompson said. “I’ve come to all of the Expo events. I like to get new plants and love to see the excitement on the faces and telling people how to grow in Ellis County. The education is so important because of the soil in this area.”

Visitors engaged the vendors to discover new ideas and gardening solutions.

Mary Rollins of Tex-Scapes in Ennis was participating as a vendor for her second year. The company offers landscape services and a retail nursery. She said flowers have been most popular at the event with everyone enjoying the spring weather.

“This is a fun event and I also come as an avid gardener,” Rollins said.

But the event wasn’t just for gardeners and plant enthusiast. The children’s activity section offered hands-on activities for the young sprouts to make bug catchers, plant marigolds, create planter and view the bug collection.

“I like the joy and smiles on the faces of the kids. Plus the parents enjoy the kids having fun,” said Lawana Denniston of Red Oak who became a Master Gardener in 2009. “The most popular activities are flower planting, bug catchers and the insect display.”

Mason Carvalho, an 8-year-old who attends Palmer Elementary said he has attended the Expo before and would like to grow up to be a Master Gardener so he can plant an oak tree and watch it grow.

The Expo drew enthusiasts from throughout the area and even further. Jean Rollins is a landscaper and horticulture student at Texas State University in San Marcos. She drove in from Austin for the event.

“Today – I like to see what’s new – new and interesting plants,” she said. “I’m here with my mother and sister.”

As attendees moved through the exhibits, Master Gardeners were on hand to answer questions, offer advice and directions. This is the 11th annual Lawn and Garden Expo and it has continued to expand with attendance growing every year. The popular event ushers in warm weather and the spring planting season.

“We have a very experienced professional committee that puts this all together. We very much appreciate the Waxahachie Daily Light for the exposure and publicity they give us,” Haynes said saying that they start planning the next event in April. “It is worth all the effort and the best part is today when it all comes together.”

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.