Explore a world of plants, animals, food and new features at this weekend’s Spring Garden Show

This weekend, guests are welcomed into a kingdom of plants at the LSU AgCenter’s annual Spring Garden Show. More than 65 vendors will fill the John M. Parker Coliseum on LSU’s campus with vegetation, gardening tools and ornaments, education opportunities, food trucks and even a few animals.

The AgCenter cites March 15 as the typical kickoff to south Louisiana’s spring planting season, promising this event is the place to be for gardeners with budding dreams of their best harvests yet.  

“It’s a great opportunity to learn about gardening and landscaping,” says Lindsay Reed, an administrative coordinator with the LSU AgCenter. “Trends come and go, but plants never go out of style.”

This weekend marks the 21st year for the annual event, but the AgCenter has a few fresh tricks up its sleeve, adding a third “preview day” for the event on Friday, March 10. 

“We’re really excited to implement this Friday night preview opener,” Reed says. “Especially for individuals in the past who’ve been tied up on Saturday and Sundays and couldn’t make it to the show.”

Additionally, local pop-up vendors are invited to set up shop for the first time this year, free of charge. Reed says the AgCenter strives to promote these mom-and-pop businesses while providing a networking opportunity to better understand the commercial aspect of horticulture. Registration is required and still open for anyone interested in setting up a booth. Contact Lindsay Reed via email  [email protected], or call 225-578-1813. 

Of course, the event’s stand-out plant sellers will also be in attendance for all three days of the event. An “ask the expert” booth, LSU AgCenter extension agents and plant health and identification clinics will be also readily available to answer any gardening questions patrons may have. Several plant societies, including Louisiana Bonsai Society, Baton Rouge Orchid Society and Red Stick Hibiscus Association are also eager to share expertise. 

Since all this plant talk will leave patrons hungry and a little tired, food trucks Elisa’s Cuban Coffee, City Gelato, Sneaux to Geaux & More and Little Corn House will be serving their best.  

Children and animal-lovers alike with find entertainment with the numerous animals onsite. The Baton Rouge Zoo is set to teach biofacts and spread information on its attending animals. Goula Paradise Farms is bringing alpacas, selling creations based on its farm animals and hosting a raffle to raise funds for tooth extraction costs for its horses. The Louisiana Farm to School Program will provide several learning activities as well. 

“We have a little bit of everything,” Reed says. “It’s not just big garden centers, we try to promote the little vendors, as well.”

The 2023 Spring Garden Show is back in full swing, but Reed can still recall the night before the 2020 show. As vendors set up in the coliseum, a new LSU COVID protocol promptly canceled the annual event. As recently as last year, vendors were still rebuilding from the hit of the pandemic. 

“We really have a great show planned for everyone,” Reed says. “Everyone is really enthusiastic and happy to be back in the coliseum.”

Avid gardeners are most excited to see the 2023 Spring Super Plant, the Peggy Martin Rose, a.k.a the Katrina Rose. Every fall and spring LSU highlights a resilient plant that performs well in the state. This rambling rose was named this year’s super plant for its “(connection) to Louisiana’s horticultural history.”  Patrons will find a number of vendors selling the Katrina Rose and ample opportunities to hear more of the heartfelt story behind its regrowth post-Katrina.

Tickets to the garden show are $7 at the door, and only cash is accepted for payment. Children 12 and under, as well as LSU and Southern University students, will be admitted for free. Tickets cover admission for all three days of the event. Proceeds will go towards scholarship funding for students in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Science and to the Hill Farm Teaching Facility

The LSU AgCenter’s annual Spring Garden Show is from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, March 10; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11; and Sunday, March 12. LSU’s John M. Parker Coliseum is at South Stadium Drive.