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Spring definitely is going to arrive on time in Erie County this year.

Flowers will be blooming, the grass will be green, the garden pond will be bubbling and trees will be leafed out.

Maybe not in your backyard but in Clarence where "Plantasia" will make its debut in the new Western New York Events Centre at 11163 Main St., just down the road from Antique World.

Mark your calendar for March 22 to 25 and get ready to stroll through 22 gardens that will give you plenty of ideas for your own new or established garden along with a host of gardening experts to answer your questions.

A preview reception will be held March 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. as a fund raiser for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Participants will be able to stroll through the gardens from 7 to 9 p.m. before they are opened to the public. There will be a wine and cheese reception and garden awards will be presented. Tickets are $20 each and may be obtained by calling Judy Krueger, executive secretary of the Western New York State Nursery and Landscape Association or at the door that evening.

"We have been hoping, talking and planning a garden show like this for the past four or five years," said Bob Smith, who is associated with Schichtel's tree farm in Springville, a member of the WNY Nursery and Landscape Association, and the garden show's sponsor.

"Sure, there are the big shows around us - Toronto, Cleveland and Philadelphia - but Rochester started their own show 10 years ago and it gets bigger and better every year and we are optimistic we can do the same."

There will be pocket-size gardens, there will be large gardens, there will be theme gardens and there will be an "Interactive Garden" designed for children.

When you need to rest your feet, make your way to one of the small meeting rooms and listen to one of the several local gardening professionals who will be discussing a variety of topics ranging from establishing a lawn to coping with deer.

Here are what some of the display gardens will look like:

"We have called our garden "Bringing the World to Your Back Garden," said David Tubinis, of Johnson's Nursery, 11753 E. Main St., East Aurora. "Our garden center is known for its unusual plants and we will be featuring some of them in the garden. We will have a Chinese fringe tree, a Japanese witch hazel, several varieties of dwarf conifers (cone-bearing evergreen shrubs), a real display of deciduous hollies that are native to this area and of course, flowers."

Brian J. Geary, Northern Lights Landscaping, 1195 Wehrle Drive, Williamsville, reported that he has "named my garden "Woodlands Edge,' with the emphasis on the water garden. Water gardening is my specialty.

"We will be showing some great new underwater lighting along with a water machine that will produce a rolling fog to float over the garden making for a pretty spectacular night scene.

"Surrounding the water garden, we will have a herb garden and hundreds and hundreds of flowering bulbs and a great crabapple tree called "Indian Magic.' "

Geary explained this crabapple variety has dark pink flowers and the fruit is a medium orange color.

"I am going with a theme of an old-fashion potting shed and English garden look," said Colleen Gaskill, Artistic Landscape and Decor, 4035 Purdy Road, Lockport. "We will have a lot of containers ranging from the conventional clay pots to old watering cans, with flower boxes and flowers along a winding path.

"The setting, we hope, will give the visitor to the garden a feeling of tranquility they might like for their backyard . . . a place where you can sit quietly and read."

Gaskill said "the rhododendrums, the forsythia and the flowering pear tree that will be in the garden are in bud and should be in full bloom for the show along with a wonderful lilac bush and a hydrangea."

"We are creating a "Dream Patio' complete with a custom built fire pit, top of the line grill and a water feature that we are keeping a secret but I promise you, it will be unique," said Dick Page, Woodstream Nurseries, 8500 Wolcott Road, Clarence Center.

"The patio floor will be a Unilock surface surrounded by a Unilock-faced wall and the patio will be surrounded by ornamental trees and flowers."

Peter Schmit, Elbers Landscape Service, 2918 Main St., said his theme is "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and "it will be a baseball diamond like you have never seen. For example, there will be bleachers filled with fans that will make up a wall of flowers in bloom."

Dore Landscape Associates, 5911 Fisk Road, Pendleton, has been a family business for more than 20 years, and Matt Dore's father, Edward, served two terms as president of the WNY Nursery and Landscape Association and last year was president of the state organization "so that will help explain why we will be having the largest garden in the show," his son said.

"We are going all out to create as natural a setting as possible bringing in trees that are from 20 to 25 feet tall, walkways that, at each turn, will give a different view and perspective of the garden and plenty of color with perennials and shrubs."

The various seminars will be held at 2, 3, 4 p.m. and two at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Speakers include Dave Luderman, Sharon Weber, Ken Ward, Al Festuti, John Braddel, Eric Page, Jack Bryant, Paul Fuhrmann, Kathy Sokolowski, Tom Ulbrich, Jim Hornung, Jason Engel, Ed Dore and Peter Herlan.

Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., March 22, 23 and 24, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 25. Admission is $8 with senior citizens receiving a special $7 admission on Thursday and Friday and children under 12 admitted free.

The Greater Rochester's Flower and Garden Show will be held March 15-18 at the Dome Center in Henrietta, just outside downtown Rochester. The theme this year is "Ten Years - A Garden Party." Sponsored by the Genesee-Finger Lakes Nursery and Landscape, the show is expected to draw more than 30,000 visitors. For details, call 265-9018 or visit

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