Following the success of televised programs featuring residence improvement and self-help programming, home and garden expos have developed a cult-like following among Americans looking to save precious dollars during the recession. While a buckling economy continues to limit homeowners’ decorative options, the Maryland Home and Garden Show offers an array of innovative ideas for those looking to beautify their households.

When it comes to drawing a crowd, no other expo has been as popular as the Maryland Home and Garden Show, the region’s largest and longest-running venue of its kind. Established in 1981, the show originally was held at the Civic Center in Baltimore before finally settling into its current location at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in 1991.

The show will continue its regional dominance this year March 6 -7 and March 12-14 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Md. More than 400 exhibitors are expected to be on hand this year as well as19 fully landscaped gardens that will preview the latest concepts for outdoor living, landscaping, entertaining, interior design, cooking, family recreation and home improvement.

With the addition of TV personality Joey Green, also known as the “mad scientist” of clean, and renowned speaker and author Jeff “Mole Hunter” Holper, the show will be a one-stop shop for homeowners, said Maryland Home and Garden Show spokesman Jeff Plummer.

“Under one rink you can come and see everything that’s exciting and new out there,” Plummer said. “Especially this year, I’m not expecting record crowds but with all the snow we’ve had, people are dying to get out and see spring time. Our gardens are phenomenal, they take plants and grow them in green houses and have them ready to bloom right before the show so when you come out to the show you’re going to see all the plants, trees and ponds so it’s actually the first time you get to see spring time yet it’s still March…”

In addition to the various displays of greenery will be lectures and workshops exploring different facets of home improvement. Green will demonstrate ways common household items like Cheese Whiz and diapers can be used to clean everything from countertop blemishes to carpet stains. With gardens becoming increasingly prevalent, Holper will share solutions to pesky moles and other field animals capable of ruining a scenic backyard.
“I’ve trapped over 16,000 moles myself and I teach you how to win over a mole,” Holper said. “My goal is to take you from a victim of moles to a victor over them.”

Moles are bothersome for garden growers, but for those homeowners who don’t maintain gardens, full displays of kitchen appliances, baths and countertops will be sure to occupy their time. Several closet and garage organizers, wall treatments, faux paintings, high-tech entertainment equipment and lush spas will also be on display.

In past years, consumers’ interest in home decoration and improvement had waned, particularly because of the country’s economic pitfall. But the growing popularity of the HGTV network and its bevy of home improvement shows has helped draw large crowds back to live expos as they look to recreate the chic home designs created by specialists on TV.

“That goes to show you that people do care about their house and they spend a lot of time there,” Plummer said. “They do a lot of entertaining there and I think that’s one of the reasons why the Home and Garden show has done so well over the years. Everybody owns or rents a home and they can all use something for their home.”

With over 150,000 square feet of the home improvement ideas and trends, inexperienced home decorators will be able to receive advice from home improvement and gardening professionals during seminars focused on landscaping, home and kitchen design, and home repair and renovation. According to Plummer, if there ever was a time to be your own interior architect, it’s now.

“This is the time of the year when people are looking to do things to their home and I think right now with the housing market that we have, instead of buying these ‘mcmansions’ like everybody’s been doing, I think people are going to stay in their house longer and I think they’re going to be fixing their house up and putting additions on and new flooring and new kitchens rather than buying new homes so I think the show is really staged to have some great success over the next five to 10 years for sure” Plummer said. “This show really appeals to broad base of people across the state.”

The Maryland Home and Garden Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium will be open March 6, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., March 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., March 12 and March 13 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and March 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $3 for children ages 6–12. Children under 6 are admitted free.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO