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Start spring with sale
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I often get asked when the best time to plant is. Of course, the answer varies from plant to plant, but as a general rule, late-winter and early-spring are the best planting times for most.

This timing gives the new plants time to build a strong root system before the harsh heat of summer sets in. This also happens to coincide with sunny days and warmer temperatures that drive gardeners back outside for a new season.

To coincide with the much-anticipated arrival of spring, the Lumpkin County 4-H program and the Georgia Mountains Master Gardeners are having a plant sale to help supply local gardeners with interesting, beautiful and even some tasty new plants. Proceeds from the plant sale help fund summer camp sponsorships for 4-H Club kids.

All of the plants available for purchase are known to do well in our area. Visit to find the plant sale order form, along with a detailed list and photo of each plant.

If you have any questions about how to install your new plants, Master Gardener volunteers will be on site at the pick-up point to answer your questions.

There are several plants available to help spruce up your landscape.

Three different fern varieties are being offered: Autumn fern, Tassel fern and the Japanese Painted fern.

We have many shrubs to choose from: One orange and one yellow variety of azaleas; beautyberry, which has great purple berries; yellow butterfly bush; a shrub-form variety of crape myrtle with pink blooms; white-flowered gardenias; mountain laurel; and evergreen viburnum.

Perennials are the best way to add interesting textures and colors to your garden. They give you great color, like annual flowers, but with the added benefit of not having to replant them every year.

We have several great perennials, including dwarf Joe Pye Weed "Baby Joe," Black and Blue sage, Black-eyed Susan, Cone Flower "Hot Papaya," two varieties of Coral Bells, Dianthus "Firewitch," Lenten Rose, Spiderwort and Yarrow.

Food prices seem to be steadily rising at the grocery store. One way to offset some of those costs are to grow your own fruit. Luckily, our plant sale can help you get started.

We are offering raspberry, thornless blackberry and blueberry bushes.

Plants will be available for pick-up on two dates: 3 to 6 p.m. March 15 and from 9 a.m. to noon March 16.

The pick-up point will be at the Lumpkin County Road Department facility at 1646 Red Oak Flats Rd. in Dahlonega.

Visit the Lumpkin County 4-H Web site or stop by the Extension office located at 26 Johnson St. in Dahlonega for order forms. Orders must be mailed or turned into the office by Friday.

Clark MacAllister is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706)265-2442.