This post is courtesy of Guest Blogger Connie Cottingham, from her Georgia Gardening blog.  Thanks, Connie!

OK plant nuts, listen up! If you are looking for a road trip or are lucky enough to live nearby, clear your calendars for two special gardening weekends in Athens Georgia.

The first is Apriil 9th, when the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, UGA Trial Garden and the UGA Horticulture Club decided to have their plant sales from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm on the same day – a Plantapolooza!So if you want to find unusual plants, ask horticulturists and Master Gardeners their advice (bring a few photos of your garden – that helps communication), or just feel like celebrating spring by plant shopping, then come to Athens. The State Botanical Garden will emphasize native plants, food crops and Georgia Gold medal winners among their wide selection. Allan Armitage will be leading tours and signing books at the UGA Trial Garden. Find out more about these sales at

If you are a Friend of the State Botanical Garden, you can start shopping Friday night at the preview sale (a few of the best things sell out that night), plus members receive 10% off purchases at the State Botanical Garden sale and in the new gift shop. The Friends of the Garden “Members Only” Preview Sale will be held Friday, April 8, 5:00pm-7:00pm in the Visitor Center & Conservatory. If you aren’t a Friend of the Garden, you can buy a membership outside of the sale that night. That leaves Saturday open to not only shop the other two sales but… (insert drumroll here):

Several area nurseries are offering discounts to people who have been to these three plant sales. The more you shop, the more you save. For visiting one, two or all three of the Plantapalooza sites, you earn 5%, 10% or 15% (respectively) off your total purchase that day at the following participating local retailers. Participants will receive a card which will be stamped at the Botanical Garden, Trial Gardens and Horticulture Club sales.

Cofer’s Home & Garden Showplace
1145 Mitchell Bridge Road
Athens, GA 30606-6411
(706) 353-1519
Store Hours: 9:00am-6:00pm

Goodness Grows
332 Elberton Road
Lexington, GA 30648
(706) 743-5055
Store Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm

Thyme After Thyme
550 Athens Road
Winterville, GA 30683-1535
(706) 742-7149
Store Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm

Thomas Orchards, Greenhouse and Giftshop
6091 Macon Highway
Bishop, GA 30621-1468
(706) 769-5011
Store Hours: 9:00am-6:00pm

Specialty Ornamentals
3650 Colham Ferry Rd,
Watkinsville, Georgia 30677
(706) 310-0143 ?

Eastside Ornamentals
120 Walter Sams Road
(Off Highway 78 East)
Winterville, GA 30683
(706) 543-5500
Store Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm

The following weekend will be a great weekend in Athens for gardeners too. Saturday, April 16th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm will be The Piedmont Gardeners 18th Annual Garden Tour of Athens. See for photos of the 5 lovely gardens on tour this year. This is a very successful and popular annual garden tour. I’ve been to many of these tours and have always had a wonderful time. I’ve toured two of this year’s gardens and - oh my! – they are amazing – so worth the $20 ticket price ($15 in advance)! Bring a camera, plus paper and pen. Then once you have that list of plants you cannot live without, go back to the nurseries listed above, because Thomas Orchards in Watkinsville, Cofer’s in Athens and Thyme After Thyme in Winterville (maybe more) will have open houses in their nurseries, including specials and Master Gardeners to answer questions. Specialty Ornamentals will offer special discounts to Master Gardeners.

Athens is a great gardening town. If you feel like taking a breather, stroll the State Botanical Garden of Georgia ( to see Forged from Nature: An Exhibition of Garden Gates. You’ll view amazing sculpted gates by Andrew T. Crawford that are 6’-10’ tall among the many plants in bloom.