Seeds of Inspiration?

Seeds of Inspiration?

The Capital Home and Garden Show opens this weekend.

Spring isn’t just for cleaning anymore. It’s for decorating, gardening and remodeling, too.

While all of it may sound like hard work, it doesn’t have to be, according to experts and exhibitors featured at the Capital Home and Garden Show coming to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly from Feb. 23–26.

“Gardening should be full of rest and relaxation, not rules and regulations,” said John Buckreis, a gardening expert who is a long-time host of “Garden News and Views,” a local public access television show.

With more than four decades of experience helping amateur and expert gardeners revive failing gardens or dying plants, Buckreis, 75, is the local go-to guy for advice. “People are always saying, ‘You saved my plants,’” said Buckreis, who early on in his career received the nickname, “Dr. John” for his recuperative green thumb. “I fought [the name] for a few years, but I finally gave up,” said Dr. John, an Annandale resident.

Dr. John said that he plans to emphasize low-maintenance gardening during his 11 talks at the show. This is his fourth year as a featured speaker. “You shouldn’t have to work your butt off all weekend to have a nice garden,” said Dr. John.

In addition to hearing Dr. John speak, people who attend the show will also be able to get ideas and tips from the more than 600 exhibitors who will be on hand.

ONE SUCH exhibitor is Marty Stein, who will be touting a permanent mulch product. President of Future Mulch in Fairfax, Stein sells mulch made up of recycled rubber truck tires, called Rubberific. “The neat thing about this product is that you put it down now and in five years it still looks brand new,” said Stein. “The plants grow better because water goes straight to the plants, and it helps get rid of weeds, bugs and termites.”

Rubberific mulch, which comes in a variety of colors, runs about four times the cost of traditional mulch.

For David Duncan, president of Old Europe Construction in McLean, the show is an opportunity to explain a building technique he uses that can cut utility bills in half. Duncan’s company uses insulated concrete forms to build walls and the structure of the home. “This is a very green way of building,” said Duncan, who hopes to spread the word about the technique during the show.

Mark Brensy, president of Maui Decks in Centreville, said it isn’t a surprise that his deck power-wash and stain business has tripled in revenue the past three years. “[The wash and stain] preserves the entire deck and gives things a more aesthetic look,” said Brensy, who performs the service in Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington counties.

While the businesses promote their wares and services, they also take time at the show to give advice. “We generally use that time to answer questions — we do a lot of that,” said Hans Fairbank, a landscape designer with Second Nature in Marshall.

THE SHOW, with all its variety, has something for everyone, said Lynn Davis, the show manager. “But the number one reason people come to the show is to get ideas and speak to the experts,” said Davis. “They want to see new products, or learn how to do something, or hire a contractor.”

A highlight of the show includes an opportunity to listen to Clive Pearse and Lisa LaPorta from HGTV's "Designed to Sell" television show. The home-selling experts will give workshops on Friday and Saturday. Other speakers and experts will offer ideas throughout the weekend.

Other attractions include recently released products, a workshop on kitchen designs and trends, a tour of 12 dream gardens located throughout the show. Designed by local landscape companies, the garden creations showcase the latest outdoor trends and styles.

“There’s quite a lot of effort put in to setup the gardens [at the show],” said Dr. John, who also looks for ideas at the show to stay breast of new trends.

Davis said that she’s noticed a lot of people want to extend their living space outside. “Outdoor fireplaces, water features and outdoor kitchens are huge,” said Davis.

“Another trend seems to be that less is more,” said Davis. She added that a multitude of organizers will showcase their ideas for a “more minimalist, clutter-free lifestyle.”