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BURNET — It’s springtime in the Hill Country, and the bluebonnets are blooming. Blossoms, birds and butterflies fill the yard, and we’re all waiting for that last frost so we can plant our spring garden.It’s the perfect time to join the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners at the 15th annual Hill Country Lawn & Garden Show on March 23. The event is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Burnet Community Center, 401 E. Jackson St.

Admission is free.

The Master Gardeners booth will have information about sustainable gardening. Learn about rainwater harvesting, making your own compost tea and the best gardening practices for this area. Members will be available to answer questions.

The event will feature more than 20 vendors focusing on native and exotic plants, herbs, vegetables, succulents, houseplants, yard decor and more. A service booth will hold purchases for attendees while they shop and visit the exhibits. A children’s booth will have hands-on projects.

Two guest speakers will inspire you to go home and plant fruit trees as well as drought-tolerant plants and grasses.  Richard Ashton will speak on “Growing Fruit in the South” at 10 a.m., and George Cates of Native American Seed in Junction will speak about “Creating Diverse, Drought Tolerant Native Outdoor Living Spaces” at 2 p.m.

The lawn and garden show is supported by the Highland Lakes chapter of the Texas Master Gardeners in partnership with the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service.

So, whether you are a veteran gardener, fairly new to Hill Country gardening or just starting, come to the lawn and garden show to learn from local presenters, volunteers and vendors.

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Richard AshtonRichard Ashton has been involved in agricultural pursuits all his life. He spent his younger years in Texas on a grain-and-cattle ranch and was raised in the apple orchards of Oregon, where his family grew apples, rye grass and peppermint. During his college days, he grew alfalfa and grapes in the central valley of California. He has had grapefruit groves in the Rio Grande valley and has grown peanuts in Central Texas.

Although his college degree is in business, he has spent most of his time associated with horticulture and founded Texas Pomegranate Growers Cooperative Inc.

Ashton will speak at 10 a.m. March 23 at the Hill Country Lawn & Garden Show at Burnet Community Center, 401 E. Jackson St. in Burnet.

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George CatesGeorge Cates began interning for Native American Seed Co. in Junction in 2002 and, in 2006, became a full-time employee. He has led many prairie restorations utilizing seeds harvested across the many eco-regions of Texas.

George is an expert in creating vibrant and responsibly beautiful outdoor living spaces.

Cates will speak at 2 p.m. March 23 at the 15th annual Hill Country Lawn & Garden Show at the Burnet Community Center, 401 E. Jackson St. in Burnet.

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