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By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
Salisbury Post
CHARLOTTE ó Green.
The color and the idea dominates all aspects of displays at this year’s Southern Spring Home and Garden Show.
From the beautiful green landscaping to building green and concern for the environment, visitors to the show continuously encounter “Shades of Green,” the show’s theme.
Now in its 48th year, the show encompasses the entire Charlotte Merchandise Mart, a combined 250,000 square feet of space in three connecting buildings.
The event is actually nine shows within a show that continue today, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., when it closes.
Visitors can can spend an entire day exploring gardens, attending demonstrations, perusing home furnishings and discovering new and innovative ways to improve their home.
Despite water restrictions in the Charlotte area, several of the show’s 20 gardens contain waterfalls. Show officials trucked water in from outside Charlotte specifically for the event.
Just inside the entrance, in the Garden Showplace, a landscape by Peaceful Ponds of Charlotte features a waterfall cascading into an irrigation pond. Pumps for the waterfall as well as lights for the garden can be powered by energy-saving solar panels, while water from the pond can be pumped into drip lines for watering plants.
A garden designed by Paragon Landscape Management of Charlotte includes a drip-type, in-ground irrigation system for turf which uses satellite readings of rain levels to ensure just the right amount of water is used to irrigate plants and grass.
One of many demonstrations is the Bonsai Society of the Carolinas. Society members consider bonsai, which means “plant in a pot,” a living art. Trees are trimmed and wired into position, then continuously pruned during growth.
“It just takes patience to let things develop on their own,” Ron Dauenhauer, a member of the society, explained.
Dauenhauer says the process requires lots of repetition. “It’s just like washing dishes. You have to keep doing it,” he says.
Visitors can sample wines in the Garden ShowPlace, including those made by Old Stone Winery from Salisbury. You might not realize that grapes for 15 different wines are grown in the 15 acres behind the Old Stone Winery store on U.S. 52, between Granite Quarry and Rockwell.
“We’re just beginning to hit our peak,” says Barbara Brown.
Brown, whose son Mark owns the vineyard, says the grape plants require about five years to make good wine, and as the wine industry flourishes, she believes North Carolina residents also are becoming educated about wines.
The Orchid Pavilion showcases live orchids from 12 exhibitors, including the N.C. Piedmont Botanical Society, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and Dorcas Brogdon.
The Outdoor Living MarketPlace features plants, shrubs, bulbs and flowers for sale as well as decks, pavers, grills, outdoor furniture, garden ornaments and virtually anything for enjoying the outdoors.
In the Green Building Pavilion, builders and home improvement experts exhibit the latest products designed to make homes more environmentally friendly as well as comfortable.
Rod Spence, of Banister Homes of Charlotte, shares a booth with Beaver Brothers of Salisbury, and Spence discussed a unique looking model home sporting what looks to be a huge pipe system on top.
The model actually represents radiant flooring, a product offered by Beaver Brothers, and used in many new Banister Homes.
Spence says Banister partners with Beaver Brothers because the Salisbury company devises creative solutions for homeowners.
“Switching an existing heating system to radiant flooring doesn’t have to require total removal of an existing heating system,” Spence said. “There are creative solutions that utilize parts of the old system and save money.”
Radiant flooring uses tubes under the floor which circulate heated water and heat both the house and the floor. The model demonstrates how solar panels can power the radiant heat system in the floor ó for energy efficiency and cost savings.
Other vendors offer creative “green” solutions to just about any situation.
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With hundreds of vendors and ideas, you may want to carry a notebook. However, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to spend several hours.
For information, go to www.SouthernSpringHomeandGardenShow.com.

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