Anyone who has tuned in to the “Get Growing” show on weekends for gardening advice will be thrilled to see a familiar face at this year’s Home and Garden Show: Jerry Kluver.
The show, which is presented by the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce and KMGO 98.7 FM/KEDB 105.3 FM, will host Kluver as its main speaker this year. Kluver will be on stage from 1-2:30 p.m. March 2 at the Bridge View Center, talking about every aspect of gardening you could think of. There will also be a question-and-answer session after his presentation.
Chamber executive director Terry McNitt said the chamber’s biggest push every year is to fill the 30,000-square-foot expo hall at Bridge View Center as well as overflow into the hallways and lobby.
Kluver is known for his Friday evening and Saturday morning TV show, “Get Going,” on KCCI-TV Channel 8 and will likely bring quite a crowd to the center, McNitt said.
“He wants everyone to bring their questions, their plants,” McNitt said. “He wants to answer everyone’s questions and meet everyone. He’ll be in the Hy-Vee booth after the show, and he’ll be walking around.”
Kluver rattled off topic after topic he’ll cover at his presentation, from Hy-Vee’s four-, five- and six-step fertilizer program to testing your soil before planting, from preventing crabgrass to deer, dog and cat repellent.
“I’m just getting started!” Kluver said. “Ladies and gentlemen, all you Ottumwa folks, get ready — I’m coming to town!”
This won’t be the first trip to Ottumwa for the bubbly personality, but it will be his first to Bridge View Center.
“I hope they’ve got a PA system so I don’t wear my voice out,” he joked.
As of Sept. 15, Kluver will have been working with greenhouses and nurseries for 44 years.
“I started out as a western Iowa farm boy,” Kluver said. “I got hired by my mentor who took me into the law and garden business, and it was history from there. ‘Can’t,’ ‘won’t’ and I don’t want to’ are not in my vocabulary.”
After running through a slew of questions Kluver typically gets this time of year, he said matter-of-factly: “Well, I’ve got the answer.”
Some winter gardening questions include:
• What do I do if my spring bulbs come up when winter is barely over?
• How do I care for a tropical hibiscus through the winter months?
• How do I give my Gerber daisies a boost and make them flower in the winter?
• Which varieties of lavender are hardy enough to plant right here in Iowa?
Also new this year on Saturday and Sunday will be the Iowa State University Insect Zoo for children.
“There will be five tables of displays,” McNitt said. “Kids can interact with the hissing cockroaches ... see all of the insects there are.”
Nearly 100 exhibitors will be spread throughout the center, and the show will feature four seminars on Saturday: “Consequences of Bad Landscaping Design” by Luke Willis of Alive Landscaping, Kluver’s “Get Growing” presentation, “Seed Starting” by master gardener Donald Harness and an update on Market on Main by its new director, Heather Ware.
There will also be homes in the parking lot, as well as food from Bubba-Q’s and Sweet Shack Concessions.
To celebrate the event’s 20th birthday, the chamber lowered admission prices this year. Adults will only pay $5, 6- to 12-year-old children will pay $4 and children 5 and under are free.
“There’s something there for everyone, and it’s really a family event this year,” McNitt said. “There’s things for kids, good food, displays and entire homes brought in by Davis Homes. Everything from gutters to basements — we’ve got it.”
The main reason the chamber has this event is to bring all home and garden vendors under one roof, he said.
“It promotes commerce and it also promotes quality of life,” he said. “Doors, bathrooms, garage doors, gutters, air conditioning, kitchens, landscapes, lawn equipment, windows. I could go on and on.
“It’s a chance for folks to come and see all the things they might want to do to their homes and gardens all under one roof. It’s also good for businesses, too, because the local and area businesses get tons of interaction with folks. Some are able to set up with work for the entire year.”
Because the chamber is a nonprofit organization, they rely heavily on fundraisers such as the Home and Garden Show, as well as membership dues. The show is one of the chamber’s biggest fundraisers.
“We probably make 20 percent of our annual operating revenue from the Home and Garden Show,” he said.
The show averages 5,000 people in attendance, though McNitt said he’s seen as many as 9,000 at one show.
With new children’s activities and an Iowan, Kluver, McNitt hopes to fill the center. And anyone who attends Kluver’s presentation will be entered into a drawing for two $100 Hy-Vee shopping sprees. There will also be other door prizes and drawings offered throughout the show.
McNitt said there are also a few vendor spots still open, though anyone wanting to secure their spot needs to call the chamber immediately at 641-682-3465.
The show will also offer a free shuttle, sponsored by Vaughn Automotive, to bring people back and forth from the overflow parking lots near the Beach Ottumwa.
“If you’re thinking about doing something to your home, garden or landscaping projects, this is the place to go because people there have the answers,” he said.
20th annual Home and Garden Show:
• 3-8 p.m. Friday, March 1; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, March 2; noon-4 p.m. Sunday, March 3.
• Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for kids ages 6-12, free for kids ages 5 and under.
• Featured speaker: Gardening guru Jerry Kluver of KCCI-TV Channel 8, sponsored by Hy-Vee.
• For more information, contact Brenda Sieren at 641-682-3465 ext. 900 or go to www.OttumwaHomeExpo.com.