By Katie Fallon

As high as the metro area pollen count has been in the last few weeks, area residents will soon have a reason to want to stay outside to stop and smell the roses.


On April 12 and 14, Heritage Sandy Springs will host its sixth annual Gardening Series at its location at the corner of Hilderbrand Drive and Sandy Springs Circle. With the antique rose as its theme, this year’s series will be packed into the two days instead of spread out over three months as it has been in previous years.

Entitled “Antique Rose: A Time-Honored Tradition,” the series will kick off with Atlanta gardening expert Walter Reeves at the “Blooming Inspiration Reception.” Heritage Sandy springs events coordinator Christy Nickles said Reeves will offer attendees tips on how to manage their gardens in the climate and soil of the Atlanta area. The 6:30 p.m. reception will also include light hors d’oeuvres and wine sampling.

Nickles said the antique rose theme was chosen for the series because of its connection to the mission of Heritage Sandy Springs.

“We have antique roses onsite, but more so because Heritage Sandy Springs’ mission is to promote and preserve the historic and cultural identity of Sandy Springs,” Nickles said. “As a non-profit organization, we are giving back and providing for the community education in a safe, fun environment.”

The particular goal of this series, Nickles said, is to host a fun event that the whole family can enjoy.

“This educational program is designed to delight gardeners of all ages to come and learn more about gardening through speakers, workshops, demonstrations and hand on activities for children and even adults,” Nickles said.

The second day of the series will include an entire day of activities beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting until 3 p.m. The “Full Bloom Gardening Day at the Springs” will not only include speakers on a variety of gardening topics, but also demonstrations, tours of the onsite gardens, food from Trader Joe’s, an open-air market and a rose sale.

“We are very fortunate to have master gardeners who will be onsite to answer questions throughout the day about the gardens and general gardening questions,” Nickles said.

Heritage’s executive director Carol Thompson said she is not worried that the recent, record-high pollen counts will keep people away from the flower festivities.

“I am hoping that some much needed rain will fall between now and April 14 to clear some of this pollen from the air,” Thompson said.

Similarly, Thompson said it was a testament to the dedication of the group’s master gardeners to continue working tirelessly in spite of the pollen. Though many are suffering, Thompson said it is worth it.

“Sandy Springs is so beautiful at this time of year,” Thompson said. “I guess we have to suffer through a little pollen to enjoy the wonderful trees and lawns we have in the area.”