Between 700 and 800 Master Gardeners from throughout Texas will converge on Glen Rose this week for the association’s state conference.

The event, which begins today and runs through Friday, is co-hosted by the Somervell County Master Gardeners and Lake Granbury Master Gardeners. It’s being held at the Somervell County Expo Center. The opening night celebration will be in Granbury.

The conference is not open to the public, but it is an economic boon to Glen Rose, booking up every hotel and inn in the area and spilling over into Granbury and even Cleburne.

The keynote speaker is Paul James, HGTV’s “The Gardener Guy.” Speakers for educational sessions include botanists, Texas Agricultural Extension Service agents, educators, horticulturalists and plant curators, garden designers, organic herb and vegetable garden experts, and even a birder and a winemaker.

The Thursday night awards banquet will feature a hoe down with catered “chuck wagon grub” and awards for the best cowboy and cowgirl duds.

To help welcome the Master Gardeners, Glen Rose citizens over the past year purchased hundreds of Earth-Kind roses to be planted around town. The Somervell Master Gardeners also have an Earth-Kind rose demonstration garden at the Paluxy Heritage Park.

(For those Master Gardeners who would like to see it, the park is on the south bank of the Paluxy River just over the bridge on State Highway 144, also known as Austin Street, a block south of the downtown square.)

During the conference the gardeners will be offered tours of Happy Hill Farm Academy, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, Red Caboose Winery in Meridian and other local attractions. They will ttend educational sessions on topics such as habitat restoration, drought-tolerant native grasses, rainwater conservation and organic gardening.

Vendors, including local garden experts such as landscape architect Karen Richardson, will be set up in the Show Barn.

Texas Master Gardeners is a volunteer program designed to foster horticultural information throughout the state. To become a Texas Master Gardener, a participant attends 50 hours of instruction conducted by the local AgriLife Extension county agent. The gardener then performs 50 hours of volunteer service to give back to the community by sharing information.

Any Master Gardeners attending the conference may pick up a free copy of the Reporter's "On Tracks" visitors guide for more information about the town, its attractions and a restaurant guide. They will be available at the conference or at our office on U.S. Highway 67. We're right next to Burger King. Stop by and say hello.

The Reporter welcomes you to Glen Rose and hope you'll come back!