Like going out to dinner with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, The Columbus Dispatch Spring Home & Garden Show presented by Ohio Mulch returns Feb. 17-25 to the Ohio Expo Center. As with any good dinner conversation, you’ll learn plenty of new things at the show — and cover some familiar territory, too. Most of all, we want your trip to the show to be helpful, informative and memorable. Here’s a quick look at some of what we have in store.

Every Garden Tells A Story

The ornate, breathtaking gardens designed by members of the Columbus Landscape Association are the centerpiece of the show every year, and the 2018 edition is no exception. This time around, the theme is Storybook Gardens. Walk through all 10 and experience such titles as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “The Wind in the Willows,” “The Lorax” and more as they come to life. New this year is a partnership between the CLA and Columbus Metropolitan Library designed to raise youth reading awareness and give children another activity during the show.

“Columbus Metropolitan Library is delighted to partner with some of central Ohio’s best landscapers to bring 10 storybook gardens to life,” said Gregg Dodd, marketing director for CML. “We hope these amazing gardens will get kids and families excited about reading, which is the foundation for a successful life.”

The show will celebrate the Library on Monday, Feb. 19 — a day when schools are closed for Presidents Day. Many talented writers hail from or live in central Ohio, and the show will celebrate some of them on Library Day. A dozen authors are expected to appear, including Eric Litwin, author of the “Pete the Cat” children’s book series, who will make two stage presentations. The Library will also host readings near the gardens throughout the day. All kids can use a little boost to their spirits, so they won’t want to miss My Special Word, a stage presentation designed to empower children to believe in themselves and get them thinking about the wonderful people they are — and hope to become — through the use of positive words. They can catch Columbus native Dwight Smith’s presentation twice on Feb. 19.

Got A Project? Get Some Help

There’s nothing like a walk through the gardens to inspire you to create your own backyard oasis … or at least shore up the one you already have. Good news: You can take care of anything you need to get done while you’re at the show, which features two buildings full of the region’s top home improvement, remodeling and lawn and garden experts. These craftsmen and pros cover just about every specialty imaginable, and they’re all participating in the show to help you make your home and garden dreams come true. Numerous how-to and DIY stage presentations and seminars will be on tap so you can dive deeper into topics of interest to you. Among those sharing their expertise are folks from the Ohio State Master Gardener Program and Lowe’s, most notably on Sunday, Feb. 18, which is DIY Day at the show. So check the schedule in this section, grab a seat, take some notes and ask a question or two. We guarantee you’ll leave more knowledgeable than when you arrived.

Check out the Home & Garden Show guide

Envision A New Relaxation Station

If you had just one more room in your home, what would you do with it? Use it for storage, a media room or a space to meditate? You’ll find three possibilities at this year’s show. Take a look at a trio of backyard retreats by Weaver Barns and Rine Landscape Group. In these fully constructed and designed “super sheds” you’ll find a wine and book nook, a backyard kitchen/pergola and a chic gardener’s retreat.

More Celebrities Than Ever

There are home improvement experts, and then there are EXPERTS. Tom Silva has been part of the “This Old House” crew since the Bob Vila days. Be at the show when he imparts his years of wisdom on Sunday, Feb. 18. On opening day, Saturday, Feb. 17, the show welcomes the mother-daughter team of Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk from HGTV’s hot remodeling series “Good Bones.” That same afternoon, Cambria welcomes Matt Muenster of “Bath Crashers” to the show. Highly acclaimed garden author Tracy DiSabato-Aust from right here in central Ohio makes her way to the show on Wednesday, Feb. 18. On Saturday, Feb. 24, you won’t want to miss PJ and Thomas McKay, the hosts of HGTV’s “Down to the Studs.”

Child’s Play

Feb. 24 is also Kids Day at the Home & Garden Show. Bring your young ones and watch them be wowed by animals from Ohio Wildlife, as well as the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. And while LEGOLAND Discovery Center won’t open at Easton Town Center until later this year, Bertie, the LEGOLAND mascot will make an appearance at the show. Children can let their imaginations run wild by building their own unique LEGO designs.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

For the first time, the show is teaming up with Cox Concessions and Dine Originals to bring you Alive Craft Beer & Tastings Night on Thursday, Feb. 22, from 3:30 p.m. to close. For $10, you can sample five craft beers and different samples from participating Dine Originals restaurants. Find full details, including the craft beers that will be available, at DispatchHomeAndGardenShow.com. Additionally, the Club Cambria bar in the gardens will host a wine tasting each day starting at 4. The four unique selections will change daily — sample them for $10.

Deck Your Walls

Another new feature to this year’s show is a Pop Up Arts Fest at the Simple Bath Ohio Home Stage on Sunday, Feb. 25. The Columbus Arts Festival is inviting local artists to set up at the show so you can bring home your next living room or bedroom centerpiece. You’re sure to find something one of a kind!