Mother's Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off for the gardening season.

But sorry, Mom, it's not all about you.

"Mother's Day is huge," said Craig Corby, general manager of Linder's Garden Center in St. Paul. "By then, there's usually been a couple of weeks of good weather, the ground's dried out a bit, people have done some prep work. It's not so much that it's Mother's Day. It's just the right time to get out in the garden."

Garden centers -- from the megastores to the temporary plant stands -- are likely to be mobbed, said Larry Pfarr, director of marketing for Bachman's.

"I think it's going to be very busy this year," he said. "We've had a slow start to spring. There's all this pent-up desire to get out."

Seasonal staff will be in place. And the larger stores will even have staff directing traffic. Few, if any, stores will host special events because all the floor space will be taken up by plants fresh from the growing ranges.

Savvy gardeners will be heading for plant sales as well as to the garden centers. The Twin Cities' most popular sales -- the auxiliary sale at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska and the Friends School at the grandstand on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds -- will take place this weekend, as will dozens of smaller plant sales and swaps at schools, churches and parking lots near you.

Pack your pocketbook, your plant guides -- and your patience.