Gardenfest 2013 was THE place to be last weekend! More than 20,000 people enjoyed a marketplace of native plants, orchids, herbs and palms….not to mention pottery, fountains, furniture, and statuary. Every possible outdoor accessory was on display under the oaks at Riverside Park, and as you can see, the place was packed!!
All festival vendors/craftspeople are chosen months in advance: the Garden Club of Indian River Country conducts a juried invitation process assuring only the cream of the crop gets through. The oleanders and ornamentals below hailed from Tradewinds Signature Botanicals, a shop in Ft. Myers on Florida’s other coast.
Vero Beach’s Busy Bee Lawn and Garden Center has the finest plants in town (imo.) The sun was hitting their booth just right when I snapped this one, eh?
Nothing makes me happier than using terracotta containers in my garden, and these beauties came all the way from High Springs, north central Florida. The Draper Underwood Clay Company doesn’t do fake, plastic look-a-likes! Look at the fine, hand-turned pots they laid out:
Gardenfest isn’t only about consumerism; there’s lots of horticultural info disseminated, too. An Ask the Experts area offered guest lectures on topics from Succulent and Orchid care to Beneficial Bats and Sustainable Landscapes. The Master Gardener booth fielded questions from local residents regarding soil amendments, citrus diseases and everything in between. My favorite query was from a gent who brought us a 6’5″ leaf (from his garden across town), hoping we might identify it Answer? Mature Crinum Lily leaf! Silly me, I didn’t get a picture of it, but I did take one of our booth:
The Tillandsias and Bromeliads in the next picture came from Sarasota‘s Tropiflora Company. This is my 4th Gardenfest and again their table drew me like a magnet. I loved their set-up under dripping spanish moss…so atmospheric!
People were going bananas for the super-cheap plants at–you guessed it–Going Bananas from Homestead Fl. If you’re at all interested in ordering banana or lychee trees, check out their online catalog/website.
Walking past Peter’s Crotons Nursery was like a sidetrip to Hawaii with Good Luck and TI Plants everywhere you looked! (Note the left side of the picture and you’ll spot the back of the terracotta booth)
And how spectacular were these bougainvilleas!!??!!! This display, located across the path from our Master Gardener table, drew many admiring looks! Wise people approached VERY gingerly…beneath those delicate petals lay some nasty thorns!
This Staghorn Fern could be yours! IF you had a spare 200.00 on hand! I don’t know what made me gasp louder; the price or the size?! Definitely picture worthy!
This next plant (at the Gardino Nursery booth) stopped me in my tracks. It appeared positively pre-historic, with rough, spiny leaves measuring over a foot across! The botanical name was listed as Wercklea Ferox, a Costa Rican native that grows 8′ tall.
Although not so rare, I was unfamiliar with this next flowering plant, Leonitis Leonurus, more commonly known as Lion’s Tail. This South African native provides structural interest and is an excellent selection for waterwise gardening.
Although this post is longer than I anticipated, it only scratches the surface of the incredible offerings at Gardenfest! I hope you enjoyed it. In the near future, I’ll show you the purchases I made at this wonderful celebration of nature’s beauty!
Until next time….
- World renowned bromeliad speaker to present program (tcpalm.com)