Gardenfest, 2013

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!

20130202_122934This 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….

🙂 🙂


27 thoughts on “Gardenfest, 2013

  1. Flowers to me is everything I love flowers very much it’s so nice to have at home all the time

  2. It looks fabulous! Ma and I used to love going to garden shows, especially the talks and demonstrations by renowned designers or breeders/growers – we’d book our places and plan our visits to coincide with the ‘best’ (in our opinion – though that didn’t always coincide!) – and despite our best intentions end up staggering back to the car under the weight of some great find (or finds) we just couldn’t live without in our garden!

    • I love that you call your ma “ma” because that’s how I address my “ma,” too! 🙂 The convention nowadays seems to be “mom” but when you’re a Bostonian “mom” ends up rhyming with “dawn” and sounds too wierd… so “ma” it is!
      Lovely memory you shared and I can wholly relate to staggering to the car with armloads of purchases!

  3. Ooh… I’ve never seen a staghorn fern that big. That’s amazing. And yes, I’d like one of those trees with the Spanish moss hanging off of it. Do they ship to Seattle? 🙂

    • Pretty huge, yeah?!?!! Many people were taking pics of it!
      When I first moved here i was fascinated with Spanish Moss and the crazy way it was particularly drawn to the oaks! Great combo!!

  4. Certainly sounds like the place one should be at… love the , Leonitis Leonurus, Lions tail you call it… we know it as the wild dagga plant.. it grows wild in the bush.. a truly lovely plant…

    • People LOVE this event! It comes at the height of season so attracts tons of half-yr residents as well as locals. This was my fourth Gardenfest and each year there’s been an increased number of vendors. It was the second year I’ve worked the MG table and the questions we get are incredibly varied and quite scientific….seems gardening is serious business here for many homeowners!

  5. Wonderful!! What a great way to spend the weekend! I could feel the warmth and humidity all the way up here in the frozen north (last year I spent the last week of February in Florida). Thank you for sharing!

    • Where in Florida were you last winter? (wierdly phrased question! eek!)
      You’re in Michigan so I suppose you are missing Nemo but getting ready for Orko? The north is frozen for sure!!!

      • We were in Kissimee (my older sister has a time share there), but also traveled to Edgewater on the west side of the state to visit friends. I’d had a 2-hour layover in Miami several years ago, but otherwise had never been, nor had any desire to go to Florida. All six remaining sisters in my family were there, and it was wonderful! It is a beautiful, friendly state! It’s 2 below zero this morning on Beaver Island.

      • Well, yes! Funny you should ask, we actually made a special day trip down yesterday to see the glass art exhibit at McKee Botanical Garden and also to have lunch at Cobalt Restaurant. It was an absolutely perfect day!! (and my last day of vacation week). I LOVED Vero Beach, and will absolutely come back again next year.

        • How fun!! You were at two of my fave haunts on the BEST weather day of the past few weeks!! Next time you are down here let me know so we can say hello in person! I love meeting “internet” people in person and met many good friends in the mid 90’s that way!

      • We’re fine. Very windy and cold (30s), but sunny and dry. Luckily, we missed this one. Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse are still fresh in my mind! 🙂 One of my aunts lives on Cape Cod, so I suspect they’re getting pounded, too!

  6. Seeing this fine display of plants is not uncommon to me since I live on Florida’s “other coast” near Ft. Myers. These growers do everything so perfectly!
    Your photo’s and story provide excellent coverage of these amazing outdoor winter events.
    enjoy the day, Eddie

  7. Pingback: Wordless Wednesday: February 20, 2013 | small house/BIG GARDEN

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