By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- For one weekend, on Feb. 9 and 10, plants and trees of every size and shape will be available at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens during its annual Botanica Garden Festival.
This year is one of the biggest yet for the gardens, as more than 40 plant and tree vendors from all over the state will set up shop.
"One of the best things about this is the opportunity for the public to talk to and meet with the growers," said Joleen King, co-chairwoman of the event. "This is the passion of these vendors, and they can give people all the proper advice."
The garden festival, now in its fourth year, began before the gardens were even a reality. Last year, approximately 4,000 visitors attended the plant sale.
"It gets better every year," she said. "Some of vendors have been with us from the beginning."
The committee putting the festival together looked for the best vendors from all over the state.
"Some of these are vendors that are coming to Port St. Lucie for the first time," she said. "All of the plant vendors are licensed and inspected by the state."
In addition, expect to see booths manned by the Port St. Lucie Orchid Society, the Riolindo Garden Club, the St. Lucie West Garden Club, the Native Plant Society, the St. Lucie County Master Gardeners, Keep Port St. Lucie Beautiful, the Port St, Lucie Anglers Club and the Treasure Coast Rare Fruit Club.
Plants being sold will include annuals, perennials and Florida-friendly plants, bamboo, fruit trees and shrubs, native plants, and orchids and exotics.
The vendors will line the sidewalks that surround the event lawn at the gardens.
"It's all about plants and garden-related accessories," Ms. King said. "Growers will be on hand to explain the best way to care for their plants from the people who grow them professionally."
Expect the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens to have a membership booth, as well. The all-volunteer organization was recently licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture to sell its own plants.
"There's no charge for parking," she said. "It's going to be a pleasant day in the gardens."
There will also be landscape vendors and garden-related crafts for sale, as well as food vendors.
A complimentary plant carryout service will be available to help residents carry their selections to their vehicles.
Admission to both the festival and the gardens will be free both days.
"You can spend hours going from booth to booth learning about plants," Ms. Feldman said.
The Botanica Garden Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens, 2410 S.E. Westmoreland Blvd. in Port St. Lucie. For more information, call (772) 337-1959.