Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Plant Party Continues

First, let me say this about the USF Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Fair: I showed remarkable restraint.

In fact, I kept thinking after I returned home on Saturday that I really hadn't bought very much and should certainly go back.

The Native Plant Society area is always packed --
 lots of interest in our tough and tenacious native plants.

I am proud to say (and my husband was relieved to hear) that I actually came in UNDER the $100 allotment I allocated myself. In fact, I only spent $80. So, that means I am surely entitled to spent that extra $20 on some other garden-related item in the future, right?

Is there anything more beautiful than an orchid?

I prepared a list of what I needed, and I stuck to that list. Almost. There was that one epidendrum orchid (only $8 -- how could I resist?) and the adorable miniature succulents for my dish gardens. And one vendor had flax lily for sale at such a low price, just $2 a plant, that I grabbed three just to fill in my flax lily bed.

A sampling of adorable cacti and succulents,
 perfect for dish gardens.
But otherwise, I stuck to the list. I bought two more muhly grasses from the native plant vendors, but couldn't find rouge plant or royal or cinnamon ferns, natives also on my list for my shady areas. I found two more of the Neoregilia "Orange Crush" bromeliads, so I now have a nice small bed of five. And I purchased a gorgeous big cast-iron plant -- another great addition to my shade beds. Also purchased some chenille plants, also on my list, which I use as a groundcover in the back yard. A few narrow-leaved sunflowers for the wildflower garden I have started (which also features ironweed, milkweed and blue-eyed grass), and my day was done.

Heck, I should get a booth next year and sell salvias.
They come up like weeds in my garden!

Then I had to plant them all, PLUS the 50 caladium bulbs that I ordered after reading Meems' Hoe and Shovel blog about her visit to the Caladium Nursery! Good thing our grass-free landscape really is proving to be low maintenance, because I don't have time for maintenance with all this planting I'm doing!

I thought there were even more vendors at this year's USF Sale than last year, and more buyers too! My friend Sue and I had to wait in a very long line on Saturday morning just to get in, but it was so worth it. We had fun in line talking to the other garden enthusiasts, most of us equipped with our handy-dandy rolling garden carts with which to haul around our booty. The sale itself was a plant lover's paradise, with everything from herbs to plumerias to exotic fruit trees. This is absolutely one of my favorite events of the year and, if you haven't ever been, put it on your April 2012 calendar now.

Now, I've got to get back to planting...


  1. Looks like a lot of fun. Sorry I missed it. I love finding natives!

  2. I have Rouge Berry and a lot of it, if you need some.

  3. I didn't go to this one. The budget only covers so many plants:) Looks like a great selection was there. I'm glad you found so much you have been wanting. It's always nice to stick to the plan.

    I am a member of the Botanical Gardens and love to stop in at the plant shop randomly throughout the year.

  4. AmberSky, would love to get rouge plants from you. Please send message to me at work email ( and let me know how to get in touch with you to make arrangements.

    NanaK, I really need to join the USF Botanical Gardens. The USF plant shop always has great finds.

    Daisy, the USF sale is a great place to find natives. It is not always easy to find them for sale in Hillsborough County. I usually have to go to Manatee or Pinellas to get them. Tree Mart does have a decent selection of the more common natives, like coontie and muhly grass.

  5. I have loads of Cinnamon Fern in my back gardens if you'd like some.Let me know...

  6. Nanette,
    I love your justifications for spending... I do the same thing. Can always come up with reasons to buy plants and pat myself on the back for holding off and then making additions elsewhere. So fun. I didn't go to the sale because I had been working on projects since January and had already found all the plants I needed. Anyway, everyone that goes always comes away with some cool stuff. Sounds like you are having fun in your spring garden! (Can't wait to see those caladiums).