Florida In Bloom
By Georgina Cruz
Many Treasure Coast families are beginning to plan their spring vacations to leave behind winter as a discarded lump at the gates of a Florida garden in bloom. Florida is always ready to welcome spring with floral festivals in a variety of popular destinations. These events help us recall the words of novelist Victor Hugo who once observed, “a garden to walk in it and to dream –what more can you ask for?”
Here are some Florida gardens to consider for a spring getaway, one is in the Treasure Coast, others nearby. Some of these events start in February, gather steam in March and April, and sometimes continue through May and June. Always check dates before travel as events may be subject to change and visit each festival website for additional details such as admission charges. Some events are free; others are ticketed –all are fragrant and lovely!
- Davie – Flamingo Gardens feature their Orchid Society Show with displays of these lovely flowers on April 11-12. Also on the festival’s agenda are demonstrations and talks about orchids and music. The event is included in admission to the garden. Flamingo Gardens also presents their annual Festival of Orchids and Bromeliads during April. And, of course, nobody leaves without admiring the gardens’ famous flamingoes. Flamingo Gardens is at 3750 South Flamingo Road. Info: www.flamingogardens.org.
- Gainesville – Kanapaha Botanical Gardens presents a Spring Festival that is arguably the biggest horticultural event in Gainesville, featuring some 125 booths on March 21-22. Among the activities planned for the festival are art and crafts exhibits, a children’s area, a butterfly conservatory and live entertainment. Info: www.kanapaha.org.
- Lake Wales – Bok Tower Gardens is featuring walks to see its beautiful spring blooms including azaleas, camellias and magnolias on select days from February to April. These 50-acre gardens are located near Tampa and Orlando and feature the famous Singing Tower. This 205-foot-tall tower in Art Deco and Neo-Gothic style boasts a carrillon that features concerts to delight visitors. Info: www.boktowergardens.org.
Naples – The Naples Garden Club presents its Annual Flower Show, a juried event at the Naples Botanical Garden, 4820 Bayshore Drive, on March 20-21. The event offers booths with plants and flowers as well as talks and demonstrations. Festival hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each of the two days. Info: www.naplesgardenclub.org.
- Orlando – Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival is one of the nation’s biggest. An annual event, it is presented from March 4 to June 1 at Walt Disney World this year. The festival features an abundance of beautiful gardens and topiaries of the beloved Disney characters that are an open invitation for visitors to take colorful spring selfies and photos. And visitors who wish to learn about plants, flowers and gardening may attend workshops by various experts. “Garden Rocks” concerts are presented each day of the festival and there are foods, desserts and beverages inspired in spring in Outdoor Kitchens. Illuminated topiaries are a highlight and there are play gardens for the kids. Many of the festival’s events are included in admission to the park. Info: www.disneyworld.com/flower.
Sarasota – The Flower Show is a special evento of the Sarasota Garden Club on March 26. Visitors have the opportunity to see flower arrangements by gardeners who are members of the club who also offer ideas and gardening tips. Info: www.sarasotagardenclub.org.
- St. Augustíne – Gardeners, crafters and other experts offer a variety of merchandise to make your garden grow and bloom this spring during the annual Flower & Garden Expo on March 28-29. On the agenda are talks and workshops and children’s activities area. The Expo takes place at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center, 3125 Agricultural Center Drive. Event hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Info: https://www.epicbh.org/flower-garden-expo/.
- Vero Beach – Gardens are magical places per se, but even more so when there is a special celebration themed to one or another flower. The Water Lily Celebration is an annual festival at McKee Botanical Garden, the lovely botanical gardens in Vero Beach, on June 20 this year. This festival displays some 400 water lilies including 80 varieties of plants. The event also presents artists painting outdoors and a photography exhibition. The festival is included in admission to the garden. Info: www.mckeegarden.org.