Florida welcomes spring with floral festivals
By Georgina Cruz
Many families are ready to leave winter behind like an unwanted bundle at the gate of a blooming garden in Florida. And to welcome spring, our state offers a number of garden and flower festivals and events in a variety of popular destinations. These events are in full swing in March and April and some are slated for May and June.
These festivals generally include talks and gardening tips which make them attractive to people like legendary actress Audrey Hepburn, who once said “to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Some festivals are free while others are ticketed –all are fragrant! Here are some to consider during a spring getaway (always double-check the date before traveling as dates are subject to change and cancelation always, and particularly so in these times of pandemic):
- The Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a top annual event that takes place from March 3 to July 5 at Walt Disney World. The festival offers an abundance of gardens and topiaries featuring Disney’s beloved characters that are like an open invitation to visitors to take some spring photos. And visitors who wish to learn more about plants, flowers and gardening may opt to attend workshops with experts. Other festival attractions include food, desserts and beverages inspired in spring in Outdoor Kitchens. Many of the festival events are included in admission to the park. Info: www.disneyworld.com/flower.
- Bok Tower Gardens is a world-class botanical garden that features lovely spring flowers including azaleas, camellias and magnolias typically blooming in March and April. The 50-acre gardens are located about an hour from Orlando and feature the famous 205-foot-high Singing Tower in Art Deco and Neo-Gothic style. The tower has a carrillon to delight visitors. Info: www.boktowergardens.org.
- Flamingo Gardens offers the 40th Orchids & Bromeliads Show on April 3-4. On the festival’s agenda are demonstrations and music. The event is included in the admission ticket to the gardens. And nobody leaves without admiring the beautiful flamingos that have made the gardens famous. Flamingo Gardens is at 3750 South Flamingo Road. Info: www.flamingogardens.org.
- Kanapaha Botanical Gardens present a Moonlight Walk on May 22 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. During the event the garden is adorned with 1,500 luminaires along a 1.25-mile promenade. There will be lasers, live entertainment and a local astronomy club will offer use of telescopes to see the stars. Info: www.kanapaha.org.
- Gardeners, artisans and other experts offer a variety of merchandise to help gardens bloom this winter during the annual Flower & Garden Expo on March 27-28. There will be talks and workshops as well as a children’s activity area. The Expo, normally at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center in nearby St. Augustine, has a new location this year: Sykes Family Farm, 5995 Brough Road, Elkton. Expo hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Covid protocols will be in place. Info: https://www.epicbh.org/flower-garden-expo/.
Gardens are magical places per se, but even more so when they host a special celebration themed to one flower. The Water Lily Celebration is an annual event at the McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach on June 19. This festival showcases some 400 water lilies including 80 varieties. The event also presents artists creating their art en plein air and a photography exhibit. The festival is included in admission to the garden. Info: www.mckeegarden.org.