Spring Festival Time

If you have spring fever, here are three gardening events that will help you get outside and start planting.

Locally grown produce at the Ocala Wellness Community Garden

The first big event of the year is always the Marion County Master Gardeners’ Spring Festival and it is unfailingly exciting and inspiring. This year it runs March 9th and 10th at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion at 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala.

The vendors fill up the covered arena and spill out into the parking lot with eye-catching displays of flowers, shrubs, trees, houseplants, garden décor, landscaping ideas and other garden goodies. Booths from garden centers, specialty shops, landscapers, nonprofits and the Master Gardeners program abound, with plants and more for sale along with free information. Organizers suggest you bring a cart and volunteers will help you load plants in your vehicle. 

Food trucks on the west side of the main arena will offer tasty options and picnic tables are nearby, along with a grassy expanse under picturesque oak trees. On the east side will be a Kids’ Zone with activities, a butterfly tent, educational presentations offered throughout the day in the indoor auditorium and a demonstration garden of Florida-friendly landscaping.

Admission is $3; free for ages 12 and younger. No pets allowed, only service animals. For more information, visit sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/marion/master-gardeners/events

Locally grown produce at the Ocala Wellness Community Garden

On March 23rd and 24th, the Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival takes place at, naturally, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 SW 58th Drive, Gainesville. This is just off Archer Road (State Road 24) and about two miles southwest of Interstate 75. 

Organizers expect more than 100 booths offering plants, flowers, shrubs, garden décor, home-made soaps and home crafts. Food trucks will be onsite. From 11am to 4pm on Sunday there will be live music by Aelea, Emmett Carlisle, Lost Safari Drummer, the Brian McMahon Band and Klezmer Katz. 

Locally grown produce at the Ocala Wellness Community Garden

Pets are not allowed at this event, and it’s best to bring your own wagon or cart to carry your purchases. 

The gardens include 20 specialty areas with water features, including a koi pond with giant water lilies that makes for a striking photo op. Benches are placed along the paved, looping trail and the bamboo garden is world-renowned. Festival admission includes access to the 68-acre garden.

Adult admission is $10 each day and $5 for those ages 5-13, with kids under 5 admitted free. Visit kanapaha.org for more information. 

The Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens Spring Festival takes place May 4th and 5th, and I think it’s definitely worth a trip to Williston. 

The festival at 4990 NE 180th Avenue always attracts dozens of cool plant-type vendors (one year, Kenny Coogan came up from Tampa with a whole selection of carnivorous plants). From tropical plants to shrubs, vegetables to bonsai, all kinds of booths will offer a variety of plants to take home and coddle. 

There’s also live music to entertain you, food trucks to fill your tummy and lots of picnic tables. You can bring your own chairs and blankets for lounging. This is the kind of festival where you can literally spend all day browsing booths, meandering among the fabulous gardens, eating, napping and just enjoying the environment. 

Some of the areas are handicap-accessible but because the gardens were built down into an abandoned quarry, most of the trails require solid footing and good balance. There’s even a walkway of steppingstones through the lake where the swans hang out. Water levels vary depending on recent rainfall. A waterfall offers a great vibe and photo ops, and a humidity-controlled greenhouse is home to a substantial collection of cacti and other succulents. 

Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for ages 6-13; free for ages 5 and younger. For more information, visit cedarlakeswoodsandgarden.com

Posted in LivingTagged ,

Share this post


What's New at Ocala Style

Remembering Ross Allen

The Ross Allen Reptile Institute was long a major attraction...

Learning to Love Slowcala

My wife, Amy, and I love to walk Rigby Floyd,...

Count Your Bugs

UF/IFAS Extension Marion County is encouraging area residents to take...

4WD Adventure

Twenty two-person teams will tackle off-road park trails in this...

Driveable Destinations: Dunedin

With two state parks, links to Scottish history and a...

A Mix of Cultures in Clay

Stone tools can tell us a lot about our ancestors...