Estimated attendance was about 30,000 with a total of 130 vendors displaying everything from butterfly plants – complete with flying butterflies in a screened enclosure – to herbs, fruit trees, flowering plants, or items designed to help gardeners notch up their décor like custom-order concrete bricks, whimsical metal sculptures and even table setting ideas thanks to the Garden Club of St. Petersburg’s district flower show that was held in the air-conditioned gym.
“It’s one-stop shopping for plants and decorative arts and crafts items that follow the gardening, Arbor Day and urban forest world,” said Lina Seufert, park operations manager. For the second year, the festival also included a garden wagon parade and supervised tree-climbing opportunities for children that involved ropes. “We also have tool sharpening, which is odd for horticulture festivals,” said Seufert, sponsored by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.
The first festival was held at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in 1986. Since 1987, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has held it at Walter Fuller as part of an effort to schedule special events in areas that are not geographically located at waterfront parks or the preserve.
According to the event’s website, the festival is also part of the effort to qualify for the Tree City USA award, which is presented annually by the Arbor Day Foundation, the Unites States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. St. Petersburg has been an award recipient every year since 1986.