Nearly 95 vendors make up the 13th annual GreenFest — the biggest yet for the Friends of Plant Park, hosts and beneficiaries of the two-day gardening festival on the waterfront campus of the University of Tampa.
Expect to find greenery from azaleas to zinnias, orchids to oranges, plus all kinds of advice in Henry B. Plant Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine.
"It's a tremendous opportunity to replace plants that have been damaged during the freeze,'' said Bette Crowder, publicity chairwoman. "How often do you get to talk to local plant growers and really find out about the plants you're going to invest in?"
Master gardeners and other experts will offer workshops like Compost Happens, To Prune or Not to Prune, and Fun with Tropical Fruit Plants. Dale Sena will discuss growing begonias in Florida. Volunteers wearing sandwich-board announcements will signal upcoming talks.
"Signage has improved, too," said Sherry Leffers, GreenFest 2010 chairwoman. "We have listed vendors by park location and alphabetically so they're easier to find."
The popular rain barrel demonstration and knife-sharpening service return, and there will be an abundance of activities for kids. Three rain barrels decorated by Blake High students will be raffled.
Vendors pay a fee, and a suggested $3 admission donation per adult goes toward ongoing preservation of Plant Park, Tampa's oldest city park.
Be sure to notice the new 112-foot flagpole by the front gate, flying a 45-star American flag replica. Nearby, a Victorian star-shaped flower bed and restored Civil War cannons are recent additions funded by the Friends as part of a $130,000 project.
Two more hints: Cash is always a good idea, and parking can be tricky. Look for Mulligan Shuttle Service transporting shoppers to and from distant parking lots. Carts can be obtained for $1 to wheel purchases to a will-call area until buyers return by car.
Amy Scherzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3332.