Apr 28th, 2016

Spring PlantFest

PlantFest aprons in fun colors

A spring breeze tugs at the apron strings of  handmade gardening aprons in a rainbow of colors. You’ll find these and many more at PlantFest this year.

Mother’s Day was not on Nancy Penick’s mind when she cut up a jumble of fabric scraps and sewed them into a gardening apron. As the Volunteer Coordinator of PlantFest, she was searching for something new for her team of talented volunteers to make and sell in the Bloemendaal’s Best tent at Spring PlantFest this year. “I was motivated by boredom,” she says, “driven by passion and inspired by a pattern on Pinterest. And then we realized that a gardening apron would make a fun Mother’s Day gift.”

And now over a 100 hand-made gardening aprons will be available at PlantFest on Mother’s Day weekend, May 6 and 7, here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. These are not your grandmother’s aprons. A clever combination of patterns, textures and colors, they are more than just pretty and practical; they are wearable, functional works of art. Aprons with three deep pockets, gusseted to hold gardening gear. Aprons with cell phone pockets. Aprons with sturdy loops to keep garden shears handy. All of them machine washable. Each one unique. Tucked into the apron pockets you will find a voucher for the Garden Shop, good for a 20 percent discount on any outdoor container purchased during the month of May. Tie one of these on and you or your mom will be well suited to nurture all of the nature that abounds in your backyard. The aprons cost $20 each, and proceeds support the Garden’s mission of connecting people with plants.

PlantFest begonia 1000

Rex begonia ‘Green Streak’, grown in the Garden’s greenhouse, will be available in the Bloemendaal’s Best tent at PlantFest.

PlantFest has been a perennial favorite of Richmond gardeners since it began in 1987 as our Spring Plant Sale. Renamed and re-imagined this year, the two day event now includes food, live music, presentations by expert growers and plenty of activities to engage the young ones.

In addition to aprons in Bloemendaal’s Best tent you will find a great collection of perennials and annuals for sale. Many of the plants have been propagated from specimens in the collection at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, others are favorites divided from volunteers’ home gardens. If you like the Garden’s summer annual displays, you are in luck! Many of the annuals for sale at PlantFest are the same plants that you will find growing here when you visit the Garden.

Back by popular demand:  Butterfly Kits! For $20 each you’ll get a great section of butterfly-attracting nectar plants and host plants. Choose from the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or the Monarch Kit. We’ll feature hanging baskets filled with blooms and  flowering vines grown from seed in the greenhouse, too.  Need fencing, trellis or stakes in your yard? You can even buy bundles of bamboo.

PlantFest hypertofa 1000

Hand cast hypertufa containers, handmade by Garden volunteers from a mix of cement, peat and vermiculite, will be potted with houseplants, ready to take home and enjoy. Look for them in Bloemedaal’s Best tent during PlantFest.

There’s even more at PlantFest you won’t want to miss:

  • Learn from the growers themselves in a new series of short vendor presentations scheduled throughout the weekend. There will be a schedule board posted at the event so you won’t miss a thing.
  • Get advice from master gardeners, local extension agents and VSU Virginia Forestry Extension Associate Joel Koci who will be available in a special booth to answer your gardening questions.
  • Have your knives, scissors and garden tools sharpened on site by Mr. Leonard’s Sharpening Service.
  • Buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a custom built potting crafted by the Ginter Geezers.
  • Pick up a test kit to have the soil in your garden analyzed and learn how to amend it to keep your healthy plants happy.
  • If you’re a Garden member, enjoy at 15 percent discount in the Garden Shop during PlantFest hours.
  • For the budding gardeners in your life, there are activities for kids with Junior Master Gardeners on Saturday. Pot a daylily to take home at the free kids potting station. Help your children learn about their role in protecting the environment with a Plant Heroes activity book provided by the American Public Gardens Association. And treat yourself to a Richmond King of Pops organic orange Popsicle.
  • Discover unexpected treasures like rare succulents, butterfly feeders, worm farms (for making your own organic fertilizer) and garden art made from recycled materials. Plus find gardener’s favorites: annuals, perennials, tropicals and even aquatic plants.

Mother Nature wraps the life-giving, nurturing qualities that we associate with motherhood in a package of sights, sounds and scents and then presents them to us as her eternal, maternal gift. Bring your mom  to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for PlantFest and make Mother’s Day weekend a glorious tribute to motherhood and Mother Nature.

PlantFest apron collage 2 1000 cropped

Plenty of pockets make handcrafted garden aprons both pretty and practical.

Spring PlantFest

May 6-7, 2016

Mother’s Day Weekend Celebration

May 6, 7 & 8, 2016

Susan Higgins writes about what she learns and loves in the Garden, first as a volunteer in PR & Marketing and now as Corporate & Foundation Relations Director.

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