Every March, for the last six years, the Wilton Manors/Equality Garden Club “Tropical Plant Fair” has drawn hundreds of horticulturists, amateur and professional to the grounds of the Pride Center for browsing and buying exotic tropical plants.
But this year, on March 23-24,plant aficionados and brown-thumb gardeners will be heading to Richardson Park for the biggest and best Tropical Plant Fair ever.
“It’s a beautiful facility,” said Equality Garden Club President Paul Durbin. “We expect up to 3,000 visitors this year, compared to 2,000 last year.”
And you won’t have to worry about the construction on the Drive. Free parking and shuttle service to Richardson Park will be available at the Wilton Manors City Hall parking lot. A $3 tax deductible donation at the gate will help the Garden Club defray fair costs.
Fifty vendors will show off their plants throughout the park. Seven non-profit groups will also have booths.
“Most of our vendors have their own nurseries,” according to Durbin. “They will make more money in one day at the fair than they do in a month back at the nursery.”
The vendors will be offering a rich variety of plants, including aroids, air plants, bromeliads, cycads, heliconias, hoyas, orchids, palms, tropical fruits, bonsai, and more. Additionally, there will be vendors selling, art, and accessories, and essentials for the gardener. Information related to landscaping, insect control, fertilizer, and irrigation will be available from the Master Gardeners of Broward County. There will also be a silent auction with plant-related items and merchandise from local merchants.
The Equality Garden Club (known by its members as EGC) does much more than this annual event. The club donates to local charities such as Kids in Distress, which received $3,500 from the club last year. Durbin said they will support the organization again this year with a similar donation. Proceeds from the event will help fund community service projects in Broward County sponsored by the Garden Club.
EGC is also setting up five $1,000 scholarships for college students who have ties to the Urban Farm Institute. Durbin said the place “looks like an airport hangar, where the students do everything from hydroponics to selling garden supplies. t’s an educational program and a community garden where people get lots of advice on how to grow their own plants and vegetables.”
While the EGC’s plant fair is the organization’s biggest event of the year, it’s far from their only activity. “We bring in speakers, such as the curators of Fairchild Gardens in Miami to speak on a regular basis,” Durbinsaid. Topics vary widely, from palm tree experts, to non-native plants and even cooking programs. “We try to make it exciting for people so they’ll attend.”
The club meets the 2ndTuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Hagen Park Community Center in Wilton Manors.
IF YOU’RE GOING:
Event: 7thAnnual Tropical Garden Fair
Dates: March 23-24
Location: Richardson Park
Admission: $3 tax deductible charitable donation to defray Fair expenses
Parking: Free shuttle service to and from Wilton Manors City Hall Parking lot and Richardson Park.