Naples Exotic Palm & Tropical Plant Sale (and tour)
April 13th & 14th, 2019
Presented by: Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc. & The Rainforest Collection®
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Link: Naples Zoo Website
Since the summer of last year, the idea of the nursery exhibiting a plant sale in the Naples area began to take form. The location of the Naples Zoo became the obvious choice, due to its location within Naples and the interpersonal contact we have had with the Zoo's horticultural staff for some time now. The exact location of the sale began to float around the Zoo, until an expanse of grass and planting area adjacent to the Zoo's entrance was chosen as the site. One of the first exploratory missions to the Zoo to work on the sale idea, was carried out last October during a delivery trip: Topic - The Naples Zoo... With the location and date set, all we needed to do is to figure out what to bring, Palms of course, but how many and what species.. and what other plants? As it was a brand new event, the possibilities and choices were almost endless, not to mention the setup plan for the booth, as for many of us, it remained site unseen. The plan became a common one: bring as many different palms as possible along with representatives of bromeliads, crotons and tropical flowering trees. This topic could be considered a continuance of the one started in the For Sale sub-forum (Topic - Naples Sale) as the last photos in that topic were taken two days prior to the beginning of this one.
As Friday came, we traveled across the state and began to form the booth in our minds, arriving to find a blank canvas as it were, minus an art sculpture and a bright purple fire hydrant. In the direct sun and record heat, the booth took form, using every bit of real estate and all four tents brought. Through the course of the day, plants were positioned, moved, then moved again. Signs went out in force as close to 200 taxa were represented. It was busy, chaotic and invigorating all at the same time.
When primary setup was completed, the small stuff had to wait for the following morning as Jeff and I were invited to a late-day visit to the home and collection of renown plantsman Bob Alonzo, whose property was a short drive from the Zoo. Daylight was failing, so many of the photos I took were not the best, considering the short amount of time we had to look around. Bob has his own blank canvas to work on, as he has only been at the property for less than two years. He has some amazing ideas for the property and it will be interesting to see them unfold in the future.
Note: I had a rather interesting surprise happen to me halfway through Saturday. I was treated to a whirlwind tour of the Naples Palm scene and local plant history. It had been decades since my last visit to the area, so it was all new to me. I will go into greater detail as it comes up in the topic, but it originally started out as a trip to find, see and photograph the long regarded mythical Carpoxylon or 'Sasquatch' as some people call it. It has supposedly resided somewhere in Naples for close to 30 years. Photos of it have been posted before, but I haven't seen it myself and I constantly hear stories of people who try and track it down and they can't. Then on the flip side, stories of people who have stumbled upon it, but had no camera (mostly back in the 90's).
Saturday, April 13th
- 8:31AM - So it begins... With no expectations and a lot of enthusiasm, we arrived at the Zoo about a half hour before we were scheduled to open. As our booth and sale location was in close proximity to the Zoo entrance (to be remodeled in the near future) we shared the walkway with visitors. It gave us not only the chance to meet those heading into the Zoo, but it gave patrons two chances to notice the plant sale, either going to or coming from, the parking lot.
- The grassy area or plot that served as the sale locale is situated along the main walkway (concrete) to and from the Zoo entrance building. The winding road to the parking lot that feeds in from Goodlette-Frank Road runs left and right behind the booth. (B) Originally, we figured on all the plants fitting on one side of the walkway, but that didn't quite work out...
- We also planned on having no plants on the concrete, but that did not work out either as space became a premium. Luckily, the selection of full sun species, notably many of the Caribbean palms, were happy to oblige and occupy the spot. The nearby parking spaces were cordoned off to leave them as a loading zone. Those light blue bars at the left of the image belong to a three-wheeled bike or trike that was locked up at the bicycle parking rack. (we had to move plants, as we originally had it blocked). Oops. (B) A few of the booth, from the opposite side...
- The second walkway through the booth, from front to back, went under one of the white tents, bordered at the front with two separate palm groupings; Cyphophoenix nucele on the left and multiple sizes of Verschaffeltia splendida on the right. The larger C. nucele was still tied up from transport, as we were getting things setup. (B) At the center tent, Jeff Searle and Michelle Searle get the sale material ready and make sure everything works. Those palms on the right near the Bromeliads were different sizes of Cyrtostachys loriae.
The 21st Annual Spring Plant Extravaganza!
Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc. & The Rainforest Collection®
March 1st, 2nd, 3rd - 8th, 9th, 10th - 2019
Southwest Ranches, S. Florida
In South Florida, winter was kind and bestowed upon us a rather warm season in which to grow our Palms and our other favorite tropical plant groups. The month of February preceding the sale was exceptionally hot and dry. Irrigation systems were working overtime. A relatively small price to pay compared to what damages may be inflicted by the bitter cold. I am writing this now on the fourth weekend of March during a great day, where temperatures are mild thanks to what will probably be the last hurrah of cool weather.
Simply put, the Spring Extravaganza was unbelievable. We had a very diverse selection of plant material for a spring sale, thanks due in part to the warm weather and the increased production of different plant groups. This spread of tropical plants was well-received by a large mass of attendees who came throughout all six days, with the majority visiting during the first three days and the second Saturday. Palms were of course the favorite group and were represented by over 282 species, varieties and a few hybrids spread across the varied sale sections and appeared in well-over 300 different size groups, i.e. one gallon, seven gallon, etc. Certain palm species appeared in as many as five sizes, to really give the average Palm Nut a decision to make. Other popular tropical plant groups included the Crotons, the Tropical Flowering Trees, the unending stream of new Bromeliads, the exotic Flowering Shrubs, the beloved Ground Orchids, Heliconias and Gingers and the Tropical Fruit Trees. Even the Landscape plants, the second largest group, were hit rather hard. Throughout the sales area, over 680 signs were put on display with their corresponding groups. For the plant-seeking enthusiast, the choices were many.
Friday, March 1st
- 7:42AM - 7:46AM - The early morning before the opening of a plant sale, there is nothing quite like it. The air was still and the sales area was bustling with the typical early action that begins each sale day. The first Friday was primed with as many personnel as we could assemble, in both staff and volunteers. The volunteers are vital to the event, as much of what we strive to achieve would not be possible without them. (A) With a few minutes left until the rush begins, volunteers begin to take their assign positions. (B) Jeff Searle greets a new volunteer and gives her a brief tour of the sales area and a summary of procedures. (C) Amadeo tries to garner a reaction from Carson Searle as he seems distracted, as Michelle Searle and Amber Searle look on.
- 7:50AM - 7:58AM - As we gathered at the intersection by the holding area, we began to see the crowd gather at the gate. (A) With the lens I had on at the time, I do my best to see that far. The sales area was checked and rechecked. Everything I usually do in the morning was ready including the brochures, plant lists, etc. (B) As the morning sun was blocked by the nearby grove of trees, I took a shot down the main road bordered on both sides by the landscape plant section. (C) I stood close to the golf cart selected to travel down and open the gate (so I wouldn't be left behind) and saw the same group seen above, this time joined by Travis Searle on the right.
- A minute later it was time to head to the gate. With Jeff at the wheel, myself on the back and Andrea Searle riding shotgun, we headed to the gate. As we approach, more and more customers exited their vehicles and walked to the gate. I saw some begin to stretch and limber up. (B) At his post near the gate, Randy Searle waits for the rush to begin. It is hard to make out, but you can see the line of cars outside the fence. There were a lot of them. Certain attendees are content to wait until after the initial rush to enter the sale and thus hang out in their vehicles for a few minutes. The morning coffee and breakfast biscuit are a must.
- 7:59AM - Leaving Andrea to open the gate, we spun around to stay ahead of the group. (A) Andrea opens the gate and the first group enters the nursery. They all keep pace with one another as they head down the main road.
Follow the link below to the For Sale topic for more information:
The 21st Annual Spring Searle Brothers Plant Extravaganza! -●●●- March 1st, 2nd, 3rd – 8th, 9th, 10th 2019 -●●- S. FloridaBy Palmarum
Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc. &
The Rainforest Collection®
The 21st Annual Spring
March 1st, 2nd, 3rd – 8th, 9th, 10th – 2019
The brief winter season between the past Fall Extravaganza and this February has been filled with all sorts of plant related activities and they have all added to spring planting fever. From the Ft. Myers Garden Festival in November to the Holiday Party of the South Florida Palm Society, over the new year to the winter garden tour presented by the Palm Beach Palm & Cycad Society in early January, to the TPIE convention in the middle of last month and the Key West Plant Sale this early February; they have all stirred up the urge to scratch that ‘itch’ to grow plants new to those who attended. These events have shown to those in attendance, myself included, that there are always new and exciting plant groups out there to explore. The winter in South Florida has been mild so far (crosses fingers) although a bit on the dry side. The plant material at the nursery has been growing steadily since the late fall season and the selection for this upcoming spring sale has the potential to be record breaking in both quantity and diversity.
The Searle Brothers Plant Extravaganzas have become exciting plant sales and a great way for IPS Members, Palmtalk Forum Members and fellow tropical palm & plant enthusiasts to come together and meet in the South Florida area. The events have always been a great way to spend a weekend in the company of those who share your passion for gardening and collecting tropical ornamental plants. To describe the events as just mere plant sales would be an understatement; as they have become much more in the form of social events for our friends and family. Forum members, friends and fellow plant collectors have all come from far and wide to attend and we are continuously surprised in the distances they will cover to share in the event. In regards to the following details, I have tried to include as much information about the upcoming Spring 'Ganza as I could. If you see something that you know should be included and it is missing, please post the idea(s) here or contact me, Jeff Searle or the nursery with the methods listed below and let us know...
South Florida Location:
Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc.
6640 SW 172nd Avenue
Southwest Ranches, Florida 33331
Western Broward County
*see Map below...
Spring 2019 Schedule:
Friday, March 1st - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday, March 2nd - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday, March 3rd - 9:00AM - 4:00PM
also the following weekend...
Friday, March 8th - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday, March 9th - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday, March 10th - 9:00AM - 4:00PM
Our Famous Weekend Free BBQ Lunch
First Weekend: (Saturday 11:00AM - 2:00PM) & (Sunday, 11:00AM - 2:00PM) (or until supplies last)
Nursery Office #: (954) 658-4319
Nursery Fax #: (954) 680-2750
Nursery Website: https://www.rainforestcollection.com/
Jeff Searle: phone #: (954) 658-4317 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Private Message - Jeff Searle: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/messenger/compose/&to=23
Ryan (Palmarum) Email: email@example.com or PM me a message through the Forum
The map below is a general street map of western Broward County, Florida showing the location of the nursery (Palm tree symbol). Using Sheridan Street would be the best option to get to the nursery if you are heading west through the area. If you are taking the Florida Turnpike, use the Griffin Road exit from the north, or the Pines Blvd. exit from the south. If you need any additional directions, please contact the nursery, Jeff or I (Ryan). When you get close to the nursery, look for large power lines as they run east and west above the nursery. Parking is along the shoulder of 172nd Avenue in front of, and down the street from, the nursery entrance. If you intend to arrive early before sunrise (and many usually do) be wary of hard-to-see speed bumps along 172nd Avenue and there is a possibility of a speed trap as well. There has been considerable construction along I-75 so the exits near Sheridan Street and Griffin Road have been changed slightly compared to previous years. Express lanes have been added to I-75, they may or may not make the trip faster.
Plant Availability, Photo Requests:
For plant availability including a copy of the ever-growing list of palms, cycads and other information regarding which plants and species will be for sale, please contact the nursery, Jeff Searle or I (Ryan). The plant selection process has already begun and will continue right up to the last day before the first morning of the Extravaganza, (sometimes even on the mornings of each event day if the need applies.) The sale lists for palms, cycads and crotons will be made available as soon as they are completed. Special selections might be pulled for sale as requests, but only if the plants are available. There will be certain species, varieties and cultivars that will only be available in limited quantities. These rarer plants will likely sell out quickly in the morning hours, so be sure to arrange your wish list accordingly. Plant groups may have been moved around the sales area, relocated or added in with others. In order to speed your way to your favorite plants please ask a nearby staff member or volunteer as to their location.
Like with previous events, I will be able to provide preview photos of the actual plants for sale. They will be posted in this topic for those who are interested. Send me a message or an email with the names of the plants you would like to see. Sale booklets or sale lists will be made available at the Extravaganza. They will include the list of palms, cycads and crotons for sale. Brochure holders along the main shade house sidewalk will have the booklets/sale lists and other information on display. As soon as I have a basic draft list of species and varieties for sale, I will be able to email or PM it to anyone who would want a copy. Each plant will be priced with either a lavender tag or will have the price written on the pot and/or on the display card or sign.
Featured Plant Groups:
The plant selection at the Extravaganza is constantly growing and changing. The largest and most diverse group is by far the Palms, of which there will be over 300 species available in various different sizes. The plant selection will include genera, species, hybrids, cultivars and varieties from around the world. A large number of Crotons will also be on display as their demand has increased production to new levels. There are always new plants to be added to the selection, as the demand for new, exotic and unusual material remains constant...
Aroids: - Bromeliads:
Butterfly Plants: - Cycads: - Crotons:
Cordylines: - Ferns: - Heliconias and Gingers: - Orchids:
Tropical Flowering Trees, Shrubs, & Vines:
Landscape Ornamentals: - Tropical Fruit Trees:
Rare and Hard-to-find Exotics:
and many more:
There is always a chance a new & exotic species of tropical plant will make its way into the sales area.
The Sale Flyer:
The nursery will soon mail out sale flyers to everyone on our mailing list. If you are on the mailing list and do not receive one, please let Jeff or myself know. In addition, if you would like to be placed on the mailing list for future Extravaganza flyers, please send a message to Jeff or myself with your address.
We do provide a limited number of carts for customers to use, but it is recommended that you bring your own plant shopping conveyance. The carts do go quickly in the morning of each day, soon after the gates open and customers make their way to the sales area. During the day when they are returned from the holding area or from the parking lot, they are placed back on the concrete pad across from the register area or near the holding area along the main road.
A comfortable Hampton Inn is located within a short driving distance of the nursery. It has been used by our customers, volunteers and family members in the past who travel a long way to reach the 'Ganza and who require a comfortable place to stay. The Hampton Inn Pembroke Pines/Ft. Lauderdale West is located at the intersection of I-75 and Sheridan Street. (see map above...) If you like to inquire about the hotel, follow the link below:
Hampton Inn Pembroke Pines - Fort Lauderdale West
The Fall 'Ganza from last year was immortalized in a Forum topic made a few months back. It was a great sale and it was wonderful to have so many in attendance. We had visitors from all over the county. I have included a link to the sale topic from last Fall, showing the action from the event...
Fall Extravaganza 2018
Information and Invitation:
If you need any more details regarding plants, directions, or anything that I have not included above, feel free to contact the nursery, Jeff Searle or myself by the methods mentioned above. Feel free to post any messages, questions, etc. in this topic. Jeff Searle, I and all the family members and volunteers look forward to meeting everyone including new and familiar Palmtalk Forum members and IPS members at the upcoming Extravaganza. Be sure to find one of us and introduce yourself. You will be sure to find other Forum members at the event as well, possibly walking right past you down an aisle or grabbing for the same plant. The entire Searle family and the mass of volunteers will be waiting to help you find that perfect plant.
We hope to see you there!