Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc. & The Rainforest Collection® presented (barely)...
The 22nd Annual Spring Plant Extravaganza!
March 6th, 7th, 8th, - 13th, 14th, 15th - 2020
It is amazing how much of a difference a few weeks can make. A month ago, most of us behind the organization of the Spring 'Ganza were busy pulling plants, setting up sale stuff and otherwise had our noses buried deep in palms. News of the outbreak was still scantly covered in South Florida, with reports stating that it was mostly going on elsewhere, with the activity level at the south end of the state, and of the sale, seemingly unaffected. This was slowly changing during the week leading up to the first sale weekend. We kept one eye on the news and the other on the plants.
Prior to the Spring Extravaganza, the nursery had attended two very successful plant sales, one in Key West, the other in Ft. Myers. Both events drew heavily on the plant selection and both depleted the selection just as heavily. There were more than enough Palms available for the Spring 'Ganza, but the prior two sales did make a dent in quantity across the Palm family and other plant groups -- namely Crotons, which were a target of many during the two sales (especially in Ft. Myers, which is a Croton haven). There were over 315 Palm taxa (species, varieties, hybrids) available at the opening 'bell' on Friday morning. Some were represented by one size, others as many as five different sizes; from 4-inch to 200 gallon and most sizes in between. Certain taxa were present in the sales area in large numbers or blocks, while others had only a single plant residing on a table, with the duty to hold up its sign by itself. There were of course, a few unlisted specials that didn't make the sale list, but not many. Throughout the sales area, the different sections were packed with material. Every section had new species or varieties. I lost track of how many cards (or signs) were put out, but it was a lot. I ran out of stakes and almost ran out of clips. The total content of material was just about record-breaking for a Spring 'Ganza (except for Crotons).
Friday, March 6th
- 7:55AM - The morning of the first Friday was a mess from my point of view. I was running way behind schedule by the time I made it to the nursery. I had to make a stop beforehand, which I usually never do, so I was rushing through everything after I squeezed through the gate. As a bonus, as I was heading out the door on my way to the early stop, the news announced that the first cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Florida, at this time it was two cases near Central Florida. The sense of "Oh crap" was carried to the nursery. On my way west through Broward County, I noticed a thick line of dark clouds further to the west, seeming to heading right for the nursery (and the 'Ganza). The sense of "Oh crap" had strengthened to "Oh shit" as I drove faster hoping to beat the rain to the nursery. I had a lot of material with me that could not get wet. I managed to get to the nursery and to the shadehouse's white tent without getting rained upon, as it seemed the rain had shifted to the north somewhat. I rushed to set up the pre-sale stuff the best I could and grabbed my camera to head to the gate. I took a few 'bookend' photos of the area in front of the tent to start the process...
- Normally, when I have the time, I like to photograph the sidewalk area in the main shadehouse to get an overall look of the Palm selection before it gets attacked. Clean sidewalk, all the Palms in their spots, signs all ready, etc. But this time I had to defer as the sale opening was upon me. I took one shot in front of the tent, showing the Dwarf Betel Nut Palms, Areca catechu var. 'Dwarf', on the left and the Red Sealing Wax Palms, Cyrtostachys renda, on the right. (B) I did an immediate 180º turn, took another photo looking back up the sidewalk and then headed that way. Those red spots in the distance are red shirts belonging to volunteers Judy & Jim Glock. They were going ahead of me to the sales area entrance to greet customers.
- 7:57AM - I knew I was going to be late to catch the crowd coming in, but I had to try. As I exited the shadehouse and made the turn, Kylie Searle was heading towards me, letting everyone know the customers were coming. We were both moving fast as I took the photo. I kept this shot as it gives an idea of how dark the skies were. They were much darker just ten minutes earlier. (B,C) I reached the holding area and caught a partial crowd making their way to the sales area. Shooting from the hip, I photographed through golf carts to capture Jim Glock greeting customers. The initial crowd through the gate was smaller than usual, but there were a lot of cars parked outside. I figured the dark clouds either kept some in their vehicles or delayed those making their way to the nursery.
- Like usual, the first group of arriving customers dispersed and headed off in all directions. I turned around and followed a few of the initial customers to the shadehouse entrance. Judy Glock was following them in as well, heading to the Croton section to assist collectors in finding their most wanted cultivars. (B) The shadehouse entrance became a parking lot in seconds. The cloud cover was still apparent as it cut the light to low levels, making a speedy customer, croton-in-hand, blur as he moved to his cart.
A link back to the Spring 'Ganza topic in the For-Sale sub-forum: Spring Extravaganza - For-Sale Topic
Naples Zoo 2nd Annual Exotic Palm & Tropical Plant Sale
Saturday & Sunday – April 11th & 12th 2020
Organized by Searle Brothers Nursery Inc. & The Rainforest Collection® in cooperation with the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
More information to come later via a For-Sale topic...
The 22nd Annual Spring Searle Brothers Plant Extravaganza! -●●●- March 6th, 7th, 8th – 13th, 14th, 15th -●●●- S. FloridaBy Palmarum
Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc. &
The Rainforest Collection®
The 22nd Annual Spring
March 6th, 7th, 8th – 13th, 14th, 15th, 2020
Palms and plants galore, let the season begin. The first two months of the year have been exceptionally busy in the S. Florida plant world. Day to day, week to week, it has been one plant-related event after another. This is always welcomed, along with a particularly warm and mild winter. Although we might not be ‘out of the woods’ just yet, reaching mid-February is always a milestone when calculating potential cold snaps. The winter has been mild -- yet on the dry side, but most of the palms here can’t complain. There has been one cold snap of note so far, during the fourth week of January, timed right at the beginning of the trade show TPIE which it usually occurs. I woke up to find 35°F (1.7°C) in my front yard. It didn’t last long and the day warmed up fast, so I had no damage, even on my sacrificial tell-tale plants.
The nursery has been busy with plant sales around the state; with the Edison Estate Garden Festival two weekends ago in Ft. Myers and the always phenomenal and fun Key West Sale this past weekend. The plant selection process for these two sales were combined in a way to help accelerate the same process for the upcoming Extravaganza. The core of the selection has begun and will continue for the next two weeks leading up to the first Friday of the sale. As soon as I have the first draft of the palm list, I will post it as an attachment to showcase it as fast as possible. I have already received inquiries as to what plants will be offered this Spring, and I am sure there will be more. In addition to the plant sale, the topics of conversation I am sure will focus on a number of things, including the upcoming Biennial, which is about three months away.
The Searle Brothers Plant Extravaganzas have become exciting plant events 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 (or two) 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 absent, 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 2020 Schedule:
Friday, March 6th - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday, March 7th - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday, March 8th - 9:00AM - 4:00PM
also, the following weekend...
Friday, March 13th - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday, March 14th - 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday, March 15th - 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 positioned 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 and will post it here as an attachment. 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 representing various plant families from around the world. A large number of Croton cultivars 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: - Orchids:
Heliconias, Gingers and other Zingiber order members: -
Tropical Flowering Trees, Shrubs, & Vines:
Succulents & Sansevierias:
Landscape Ornamentals: - Tropical Fruit Trees:
Rare and Unusual Exotic Species:
One-of-a-Kind and Hard-to-Find wonders of the plant world: - … and much more:
There is always a chance a newly cultivated & recently discovered 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 during busy periods. 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...) It is further inside the commercial area connected via NW 146th Avenue off of Sheridan Street and is next door to the Cracker Barrel restaurant. 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 fall plant event and it was wonderful to have so many in attendance. We had visitors from all over the country. I have included a link to the sale topic from this past Fall, showing the action from the event.
Fall Extravaganza 2019
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 listed 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!