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...
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Spring Garden Festival
February 8th & 9th, 2020
Fort Myers, Florida
Link to Estate website: https://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/events/garden-festival-2/
For the third time (overall) Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc. and The Rainforest Collection® will be attending the Garden Festival at the historic Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers, Florida. This is our first time exhibiting at the Spring version of the Festival. The term Spring is used lightly, as it is the second weekend in February, but this event was scheduled to coincide with Thomas Edison's birthday (February 11th). The Fall Festival was just two months and one week ago, so it feels as if we were just there. It is probably the shortest-spaced Spring/Fall plant event in S. Florida. Our second Fall Festival was incredible, and even better than our first the year before. We were so busy I took few photos. We have been told by staff members and other vendors that the Spring Festival is often the larger and busier of the two.
This topic was started a little late, as this is a crazy time of the year and this is one of the earliest plant sales we have ever done. The global plant trade show known as T.P.I.E was just last week and everyone got sick from it, blah.. myself included. As the sickness wanes and the room stops spinning, we are beginning to think of what plants to bring to the show. No surprise, Palms will be the featured plant group, with specimens of all sizes, with emphasis on bringing as many different species as we can. Crotons will also have a major spot in the booth, as they have a historical importance throughout the Edison Estate. The selection process is still fluid and changing every day, until the plants are loaded next week. We are taking any suggestions for what plants or plant groups to bring. If you think of anything, post it here or send a message. We are also taking advance sales on material we are bringing, plus we are doing Pre-orders on plants that we can bring across the state for those who are interested. To inquire about a Pre-order, contact Jeff Searle directly at the following methods...
phone: (954) 658-4317 (or) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Ideas? Post them here. Whenever I find out more info about what plants we are bringing I will try and post it here before the show.
Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/RPRekH4pDQK2