THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. RESCHEDULING INFORMATION WILL BE POSTED WHEN AVAILABLE.
Now 25 years ago, the Board and staff of EPIC Behavioral Healthcare, were looking to enhance their fundraising strategies in order to provide more services in the community. Enter Sue Swain. Sue, an EPIC Board member and local Garden Club member, suggested a flower and garden show and the Flower & Garden Expo was born! Under Sue’s leadership, the first Flower & Garden Expo was held at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre parking lot. After a few years, the Expo moved to Francis Field and then in 2004 moved to its current site – the St. Johns County Agricultural Center, where the partnership with the UF/IFAS Extension Office has helped the Expo grow and flourish (pun intended!).
All proceeds from the Expo benefit EPIC Behavioral Healthcare which has been providing substance abuse and mental health treatment in St. Johns County since 1973. According to Teresa Andrews, Director of Development, “Proceeds are used to help those who come to EPIC for services but don’t have the ability to pay so that financial obstacles are never a barrier to help.” She also notes that EPIC is indebted to Sue Swain for the original idea and her long-term guidance of the event and continued availability as a resource and idea sounding board.
Visitors to the Expo have learned that the Expo offers inspiration to beginner and veteran gardeners alike as well as those just starting to think about landscaping their yards or who have limited space but still want to enjoy plants. The Expo brings in a wide variety of growers, nurseries, and garden-related artisans from all around the state – in short, everything to make your garden grow! While keeping in mind our growing climate, nurseries/growers bring in unique and different plants for visitors to consider for their yard. Some nurseries have been attending the Expo for over 15 years and often comment on the friendliness of event visitors and their eagerness to learn.
The Expo partners with the Garden Club of St. Augustine which hosts their judged Annual Flower & Horticulture Show at the Expo inside the Agricultural Center. This year, the theme is “Welcome to My Garden” and the show includes designs, botanical arts, and horticulture. Additionally, the Expo partners with the local Piece-Makers Guild for their annual Quilt Show which will be displayed in the Wind Mitigation building.
Expo patrons will also enjoy expert lectures both days, a special children’s area with fun garden-related activities, access to Master Gardeners, and popular food trucks (such as Fried Chicken Kitchen and Funkadelic) sitting next to the Center’s gardens.“For anyone wanting to beautify their yard, gain ideas for landscaping, ask questions about plants or enjoy art gallery-quality beauty found in the Flower & Quilt Shows, the Expo is the place to be,” says Andrews.
The Flower & Garden Expo will take place on March 28-29. Admission is $5 per person which is good for both days, and children 12 and under are admitted free. Parking is free. The event takes place at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center (I-95, Exit 318) located at 3125 Agricultural Center Drive. Patrons also receive a pass for free admission to EPIC’s “A Taste of St Augustine” taking place on April 26 plus discounts to local attractions.
Saturday, March 28
- 10am – Sustainable Vegetable Gardening. Presented by UF/IFAS Extension SJC Master Gardener, Barbara Purple. Learn how to turn a small patch of dirt into a growing machine that produces vegetables for you and your family.
- 11:30am – Stormwater Pond Plantings. Presented by Terra Freeman, US/IFAS Extension, SJC Horticulture Agent. Stormwater ponds play a valuable role in capturing runoff from impervious surfaces to abate flooding. Learn how you can improve the ecosystem services they provide with appropriate plantings to improve filtration of pollutants while increasing their aesthetic appeal.
- 1pm – Vermiculture. Presented by Lynda Eidson, Gloria Obie & Mary Ann Collins, UF/IFAS Extension SJC Master Gardeners. Earthworms play an important role in Florida landscapes. The ecological benefits include organic matter, decomposition, microbial benefits and nutrients, as well as a principle food soure for birds, reptiles and insects. Tunneling earthworms breakdown soil compaction; improving soil aeration and promote plant growth and adtricultural productivity. Join SJC Master Gardeners volunteers for a demonstration on how to build your own work bin.
- 2:30pm – Include Native Plants in Your 20/20 Vision. Presented by Renee Stambaugh, UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volutneer. Discover how Florida native plants give your yard character, reduce maintenance and attract wildlife. The dependable dozen Florida native plants, appropriate for use in residential landscapes, will be reviewed.
Sunday, March 29
- 11am – Flower Arrangements from Your Garden. Presented by St. Johns County Master Gardener, Dottie Hudson. Learn how to use plants and flowers from your garden to develop floral arrangements for your home.
- 12:30pm – Growing and Culinary Uses of Fresh Herbs. Presented by Dennis Gretton, Owner of D & D Nursery and popular Expo vendor. Learn how to successfully grow and cook with common and unusual herbs in Florida.
All proceeds from the Expo benefit EPIC Behavioral Healthcare which has been providing substance abuse and mental health treatment in St. Johns County since 1973.
To learn more about the Expo (including a list of all vendors), visit www.epicbh.org or call (904) 829-3295.