Sacred Heart Garden Festival will thrill gardeners and others, too



This year’s annual Sacred Heart Garden Festival has so much to offer the hardest part will be deciding where to start.

The festival begins Friday, April 26, at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, where professional landscape and floral designs will amaze visitors who can seek out vendors with just about everything one might need in a garden plus extras such as antiques, lace and linens. Patrons can learn from some of the most talented and accomplished garden experts at the speaker series on Friday and Saturday.

The Still Magnolias – dresses designed with natural materials – will also be displayed at Sacred Heart during the festival. Local garden enthusiasts volunteered to create each dress.

The festival’s tour of several local gardens is a highlight for plant and landscape lovers. The home gardens are terrific this year with a variety of styles both unique and traditional.

One of the oldest gardens in the city on Milledge Road is on tour. It’s a huge garden with formal rooms of lush plantings. Some of the plants might have come from the original Fruitland Nursery and are no longer in propagation.

Two home gardens on Indian Creek Road are on the tour: one is traditional in front and full of fun in back, and the other is a true self-sustaining garden featuring meadow plants, fruits and herbs.

A Helen Street garden is amazing and a tribute to its artist-owner who has taken advantage of every sun and shade spot.

The Park Avenue home is a testament to an artistic style that blends an Oriental sense of the home and gardens with Southern classics.

And visitors should prepare to be wowed by the largest selection of tropical plants in the city at Aquinas High School and the personal Pennsylvania Avenue garden of the man who helped create the school gardens with his horticulture students over the past 30 years.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 28; garden tours are noon to 5 p.m. each day
WHERE: Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St.
TICKETS: $25 for all three days or $10 for one-day access to events at Sacred Heart Cultural Center


Friday, April 26:
9:15 a.m.: “New Garden Styles; Old Gardeners Wisdom” by Jenks Farmer, author, landscape designer and owner of Jenks Farmer Crinum Nursery

10:30 a.m.: “Herbs: from Drinks to Dinner!” by Mary Louise Hagler, Master Gardener and garden blogger

Noon: “The Garden in Verse” poetry reading and book signing by Marsha Maurer

12:30 p.m.: “Tissue Culture and Propagation of Orchids and Other Plants” by Steve Arthur, owner of Steve Arthur Orchids and an accredited orchid judge

Saturday, April 27
9:15 a.m.: “Ask the Expert” by Sid Mullis, Richmond County extension coordinator

10:30 a.m.: “Cold Hardy Citrus” by Joe LeVert, horticulture teacher and author of numerous articles about tropical plants

11:45 a.m.: “Gardening Whimsy – Miniature Gardening with or without Fairies” by Nancy Wall, wildflower and fairy garden enthusiast

Noon: “The Garden in Verse” poetry reading and book signing by Marsha Maurer

1 p.m.: “Secret Life of Plants” by Robert “Buddy” Lee, creator of Encore Azaleas