USF hosting plant festival this weekend

More than 70 vendors, including local plant clubs, societies and commercial growers from all over the state, will be selling plants and plant-related items at USF’s Botanical Gardens 16th Annual Fall Plant Festival this weekend.

Among the events offered will be a botanical illustration class, student exhibit and free lectures. Food and drinks such as hotdogs, fresh-squeezed lemonade and ice cream will be available for purchase. There will also be a children’s activity area with arts and crafts, and a maze.

A Tea Talk will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. According to Kim Hutton, the special events coordinator for the USF Botanical Gardens, the Kacesisa Tea Company will begin by facilitating a discussion on the different physical and mental uses for tea, followed by a sampling in the herb garden.

Sunday’s exhibition will include a series of free workshops presented by Hutton. She will hold a lecture on organic vegetable gardening at 11 a.m., creating a butterfly garden at 11:30 a.m. and backyard habitats at noon.

Those who attend the festival can visit the Plant Shop, which will offer fall specials, a bookstore and different vendors. USF Botanical Gardens members have the opportunity to arrive at 9:30 a.m. both days for exclusive shopping.

A wide assortment of plants will be available, and experts will be present to explain how to properly care for them.

Proceeds from the event support the mission and programs of the USF Botanical Gardens.

The USF Botanical Gardens is a non-profit, member-sponsored, educational facility located on the southwest corner of the Tampa campus.

Its mission is to “foster appreciation, understanding and stewardship of our natural and cultural botanical heritage through living plants, collections, displays education and research,” according to

The event begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. General admission is $3, and parking is complimentary. Children under 12 and USF Botanical Garden members get in for free.