Garden Show is 20— and Growing

The nonprofit, all-volunteer event, was launched in 1997 to promote horticulture in the state.

A variety of blooms on display at last year’s Springfest Garden Show.
A variety of blooms on display at last year’s Springfest Garden Show.
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Williver/Images Everything Photography

No matter the forecast, sunny weather is a sure thing at the Springfest Garden Show in Augusta. “You’re basking in sunlight with all these flowers in March, when there’s still slush outside,” says Barbara Abita, copresident of the Springfest Committee.

The show marks its 20th anniversary this month with more garden displays and vendors than in the past, plus notable speakers, including keynoter Ken Druse, a gardening writer and Sussex County resident; landscape architect Jan Johnsen; and David L. Culp, vice president of Sunny Border Nurseries in Connecticut.

Springfest may be small, but its reputation is big. “A lot of people say they like it more than [the Philadelphia Flower Show], which is the largest show in the United States,” says Abita. “They like it more because you can get up close and see things.”

The nonprofit, all-volunteer event, was launched in 1997 to promote horticulture in the state. Originally, the show was held in a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse and attracted 1,200 visitors. This year, about 10,000 people are expected to attend the exhibition, now housed in 50,000 square feet of space. The conservatory, barn and heated tents are connected, so attendees are continuously indoors.

People come to get ideas—and to shop. “The garden shopping at Springfest is full of unusual items that you can’t find in a garden center,” says Abita.
There’s also a Kids Planting Zone and a treasure hunt. “I haven’t seen an ornery kid yet at Springfest,” says Abita. “Sometimes we have to curb their enthusiasm. They want to catch the frogs in the pond.”

As they mark 20 years, the Springfest planners are setting new goals, such as promoting garden clubs, plant societies, landscape associations and community gardens. “We’d love to see young people getting interested in gardening,” says Abita.

The Springfest Garden Show runs 10 am to 5 pm daily, March 17 to 20, at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $12; seniors $9; children under 12 free. For more, visit their website.

Click here to leave a comment
There are no photos with those IDs or post 126131 does not have any attached images!
Read more Jersey Living, Outdoors articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.