2018-09-14 / Home & Garden

Fall Plant and Flower Festival 2018

Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano

Fall is not only the opportune time for planting edible landscaping and next spring’s perennial garden but also an ideal time to meet South Carolina growers and gardeners face to face. Each fall the South Carolina Department of Agriculture hosts the Midlands Plant and Flower Festival, a three-day event from September 21-23, for the public to peruse and purchase landscape plants directly from growers at the SC State Farmer’s Market, 208A Wholesale Lane in West Columbia.

Parading on the grower’s green runway will be native perennials and shrubs for pollinator plots, wildlife habitats, cottage gardens, and rain gardens.

Native plants such as oakleaf hydrangea, baptisia, wild senna, and hearts a burstin’ are apt additions for the wildlife garden. Expect to find old-fashioned passalong plants like canna, wild ageratum, hardy begonia, yarrow, kerria, and rose mallow and perfume factories like crinum and ginger lilies. Fetch foodscaping flats including ornamental vegetables and cool-season vegetable and herb transplants. A variety of low-maintenance frond friends, one of the oldest groups of plants on earth, will add beauty to shade-loving spots and rock terraces.


Red swamp hibiscus has 6" diameter pinwheel flowers throughout summer into fall. Red swamp hibiscus has 6" diameter pinwheel flowers throughout summer into fall. This year, Lexington County Master Gardener volunteers are holding their annual plant sale at the festival. Their booth will contain hundreds of houseplants, succulents, flowering shrubs, trees, and herbaceous perennials propagated by seed, cutting, layering, and grafting by the hands of the masters in their personal gardens including penstemon ‘Violet Dusk’, Asiatic jasmine, peach ginger lilies, balloon plant milkweed, and red swamp hibiscus, vitex, and eastern redbud trees. While their finest foliage is priced competitively with commercial big box stores, don’t expect to find fall mums or flats of pansies.

A large assortment of garden supplies, tools, pots, and gifts will be for sale in their General Store. Proceeds from the plant sale support the Sam Cheatham Scholarship for students majoring in horticulture or agriculture.

Master gardener volunteers will be on hand to give advice on compatible plants for hanging baskets, winter window boxes, mass plantings, butterfly gardens, foodscapes, knot gardens, and square foot gardens. They can pinpoint native plants for your pollinator planter and answer questions on appropriate plant species for shade, sun, season, and soil.

Planning forward to a fantastic fall in the southern garden starts with the Midlands Plant and Flower Festival September 21-23.



Drought tolerant Penstemon 'Violet Dusk' attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Drought tolerant Penstemon 'Violet Dusk' attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Balloon plant milkweed is native to Africa. Balloon plant milkweed is native to Africa.

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