Master Gardeners share secrets of successfully growing plants in seasons of Florida

Plantoberfest co-chairs Ann Fender, left, and Pat Provance with a planter chair that was one of the items donated by Master Gardener Sue Rehcamp for the raffle.

The UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension Master Gardener Plantoberfest had beautiful weather and a great location to handle the big turnout for Saturday’s fall sale.

“We usually have about 2,200 attend our sales,” said event co-chair Pat Provance, “We are going past that today. We were already at 1,500 by 10:30 a.m. People were lined up waiting for us to open.”

Set up at the Wildwood Community Center, using both inside and outside were nearly 40 vendors, selling an array of plants, orchids, butterfly plants and garden art.

Steve Turnipseed of the Florida Native Plant Society was fielding a lot of questions.

Marge Keen purchased a cross vine from the Florida Native Plant Society. She is pictured with Steve Turnipseed.

“You can’t go wrong with a native plant, they originated here. They are slow to grow and low maintenance,” he said.

He also recommends getting a design done before you start buying plants. The Society has produced a booklet with six designs for typical lots in the Villages including lists of what to purchase and quantities. For more information on the booklet go to or Turpinseed’s suggestion, attend one of their monthly meetings on the fourth Friday of the month at Big Cypress Recreation Center at 1:30pm.

Kathy Porter with the calendar guide for gardeners in Sumter County.

Other popular attractions at the Plantoberfest were the Tent Talks featuring master gardeners and the Ask a Master Gardener table.

Villager Kathy Porter was selling calendars that instructs gardeners on what to do and what not to do month by month specifically for Sumter County. These calendars are available at the Master Gardener’s speaker series and plant clinics.

The money raised at the Plantoberfest is used to fund the Master Gardener’s outreach programs including the plant clinics, speaker series, the youth garden, the demo garden and the scholarships they award to members of 4-H and FFA.

Don and Jane Roggenkamp with their newly purchased Bouganvilla.

Jane and Don Ruggenkamp live in the Village of Lake Deaton and have been working on their garden for three years. At the sale they purchased a Bouganvilla.

Jane was ready to go home and get it planted right away.

“I love plants and flowers,” said Jane.

Her home in New Hampshire was mostly a garden.

“I left a pathway to walk to the house,” said Jane. Admittedly gardening in Florida has been a learning curve.

“But I love it,” said Jane. “In Florida I can garden 12 months a year and never in a winter coat.”

The Sumter County 4-H Arena Wranglers were taking plants to people’s car for them as part of their service project.

For more information on the plant clinics, speaker series, the calendar any other upcoming activities, follow them on Facebook at UF IFAS Sumter County Master Gardeners. The 2018 shows are scheduled for March 24 and Oct. 13.