USF Botanical Garden Fall Festival

Hey everyone!

My family and I went to USF’s Fall Festival this weekend and I wanted to share some of the pictures I took of the amazing plants they had! Be warned → this post is picture heavy!

I love going to the botanical garden. For me, it’s especially important to go because I live in a place I’m not native to. If you asked me about native plants, flowers, and growth I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Going to the botanical garden, even just for a festival where they sell plants, really helps me connect more to my local flora and fauna! Plus, we even got a few plants to bring home with us. I took pictures but they’re not that happy right now :sweat_smile: They needed some water and are irritated with being in pots those pots since the festival. I’m working on that :laughing:

This one is called a Music Note.

This one is called Dragon’s Breath.

And these are my daughters. The one with holes in the leaves (don’t worry, they’re supposed to be that way) is a Monstera. The other one is a Philodendron.

@Susurrus – just tagging you because I know we were talking about this :blush:




Aren’t they?! I figured if anyone would appreciate the beauty of the botanical garden it would be my wonderful friends here in the coven :blush:


@MeganB ok, you’re right up my alley, I spent a couple of decades learning about my witchcraft and gardening in South Florida and know all the natives there and am just now getting the hang of these New England plants, herbs and gardens!! Any questions you have, please do ask! I do miss all the native plants and trees in Florida and being able to have a very long growing season, it’s tough here - nearly opposite growing season as Florida, I only have 4 months of season here, which is brutal being a green witch. I just put up a green house and a basement light system to continue growing into the fall and early in the spring. I don’t get to plant until JUNE and I have to stop everything by beginning of October since I’m such high elevation. We’ve already had our first frost (and second). Love your pictures, makes me homesick. Love, Jan


Ohh thanks! I’ll definitely keep that in mind! I’m having the hardest time finding flowers to keep in my area that will survive the humidity, rain, and heat :laughing: I think the Dragon’s Breath is going to look amazing when it blooms but I have to get it in pots. We picked these ones because they’re annuals and they bloom all year. But we also picked them because out of all the flowering bushes at the festival, these and the Music Note plants were just so full of bees that I had to have them!

I’d really like to have a hibiscus, too. Those seem to do well here in Central Florida.

What’s your favorite plant to grow down here? I’m working on my second year of having a vegetable garden. It’s funny that our growing season hasn’t really started yet. It’s still too hot and humid :rofl: I’ve got some seeds to get started soon. I don’t know if you saw in the Merry Meet Monday - Magick News of the Week! Oct 10 - 16 :broom: post but I shared some of my garden beds that I’m working on. We want to have zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, and all kinds of other things. Our peppers did really well last year but we had ants infest the roots of just about every plant in the garden and so much stuff died :sob:

I can’t believe you already had your first frost! That’s crazy to me, but I know you’re much further north than I am. At least we both are in similar situations with acclimating to different growing seasons :laughing: we’re not alone!


Gosh, my favorite - I love Hibiscus, they are the hydrangeas of the south to me! So many colors and varieties and only really grow in the south! I also love coneflowers and lavender for my apothecary needs. Gerbera Daisies (bright pink ones!) are also a fav. I love Mexican heather for ground cover too!

Don’t forget to grown Coreopsis which is the Florida state flower! They are drought tolerant and attract butterflies and they typical variety will have daisy-shaped golden-yellow flowers, however you can now find them with single or double flowers, and blooms in shades of yellow, gold, orange, red, and pink. Very popular!

Try out some of the palm trees that are smaller/medium in size too like the pony tail palm, the triangle palm, madagascar, arenga, areca, and Christmas palms you can get to live in pots and dwarf varieties if they aren’t small enough for your space and they are easy to take care of.

Lastly, I would say since you’re in Florida, you can try out some patio fruit trees, just know that when there’s an identified citrus disease or something of the like, they will come by each home (literally) and destroy all of the trees of that kind, no joke. It happened to me 3 times when I lived there.

Happy growing!!!


Oh shoot one more - bougainvilleas are a fav for hedges or gates or trellises!!! :purple_heart:


We had a huge hibiscus bush in front of our patio in the apartment we lived in when we first moved here. It was gorgeous and I loved looking at it through the window and sitting with them outside when the weather was tolerable. :hibiscus: I’ve tried growing lavender here a few times but both times it has either died or not flowered. I’m sure there’s just something I’m not doing right :laughing:

We do have some palms in the backyard around the pool. They’re okay but definitely not my favorite. We can’t have citrus trees, or any fruiting tree for that matter, without HOA approval. I get it but it’s annoying. I’ll look into the Coreopsis! And the last one you said, the bougainvilleas. I’ve never heard of those!

This is all so helpful, thank you Jan! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Great pics! Especially the dragon’s breath!


@MeganB try these three lavenders, they built for your zone!

Lavandin Hybrids (Zones 5-10): “Lavandins” are English Lavender Hybrids (Lavandula x intermedia) that bloom later than species lavenders and have a higher essential oil content. They have large, gray-green leaves and are known for their speedy growth and strong fragrance.

This group features some of our most popular lavender cultivars, including ‘Provence,’ the famous perfume lavender, ‘Phenomenal,’ and ‘Grosso’.

French Lavender (Zones 5 – 10): (Lavandula dentata) well-suited to milder climates without the scare of harsh winters, French lavenders are ornamental plants known for their needle-like, toothed leaves (hence their Latin name – dentata). Their fragrance is lighter than the perfumy English varieties. These plants work well in fast-draining containers and rock gardens, and add a good dose of beauty when lining walkway and entry paths. They prefer full sun and gritty soil.

Spanish Lavender (Zones 7 – 10): (Lavandula stoechas), have silvery leaves and larger flowers with bigger, pine-cone-shaped petals at the top. The flowers alone are quite eye-catching. Carrying a eucalyptus fragrance, Spanish lavenders can tolerate a bit more humidity than most of their relatives. Popular as focal points in courtyard and small-space gardens, Spanish lavenders take well to containers and stylized pruning.

Oh girl, learn about bougainvilleas - they are so great!!! Here’s a great article overview:


Thank you! I’m really excited to see what they look like in full bloom. Here’s a picture but I don’t think it’s gonna do it justice!

Image Source

Thank you! I’m gonna save this information for later :laughing: I don’t know what kind of lavender we had but we’ve tried twice. The one I planted in the ground did okay. It got really big but it never flowered. The other three we had were in hanging planter pots that my dad bought. It was definitely the wrong kind of lavender because they just died :person_shrugging: I think they got way too hot.


@MeganB the French lavender grows really well here at my home in NC. And super low maintenance


Gorgeous pics!!! :heart_eyes: Gosh I just want to jump through the computer screen- everything looks so lush and green there @MeganB! :bouquet:

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the autumn colors, but we’re starting to get frost in the morning and it looks like snow isn’t too far away- I’m not ready to give up all the pretty plants yet!!! :laughing:


Everything will stay green here for a while :green_heart: but it will eventually change colors. You’re more than welcome to come visit! :blush: I couldn’t imagine waking up to frost on the ground yet lol if I still lived in Oregon that would be the case but no more frost :snowflake: for me!


Awww thank you, Megan- I would love to!!! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Maybe someday, when we’ve stopped hopping around Europe and are more permanently settled in the USA. I’d love to spend more time exploring closer to home, and Florida is so lovely (and frost-free!) in the colder months! :beach_umbrella: :sparkles:


You’re right about being frost free! Well okay, it’s usually frost free. It does happen sometimes! But even the beaches are still nice in the winter. That’s the best time to go :laughing:


Hahaha I can imagine- and gosh, I’d love to go for a walk on a sunny beach right about now! :beach_umbrella: We’re getting frost nearly every morning- getting out of bed is becoming harder and harder :joy:

Nature is already going to sleep around here- I’m going to have to switch to living vicariously through your (and everyone else blessed to live in warm weather climates) beautiful pictures! :bouquet: :sparkles::blush:


I’ll be sure to post them often, then! :camera_flash: Oh, and I’ll be sure to post pictures of our rare frost when it does happen lol


Yes, please! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :camera_flash: :sparkles:


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