Downtown Hendersonville doesn’t bloom until the annual Garden Jubilee, this year set for Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A Memorial Weekend tradition, Garden Jubilee attracts thousands of green-thumbed visitors to Main Street. Back in 1995, it started as a close-knit garden party, but it’s since exploded into a 265-vendor plant show. Beth Carden, executive director for the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority, says the secret is rooted in quality. In other words, there are no pink flamingos or run-of-the-mill garden gnomes.
“We select vendors that bring attention to the agricultural diversity of our community,” says Carden. “We’re well known for apples, sure, but we’ve also got 40-plus nurseries in the area.”
Each seller undergoes an extensive screening process beforehand. Which is no problem, considering that only seven to eight slots open each year. Most heirloom growers have been sitting pretty in their booths for two decades.
Briggs Garden Center out of Horse Shoe, for instance, has been stationed on Sixth Avenue since Garden Jubilee’s first year. Briggs and neighboring Stepp’s Plants form the floral “anchor” of the show, says Carden. They’re noted for unusual shrubs and hanging baskets. Last season, hollyhocks caught the attention of passersby. This summer, owners Kathy and Silas Briggs expect hydrangeas to be hot.
“Our display is like stepping into a garden,” says Kathy. As is the entire downtown. Red bamboo Japanese maples find space beside pitcher plants and water spider orchids flaunt buds behind the street’s double yellow. Garden Jubilee is Hendersonville’s herald of summer, even if Mother Nature ushered in warm weather weeks prior.
Garden Jubilee is located on Main Street in Hendersonville. Admission is free, though the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority asks that patrons keep their pets at home. For more information, go to visithendersonvillenc.com.