Taking care of your garden can be more than just a hobby, it could be your obsession. March 10th is your chance to meet local landscaping professionals and serious gardeners at the 16th annual Spring Obsession in Munn Park.
“It’s truly one of my favorite events,” says local resident Rachel Wallace. “I find great plants, advice, garden art and generally have a nice day in Downtown Lakeland.”
From 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. expect to enjoy a free day of family activities while exploring the many displays of flowers and plants for sale. Attend garden presentations, purchase art for the patio and listen to live music from the jazz band Free Time, an eclectic and entertaining blend of musical styles ranging from Miles Davis to Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley.
Gloria Brooke, one of the co-founders of the event remembers how it all got started eleven years ago, “Marie MaGrath and I were talking and decided Lakeland should have a first class garden event like Selby Gardens in Sarasota – a large plant sale with music and garden and educational workshops. We had no funds, just an idea.” Brooke and McGrath quickly built a volunteer team that made the first year’s event a big success.
The goals of each year’s event is to raise money for cultural enhancements in Lakeland with an emphasis on Downtown Lakeland. Eleven years of event proceeds have furnished park benches in Hollis Garden and supported local initiatives including Common Ground Park, Arts on the Park, BikeLakeland and Campfire Girls. In recent years, funds were used to purchase the delightfully artful bike racks outside Polk Museum of Art, artistic bike racks for the libraries and the maintenance of Munn Park,” said Brooke.
The past couple of years the proceeds of the event have gone to purchase park furniture in Munn Park. You’ll see the lovely red and black metal tables and chairs sets across from Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill. Jarvis Kendrick SVP/ West Regional Manager of MIDFLORIDA Credit Union had the honor of cutting the ribbon on the new Street Furniture in Munn Park last year.
About eight years ago the committee decided to support the Green movement. They added rain barrels for sale and an installation workshop. Many of the vendors offer Earth-friendly clothing and garden maintenance products.
Spring Obsession exhibitors and presenters have become regulars each season. The Polk County Master Gardeners have presented educational information almost from the beginning of the event. Exhibitors are quick to rejoin to get a space in the next year’s event. Downtown businesses support Spring Obsession for all the good they do brightening the city.
“We are so thankful for all of our sponsors but particularly MIDFLORIDA Credit Union and Publix Super Markets Charities,” said Brooke. “Our committee for this event has always been entirely volunteers, so all of the net profit goes to support our community. I think all of our sponsors appreciate that.”