If you go
What: Plantasia, sponsored by the Charleston Horticultural Society
When: Plant sale and workshops are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Wragg Square, 342 Meeting St., downtown Charleston
Cost: Free admission. The Fete Preview Party and Garden to Gin require separate tickets.
More info: Go to chashortsoc.org.
Plant lovers can go crazy at Plantasia, a two-day event hosted by the Charleston Horticultural Society that includes everything from a plant sale to workshops and parties.
Last year's event drew record-breaking attendance with more than 4,000 garden enthusiasts from around the Southeast filling Wragg Square. The event features almost 20 vendors selling native and unusual plants as well as garden decor and elaborate birdhouses.
Don't miss these Plantasia must-do activities:
Garden of Gin: We've all heard of farm-to-table but how about farm-to-glass? This cocktail tasting party at GrowFood Carolina has gin cocktail stations featuring local distilleries and food pairings from Bay Street Biergarten. Design company Garden Elegance will create a garden art installation featuring plants commonly used to infuse the grain alcohol and as garnishes for the cocktails, such as lemongrass, citrus and mint.
The idea is to show off the different aspects of horticulture and how it plays into every aspect of life, says Kyle Barnette, executive director of the Charleston Horticultural Society. There's an educational component of each cocktail station, so it's a nice way to pull in people who might not always find horticulture relevant, he adds.
The Garden of Gin is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday; tickets are $55.
Salvia Workshop: Gardeners with a taste for everything from herbs to flowers to bees can take part in free workshops Friday and Saturday at Wragg Square. Manager of Plantasia and tours Susan Epstein says she's looking forward to "World of Salvias" with Richard DuFresne. The workshop is at 3 p.m. Friday and will be all about salvias, which bloom from June until November.
They not only survive the winter to return in the spring but are great for attracting bees and butterflies. DuFresne also will have new varieties of salvia for attendees to try in their own gardens.
Window Box Competition: For the second year, there's a window box competition for professionals and amateurs. A committee narrowed down the entries and the finalists will design a window box at the opening Fete Preview Party with the hopes of winning Best of Show. The party begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Wragg Square.