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Friday, May 18, 2018

Summer Market at Williams Park

Greetings all, now that the Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete is winding down from our 15th season, don't forget that Summer Market starts up at Williams Park, downtown St. Pete, just a few blocks away.

Williams Park is located between 3 and 4th streets, between 1st and 2nd avenue north, St. Pete.

There is plenty of parking garages and street side parking  in the immediate area. Williams Park is a safe, gorgeous, Oak shaded area, and over 50 of your favorite vendors will continue to be part of the Summer Market from June through the end of August.

Summer Market hours are 9am-1pm.  Pretty much rain or shine, except for bad lightning storms !

Armstrong Nursery will be located as usual, at the northeast corner of the park.  The nursery will continue to bring your favorite mini succulents and cacti, Desert Rose, as well great shade/house plants, and exotic tropicals.

Summer Market begins Sat. June 2nd, and Armstrong Nursery will join up with them on Sat. June 9th.

Thank you for continued support to Local Talent, Artisans, Fresh Produce, Ready-to-eats goodies and fantastic botanical wonders !

Also special notice!!!  The blog and personal emails recently,  have had inquiries about the Christia Obcordata (aka Butterfly wing) plant that was available quite a few years ago.  Unfortunately, Armstrong Nursery does NOT currently have it, nor do we know of any sources for it currently. It is quite a challenging plant to grow and the grower that we worked with years ago, lost their last crop of it and did not choose to continue with it.    If you are able to find a source, please let us know, we would love to have it too again !

Friday, May 4, 2018

May Happenings at Market

Greetings All ! Well, as most of you know, we had the big Green Thumb Festival last weekend here in St. Pete and it was a great success with the biggest crowds ever. In fact, I know for some, it was Tooooo crowded so we thank everyone for hanging in there with patience and support.  We had 12 people working our booth - 7 sellers, a banker, a plant holding area manager, a plant re-stocker, and Mitch & I overseeing it all !  It was a very successful show overall for the 120 plus vendors, and  the City of St. Pete Parks Dept. did a great job of organizing and running the event. Mark your calendars for 2019 when Green Thumb Festival will happen again the last weekend of April.

At this time of year after our last big Spring show at Green Thumb, some of our larder is empty so to speak.....Crops are done now for Hollyhocks, Digitalis and a lot of perennials and they will  not be available by us until the Fall.  But, going forward, we still do have some great things coming up that were just too small to bring to the show. Examples are Passion Vine, Giant Milkweed, the very popular Abutilon (Chinese lantern) Hibiscus and dwarf Papyrus - stay tuned to our blog for when they will be ready !

In the meantime, we still have some great flowering things for your summer gardens.  We are very excited about a plant, that in one form, has been around for a very long time, but in its' new form, it's blowing the plant world away - we are talking Vinca ! Yes, I said Vinca. Now, I know most of you know that it is considered an Annual and many shy away from Annuals nowadays, but we encourage you to check this out.  It is a new Dwarf variety, very small flowers, growing very compactly and yes, it can take Full, all day sun!!  Let's check out  Vinca "soiree":

We were able to obtain some beautiful deco pot containers full of them, and this week they are in Pink.  They do come in Lavenders and Reds too and we are looking forward to seeing those.  As with any Vinca, it's a great container plant, or planted in-ground, super drought tolerant once established and relatively pest free. Typically blooming from early Spring to late Fall (and further on if we have another warm winter), we think this is going to be a real winner this year !

Pictured above with the Vinca is Coreopsis (aka Tickweed), which has a super large flower with intense red and yellow flowers.  Again, loving sun, drought tolerant and a hardy perennial here.

Mother's Day is coming up soon and we have a great selection of Shade and House plants that she will love. And, new this year, A teeny tiny Coffee plant in a mug:

If your Mom is a coffee drinker, she will get a kick out of this ! And even though it is tiny (the plant is in a 3 inch pot that fits inside the mug), it is already producing coffee beans - wow.

Our Low-light selection includes Calatheas, Ferns, Anthuriums, Curly Spiders, Mottled Philodendron and even some lovely African Violets.

Of course, we are complete restocked up with hundreds of fresh Mini Succulents and Cacti that Mitch and I hand pick every week from our growers network.

As the regular season of Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete winds down at the end of May, we will then move to the lovely shaded Oak Trees of  Williams Park, just 2 blocks away for Summer Market from June through the end of August, so you can continue to get your fresh Produce, wonderful Plants, works from talented Artisans and specialty foods galore.

Hope to see you around Market !

Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete
Saturday 9am - 2pm
Regular season runs through to end of May

Summer Market at Williams Park begins
June 2nd and runs through August 25th

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Green Thumb Festival coming this weekend April 28 & 29th

(pic is of our booth at last years Green Thumb event, 2017)

Greetings all !

Well, it's almost here, our favorite show of the Spring Season, perhaps the whole world, the Green Thumb Festival, here is St. Pete this Sat/Sunday, April 28-29

This is where Armstrong Nursery loves to strut our stuff ! Exotic Tropicals, Rare and Unusual specimens, Hollyhocks, Passion and Pipe Vines and other great Butterfly-friendly perennials, Bougainvillea, Geraniums, Cacti and Succulents galore, and more, more more.

You will find Mitch Armstrong Nursery in Booths 65-70, at the north end of the park, along 80th street parameter (right across from the tool-sharpening booth)

A few notes about the event:

This year, the City is closing all North Bound traffic along 80th street from 26th avenue north to 30th avenue north. This will hopefully provide a safer environment for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. 

There is a large parking lot at the north end of the park, and you can find parking within the immediate neighborhood, but pay close attention to any parking signs, as well, please do not interfere with neighbor driveways.

The show hours are officially 9am-4pm. There is NO entry gate you have to line up at, it's a wide-open accessible park !

Bring a cart !!!  This is most important, as we promise you, you will find tons of things to take home. There will be lots of enterprising youngsters in the area with their personal carts, to assist customer too, and they work for tips, which is helpful.  Note: Youngsters can only "cart" your belongings to the immediate parameter end of the event - not into the parking lot of beyond streets - this is for their own personal safety.

Come early, come late ---it gets crowded ! There are plenty of restrooms, food and drink vendors and we advise to keep hydrated, and don't forget the sunscreen.

We are limited on any type of "holding area" for purchased plants so please be patient with us. That is why we do encourage you to take your purchases with you. 

There are tons of activities for the kids, plant give-a-aways, tons of Garden-related non-profit booths that you can enjoy.

Visit the show site for all the information that you need, as well as you can see vendor maps to help you find your favorite plant vendors, like us !

See you there !
Green Thumb Festival
Walter Fuller Park
St. Pete FL
Sat. and Sunday, April 22nd and 23rd
Show hours both days 9am-4pm

Friday, April 20, 2018

Sat. Morning Market April 21st and Green Thumb Festival April 28/29, 2018

We are back on the Blog !  This Spring has already been super busy for us and all  our fellow nursery friends with busy markets and Spring Plant shows. And of course, the Big Mama of all Shows, the Green Thumb Festival, here in St. Pete is coming up next weekend, April 28th and 29th !!

While we prepare for the Green Thumb Festival, we don't ignore our home base of the Saturday Morning Market and still bring a full gorgeous load every week, and this Saturday, April 21st is no exception.  Coming to the market can help you get a jump on some great Spring and Summer plants - let's talk about them !

Hollyhocks - a customer favorite, these tropical Hocks are a sturdy perennial here in Florida, giving great interest to any garden and self-seeding. Perfect for 1/2 day sun, in a pot or in-ground, they bring smiles to everyone.

Right now, we have them in Pink at Market - at Green Thumb, we will  have Pink, Purple, Apricot and Crimson.

Who doesn't love Gardenias ? Right now in stock, we have the stunning "Miss Aimee", known for having one of the largest blooms of it's kind.  Super sweet smelling with dark foliage, she is a stunner.

Loving our sun and warm weather, Diplodenias just bloom their heart out for months and months going into Fall.  People love to wrap them around mailboxes, on fences, carport supports etc.  Easy care for any gardener.

Foxgloves (Digitalis) makes a strong statement in any garden and the bees go nuts for them !

Everybody loves Lavender, right ? A peaceful fragrance emanating from the foliage and beautiful color makes this a favorite.

One of our favorites for shady areas on porches or hanging under trees is the unusual "Miranda" Nepenthese (pitcher plant). The Miranda grows large pitchers, that captures pesky bugs and feeds on them. A once a week splash over the plant and filling the pitchers keeps this going easily.

Another great low-light plant is the Fiddle Leaf Ficus plant. Very popular as a house or office plant as it doesn't mind low light, doesn't need much watering and always looks fresh and tropical.

And of course, we have hundreds and hundreds of mini Succulents and Cacti every week. Each and every plant is hand picked by Mitch and I for it's beauty and healthiness and we are always striving to bring fresh and new varieties to our customers !

This is all just a small assortment of the plants we bring to Market every week, and of course, next weekend at Green Thumb Festival, where we always have one of the largest booth displays there, we will have thousands of plants to choose from.

Here's the scoop:
Sat. April 21st - Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete

Sat/Sun April 28 and 29th - Green Thumb Festival, Walter Fuller Park, west side of St. Pete.

Sat. May 5th, we return to Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete

Keep checking in with us about more great info for the Green Thumb Festival coming up !

Mitch Armstrong Nursery is a licensed Tropical Plant nursery with the state of Florida.
We do not have a retail location, but you can find us weekly at 
Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete and Spring Plant Shows around the state

Mitch Armstrong, Owner
Annie Sprague, Nursery Manager


Friday, March 2, 2018

Spring Show and Market schedule March through May 2018

Greetings all, Mother Nature seems to have decided to turn quickly to a very warm Spring/Summer mood but we are ready for it !

We wanted to share with you our upcoming Spring Plant shows info, plus continued happenings at market, plus, we have great new plant offerings.

First, this weekend, Sat. March 3rd, the whole of Sat. Morning Market moves temporarily to Williams Park, because of the Grand Prix car race rep. All vendors will be present in the park and surrounding streets. You can find Armstrong Nursery right at the front and center corner of 3rd street and 1st avenue North..yup, we will be "on" the street !

Here's a pic from last year.....

We had a great time last year and anticipate another fun day and the weather is going to be gorgeous !

Next week, the Market is completely closed because of the Car Race but luckily we are staying busy as we head over to Leu Botanical Gardens in Orlando for their annual Spring Plant festival.  Leu is one of our favorite shows and, favorite gardens. It's an easy one tank trip from the Tampa Bay area, and, free admittance to the park all weekend, which is quite a savings.

Let's catch up on plants, and then I will give your our complete Spring Market and Show schedule:

We are slowly getting back into stock with Passion Vines and have lovely Lady Margaret back in stock

We are back in stock with Bougainvilleas, including the "Miss Pixie" which is the dwarf thornless type.

Epidendrum orchid is one of the easiest orchids to grow and they love sunshine and warmth and are blooming profusely right now.

Fiddle Leaf Ficus is one of our favorite plants and everyone is always looking for them.  A terrific house or office plant, its easy to care for and quite dramatic. We have them in short 3 gallons and also in taller 10 gallon pots.

In addition to usual wide selection of Succulents and Cacti, we have started to bring some very rare Thai hybrid Desert Roses, like this one depicted.  Most of them are double flowers, and many have variegated coloring !

We are also back in stock with the popular String of Pearls !!!

This is just some of the goodies we will have at coming Market Days as well as our Spring shows....speaking of, here's our schedule:

March 2 - Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete at Williams Park
March 10 & 11th - Leu Gardens Spring Plant Festival, Orlando, FL
March 17 - Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete
March 24 - Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete
March 31 - Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete

April 6-8 - Spring Plant Festival at Tropiflora Nursery, Sarasota FL
April 7 & 8th -Spring Festival, historic downtown Winter Garden, FL
April 14 -  Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete
April 21 - Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete
April 28 & 29 - Green Thumb Festival, Walter Fuller Park, St. Pete

May 5th through May 19th - Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete
May 26 - Garden Jubilee, Hendersonville, N. Carolina

Note: Summer Market at Williams park begins May 2nd, but we will miss the first Saturday, but will start up full time for the summer June-Aug on June 9th.

Hope to see you at our Home base market as well as some of the Spring Plant Sales !

Mitch Armstrong Nursery is a licensed Tropical Plant nursery with the state of Florida.
We do not have a retail location, but you can find us weekly at 
Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete, and various Spring Plant festivals around the state

Mitch Armstrong, Owner
Annie Sprague, Nursery Manager


Friday, February 9, 2018

Celebrating Valentines Day at Markets this weekend

Greetings all, you will find Mitch Armstrong Nursery at 2 events this weekend:

First, we will be at our homebase of the Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete, on Saturday from 9am-2pm.

On Sunday, we will be participating with the Sunday Morning Market at Safety Harbor market.  Also, that day at Safety Harbor, the "Shabby Chic" Pop Up Market will be all along Main Street right next to the Park and gazebo area.  So you will have hundreds of vendors to visit and check out their products ! Because of the 2 events, the markets hours will be extended - see below for their advertisement:

Tampa Bays most unique shopping event the Shabby Chic Vintage Market & Artisan Day returns to Safety Harbor on Main Street on February 11, 2018. 10am-4pm. There'll be DIY Workshops, Paint Demos, and 100+ artisans. Items offered will be Shabby Chic Items, Plants & Yard Art, Home Decor, vintage & antiques and more! 
Free admission and free parking

So, this weekend at both Markets, you can find some beautiful Valentines Gifts for yourselves and those you cherish around you. It is warming up fast in our area and the plants are all doing beautifully.

This "Red Success" dwarf Anthurium is one of our most popular sellers, and it's the perfect color for Valentines Day.

A dwarf, from Holland, only grows to about 12 inches. Loving low light, it's the perfect plant for homes/offices or your porches, patios and shade gardens.

Another great selection for Valentines Day is the beautiful Calla Lily.  Just like the Anthurium above, it loves the same conditions.

For your landscape needs, the Bougainvilleas are thriving.  They are on trellises that give them support - plant them on their own, or plant the trellised pot next to a fence or arbor.  Loving Sun and warmth, they give great color all year long.

We have striking Epidendrum Orchids in stock - this is one of the easiest orchids to grown, whether in-ground, or in pots.

We have them in 1 & 3 gallon containers and they are all loaded with blooms and buds.

One of the few orchids that is sun-loving, its a great all around plant.

This Orange Paintbrush (Birbidgea) specimen is a darling - the bright orange flowers slowly open, ending with a spectacular display.  Loving bright shade, this can be grown in shade gardens, or as a house plant.

Duranta, aka, Sapphire Showers,  is a winner in any garden.  A butterfly lover, it blooms on and off all year round and is very hardy.  You can grow it as a smallish tree, or bush, and it makes a beautiful display against fences and arbors.

We are happily stocked back up with a wide selection of Mini Succulents and Cacti.  You will only find just a variety with us and remember, every single plant is hand picked by myself and Mitch, for its beauty and healthiness.

We are fully in stock with a wide selection of Tilandsias (Air Plants) and our super helper, Susan is right on the spot to inform you about it's growth habits and care.

The Air Plants we have, again, are hand picked. These plants come from Central and South America, and offer bright blooming color all the time. We have a great selection of shells that you can "house" them in.

All these, and much much more, are at Markets this weekend so we hope you can come out to see them - It is going to gorgeous weather, and a good time to get fresh air and enjoy the community around you !

Mitch Armstrong Nursery is a licensed Tropical Plant nursery with the state of Florida.
We do not have a retail location, but you can find us weekly at 
Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete

Mitch Armstrong, Owner
Annie Sprague, Nursery Manager


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Time to warm up for Market Day

Warm Greetings all !  At least we hope it's warmer by the time you see this !

All of us experienced some unseasonably cold weather this week and we know everyone has been concerned about their garden plants. Let's face it, some of it may have got zapped...probably some it won't make it...probably some WILL  revive !  So no matter how ugly your plant(s) look, "now" is not the time to cut back/clean up, you have to have patience :)

Here at my house in NE St. Pete, it got down to at least 30 degrees for several hours, as documented by the quickly acquired temp thermometer purchased at last moment.  My home nursery probably looks a lot like many of yours...every sheet and blanket used to cover things, not to mention, small entrances placed so that neighborhood kitties could find a warm cozy place out of the elements.

Fun fact: During these times when we see ourselves and our neighbors all using sheets etc, it is like a walk of history for all of us, showing the history of the many sheet sets we all have had over the years -  From the single sheets of our college-age dorm kids, to the original wedding gift sheet sets that were washed to an inch of their life and now tear so easily if you just look at them..... to the colorful ones from the hippy sixties (yes, I have a sheet with peace signs on it) to the mix-matched stuff we pick up at Goodwill. I personally think the more colorful the better..its kinda like decorating your outside house post-Christmas.

Many plants, if they were well established in the soil, will be fine, once the more-consistent warm weather returns early March.  Plants amaze us all the time at their resilience, either in cold, heat, lots of rain, no rain etc so don't give up, you may be surprised.

That being said, obviously there was serious protection issues at my home nursery here in St. Pete, jut like yours and yes, spent lots of time putting up tarps, sheets and boxes up and around the things that really needed protection. And just like you, ugh, will all spend a ton of time taking it all down and putting things back.....just remember, we still have the rest of January and Feb to get through, so don't pack those sheets away yet.

The things  "reallllly" wanting  protection ?? Well, of course that would be the hundreds and hundreds of mini succulents and cacti that are brought to market each week.  Those babies all got boxed up and have been sitting calmly inside the house, awaiting fresh air tomorrow when the load for market starts. 

What else was done? Well, the "rare and special" hanging plants found temp homes hanging on  indoor rods over the washer and bathroom. Approximately 100.25249 old Air Plants that usually hang from my old grapefruit tree out front were taken down and they were cozied in boxes too.  Air Plants slated for market sit quite prettily atop the succulent boxes inside the house, which makes for some fun temporary house decor and I can ignore the dusting for a bit longer.

Since there is not a greenhouse here at my home nursery,  the front porch was turned into a temp green house with hundreds of other specimens huddled on the porch, with sheets and the market banners hung along the roof line as wind protection.  You do what you gotta do ! Just had to remember to pull down one sheet quickly this morning to let the mailman thorough.

Don't forget during times like this to think about the outside critters - yes, doing what could be done to provide protection for feral kitties, and keeping fresh water in the birdbath is important (even if you had to hack thru the ice this morning).  Feeding the birds - I have one feeding station hanging outside the office window - nothing fancy, a flat wood plank hanging from the branch of the Bougainvillea tree - this morning I noticed constant stream of birds to it, hacking at the very last of the suet square I buy at Ace hardware. Birds need the nutrition during winter, especially when dealing with colder temps and the feed gives them energy and internal warmness.  Other than staying inside today swabbed with my favorite housecoat, I did make quick trip to Ace to get new ones..they are cheap (less than $2) and easy to use..if you don't have a feeder, just unzip the plastic square and put it out in the yard, preferably on a surface off the ground and our Bird friends will be very appreciated.

Anyhoo, wow, sorry to go so long here..think I am suffering stuck-inside-house mode !  So, tomorrow the warming trend starts and come Market day on Saturday, the Armstrong Nursery crew will be back in shorts and working on our tans. Please come out and see us at Market and support us and the many farmers and artisans that work so hard to bring you great product during sometimes-tough-Winter days.

Here's the scoop:

Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete  for more info and directions.
Market hours 9am-2pm
Armstrong Nursery booth is located on the very East (back) row of market, right across from the fabulous Hot Cuban booth !


Mitch Armstrong Nursery is a licensed Tropical Plant nursery with the state of Florida.
We do not have a retail location, but you can find us weekly at 
Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete

Mitch Armstrong, Owner
Annie Sprague, Nursery Manager