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Gardens celebrated in Key West this weekend and Upper Keys Feb. 28

Key West's finest tropical garden is open for admiration of its beauty as well as creations of crafts this weekend.
Jill Zima Borski

Nature lovers can enjoy an exhibition and sale of rare plants, explore the unique Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden and discover fine crafts during GardenFest Key West 2014, set for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 15-16.

Themed "The Green Marketplace," the plant sale and craft market is scheduled 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days in the garden, located at 5210 College Road. The site is the only frost-free tropical moist forest garden in the continental United States.

Visitors can view and purchase tropical and native plants, earth-based arts and crafts with nature themes, and eco-friendly products and services.

Exhibits by conservation-oriented nonprofit organizations are to be featured, as are educational presentations and demonstrations. Other attractions include lunch at an on-site "beer garden."

Attendees can explore the spacious arboretum, garden, wildlife refuge and educational center that showcase flora native to South Florida, Cuba and the Caribbean.

Home to many threatened and endangered species, the rich and diverse environment features two wetland habitats, two butterfly gardens with fragrant plants, seasonal flowers, national and state champion trees, birds, butterflies, art, a music garden and much more. As a living museum with eight self-guided tours, the garden offers visitors an opportunity to step back in time and experience the Keys in a natural, protected conservation habitat.

GardenFest Key West is an annual fundraiser for the botanical garden and admission to the event is $5 per person. Ticket holders for the Old Island Restoration Foundation's Feb. 14-15 Key West house tours are admitted free.

Save the date, also, for the Garden Club of the Upper Keys Garden Walk Friday, Feb. 28. (A story will be posted soon with more details). To see last year's coverage, visit http://www.examiner.com/article/garden-walk-today-enables-strolls-through-private-paradises

Event information: www.kwbgs.org
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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