FloraFEST encourages gardening with native plants

The 24th annual FloraFEST was held at the Centennial Museum to raise proceeds for the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens on Saturday, April 28.

The festival aims to educate the public about native desert plants and to provide guidance to start your own garden. The festival will continue on April 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We have shrubs, trees, vines and other native plants,” Garden Curator John White said. “You need to grow plants that are used to El Paso soil and climate.”

Samuel Fierro, a 7th grader at Ensor Middle School, and his younger sister Chloe attended the event for the first time in search of the perfect plant for their new home.

“The plants that got my attention were the red and yellow yucca,” Fierro said. “They remind me of my old house.”

Daniel Perry and his partner Socorro Gonzalez have been coming to FloraFEST for 15 years selling cacti and succulents. Their small business, Rio Grande Cacti, has brought over 1,500 seed-grown plants and will be giving 40 percent of all proceeds to the UTEP Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.

“When I had my 40th birthday I wanted a cactus for my garden and no one had any that were seed grown so I didn’t really want to support taking cactus from the wild,” Perry said.

People come from all over El Paso to buy plants or to get ideas for their own garden. El Paso Community College geology teacher, Kathleen Devaney, came from the Northeast to add to her own garden.

”I try to come like every other year,” Devaney said. “I’ve gotten some Yellow Bells and Pinyon before, and I got Sages this year.”