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Garden Jubilee brings visitors back to Main Street

Christine Raymond, owner of Raymond’s Garden Center and Landscaping on Kanuga Road, said she is happy to be back on Main Street for the Garden Jubilee. Christine Raymond, owner of Raymond’s Garden Center and Landscaping on Kanuga Road, said she is happy to be back on Main Street for the Garden Jubilee.

Raymond’s Garden Center and Landscaping owner Christine Raymond greeted customers, gardeners with questions and a few mildly curious passersby with equal enthusiasm Saturday as she stood on Main Street in Hendersonville during the Garden Jubilee.

“It’s going great. We’re glad to be back downtown and wide open,” she said with a smile. “It’s great to see people out.”
Raymond’s, located on Kanuga Road, was one of 124 vendors, many of them local, to fill downtown Hendersonville with annuals, perennials, vegetable and fruit plants, herbs and unusual varieties. The jubilee also included folks selling everything from birdhouses, gardening tools and hats and yard art to jewelry and honey.
Raymond said she was happy to see people out on the street buying plants and enjoying themselves again after the Covid pandemic forced organizers to alter the event in recent years.
“People seem very happy,” she said. “Plants make people happy.”
Last year, Covid concerns forced the Garden Jubilee to limit the street show while including a tour of orchards and nurseries. In 2020, the Garden Jubilee did not take place on Main Street. Organizers asked people to visit nurseries and orchards in the area to buy plants and other items.
The jubilee’s first day this Memorial Day weekend seemed to bring back the same number of visitors as it drew in 2019 before the pandemic forced changes to the format, said Amy Boswell of Visit Hendersonville. Boswell estimated that between 6,000 and 10,000 people had visited the jubilee in the first couple of hours after it opened on Saturday.
“This is one the most popular shows,” she said. “We’re happy to be back at a full show downtown.”
Blue skies and a cool breeze probably also helped draw visitors downtown to the jubilee this year. Many of them pulled wagons and carts filled with flowering plants and other potted varieties up and down Main Street. Others carried hanging baskets in their arms and bird feeders across their shoulders.
Rita Seppala, a 66-year-old Greenville, S.C., resident carried lavender in her cart as she stopped to consider a display featuring potted plants set inside small pairs of blue jeans that included shoes at the end of each pant leg.
The Garden Jubilee is one of her favorite events and part of her birthday weekend celebration, Seppala said.
“We have come many years in a row, except last year when it was smaller,” she said.
She said she wanted to come back this year because the event could be held without Covid restrictions.
A few blocks down the street, 89-year-old Phyllis Lytle, of Hendersonville, and her friend, 69-year-old Gina Krien also of Hendersonville, were two of only a few visitors to wear masks as they shopped.
They said the were also returning to the garden jubilee this year after missing the last couple of years.
“We come, as you can see, with the cart ready to buy,” Lytle said. “We love it.”
Lytle said they planned to plant the lilies and begonias they bought downtown outside their homes.
While many who attended Saturday were avid gardeners and longtime garden jubilee visitors, 19-year-old Meredith King, of Flat Rock, said she is just getting her feet wet as a gardener and came to the garden jubilee for the first time.
“I’m fairly new to gardening,” she said. “I bought a couple of plants and learned how to take care of them.”
King said she bought a lily and two hanging baskets.
The jubilee this year also features a new Pollinator Alley.
Located near the Visitor Center stage at 201 South Main Street, the exhibit features vendors and booths offering free pollinator-friendly seed packets while supplies last and information on pollinator habitat gardening from Bee City USA-Hendersonville. Make-and-take crafts for children were offered Saturday as well as locally-grown native plants, hand-crafted nesting houses for native bees, children’s books about nature and pollinators, local honey and more. Spriggly’s Beescaping in Waynesville also set up a both in Pollinator Alley where owners Jill Jacobs and Brannen Basham offered people information about the company’s dual mission of nature education and bee habitat restoration.
The Garden Jubilee will continue on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.