BloomFest at Glencairn Garden in Rock Hill, South Carolina, is preparing to help kick off spring on Saturday. The craft and garden festival has local vendors, family events, and for the first time food trucks. Falling on the same day as Kids to Park Day, the event doubles as a way to celebrate outdoor recreation.
The festival began seven years ago as a fundraising opportunity for the garden but grew into a great community event, according to Parks, Recreation and Tourism Center Supervisor Katie Conley. Saturday’s festival is preceded by a garden party for friends and sponsors of Glencairn Garden.
Event or not, visitors always find Glencairn Garden impeccably maintained, thanks to the garden’s five full-time caretakers. “If you were to break down the little over 13-plus acres that are here now, you know that’s two-and-a-half acres per person. That’s a lot for one person to maintain,” said Maintenance Superintendent for Parks, Recreation and Tourism Bill Berry.
The maintenance schedule for the garden differs week to week and season to season. The most massive workloads come during the season transitions when the crew sometimes needs to call in extra hands to help. Berry explained: “Glencairn is a four-seasons garden. So, there’s something blooming in this garden all year long. You know, a lot of people at their homes really go spring through fall. They may have some pansies over the winter, but this is a true four-seasons garden, with sections that are blooming year round.”
Weather, however, offers the biggest day-to-day challenges. “Just because it’s raining or snowing, or whatever the weather may be, things don’t stop growing. So, it’s easy, if you’re not careful, to get behind. The weather is probably the hardest part, especially with the shape of the garden and having a garden this size,” Berry revealed.
The groundskeepers at Glencairn also have to deal with multiple microclimates, due to the large size of the garden. Microclimates are areas where the climate is slightly different from what is nearby, such as a flowerbed that is lined in brick. Because the brick absorbs the sun’s energy and heats the air around the bed, this flower bed would be slightly warmer than a bed with flowers that are simply planted in the ground. A home garden in town may have one or two microclimates, while Glencairn Garden has over nine.
“Be proud of the fact that your community has something like this,” Berry declared. “It is a gem – a jewel – whatever term you want to use.”
Saturday’s festivities include REC in a Box, a mobile truck filled with activities for kids, adults, and seniors. The concept was created to take recreation to areas where people cannot easily get to recreation centers. “So, on top of going to neighborhoods and outlying parts, they also come to our special events and entertain kids and just get them out there playing,” Conley said.
BloomFest also will host 28 local vendors. “What we love about it is that it’s a non-commercial event. Everything that is brought in is either handmade or home-grown, plants and things like that, and it’s all local. It’s all people from Rock Hill or the surrounding communities that have made goods and are selling them at the event,” Conley explained.