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Plant show will have tropical twist

Need a canna or a bromeliad? Stop by the Northwest Tropical Plant Society show this weekend.

JACKIE RIPLEY
Published May 9, 2003

CITRUS PARK - If you're in the mood to mix a little tropical heat with your plant shopping this weekend - or if you just want to get Mom a tropical plant for Mother's Day - you'll want to check out the Northwest Tropical Plant Society show at Vince Mortellaro's Island Stylin' plant nursery on Gunn Highway.

"It's a nice niche for this area," said Mortellaro, the show's organizer. "There's plenty of room, shade trees, room to park and an easy in and out for people."

Several nurseries will sell plants at the show, at the south end of Westfield Shoppingtown Citrus Park. Steel sculptures and handmade furniture will be available for purchase as well.

"Nothing happens in this area like this," Mortellaro said. "If it works out real good, we may have it once a year."

The plants for sale will include herbs, tropical plants and fruit trees.

"My nursery is just myself, but I'll be bringing in other vendors," Mortellaro said. "When you get a variety like that, you can pop in, walk around under the shade trees and maybe see what you like."

With three greenhouses, as well as rows of potted plants on tree-shaded plots, that shouldn't be hard to do. Mortellaro has spent years nurturing a wide variety of tropical plants, including 20 varieties of ginger, along with canna, bromeliad and heliconia.

The plant sale should be "a pretty nice niche," Mortellaro said. "It doesn't compete with the mall. There's nothing live over there."

Mortellaro lived on the property long before the mall opened in 1999. A critic of the area's commercial development, he put his land on the market last year.

"The property's still for sale," he said.

- Jackie Ripley can be reached at (813) 269-5308 or ripley@sptimes.com

Saturday and Sunday

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: free
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