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Garden Center Conference & Expo workshop attendees visited Rockledge Gardens to learn how it works with local partners to create a space that’s one-of-a-kind.

With a farmers market, boutique, playground, wedding venue and event space, Rockledge Gardens is much more than a garden center — it’s a destination. For years, the IGC has been creating community with its inventive events, children’s programming, thoughtful customer service and ecological approach to gardening on Florida’s Space Coast. Last month, Garden Center Conference & Expo workshop attendees visited the innovative IGC to learn how it works with local partners to create a space that’s one-of-a-kind.

Photos by Julianne Mobilian and Kate Spirgen

1. A big, bright monarch butterfly sits right in the middle of Rockledge Gardens, highlighting the garden center’s commitment to supporting pollinator habitats and sustainability.

2. The boutique at Rockledge features fan-favorite T-shirts with puns like “Drop the beet” and “Thistle be the best day ever.” Staff sport the T-shirts as well, making them easy to spot.

3. Rockledge Gardens hosts more than 50 weddings each year from October through May in a one-of-a-kind venue. Working with outside vendors, the IGC offers a ceremony space that highlights the colorful and bountiful Florida flora.

4. With a fully stocked farmers market on the premises serving beer and wine, Rockledge encourages guests to relax while they sip and stroll through the grounds.

5. & 6. The Little Bugs play area gives young guests a place to run around and connect with nature. With a chalkboard, peep holes in the fence to peer out, a little library and slide, there’s plenty to keep kids busy. There’s even a Little Bugs Club with programming to help children grow their love of gardens.

7. & 8. The Botanical Boutique, like the farmers market, features local artisans offering everything from lotions and soaps to wallets and bags to home and hostess goods. The garden center prides itself on supporting local vendors and making community connections.

9. & 10. The farmers market features wares from local vendors and artisans. Plus, the air conditioning is a nice touch in the Florida heat!

11. Rhodes Roots is the passion project of Seth Rhodes, staff and customer service manager at Rockledge Gardens. Rhodes got the idea to start the wholesale operation, located right across the highway from Rockledge, when houseplant availability became slim during the pandemic.

12. The Riley Room, named after Rockledge founders Theresa and Kevin Riley, is the garden center’s indoor venue available for smaller events like bridal showers, baby showers and birthday parties. Here, you can see the room set up for the Garden Center Conference & Expo post-workshop dinner.