Baltimoreans welcome spring with lemon sticks at Flower Mart

Published 5/6/2023 5:41 p.m. EDT, Updated 5/8/2023 11:00 a.m. EDT

Mount Vernon Place Flower Mart in Baltimore, Maryland.

As the sounds of the Maryland Opera rang through Mount Vernon Place, festival goers got their fix of fried foods, alcohol and, of course, lemon sticks, and shopped the vendor stalls lining the streets of the 112th annual Flower Mart festival.

Keara Decay had a front-row seat to the opera at her stall Balti’Marons, selling an assortment of handmade macarons, including pistachio, salted caramel, Berger cookie, Old Bay salted caramel, and in celebration of Flower Mart, lemon stick.

“Flower Mart is one of the best festivals of the year,” Decay said. “It’s the start of spring, everyone loves the lemon stick, and it’s a very fresh, fun, sunny Baltimore experience.”

Dating to 1911, the annual celebration of spring is the city’s oldest free public festival. The Women’s Civic League, Home Garden Committee and Municipal Art Society founded Flower Mart as a philanthropy to teach women about gardening, including in vacant lots to help improve living conditions in Baltimore, according to Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, the organization that hosts the festival.

In addition to the music, food and drinks, green thumbs have opportunities to buy plants and take part in gardening workshops and lectures. This year’s events included a terrarium-making workshop and a tasting of mead, which is fermented honey.

At the Joe’s Family Farm stall, Joe Ignatious and Jon Castillo were looking to buy something for their new Baltimore home.

“We want to get our first outdoor plant to transform our gravel patch into an urban oasis,” Ignatious said.

Ignatious and Castillo said they were shopping for a native Maryland plant with a lot of color and lushness to it, and they landed on a Coral Bell and a fern for their front steps.

Carmeca Howard, owner of Yellow Chakra Garden, said this is her second year selling plants at the festival.

“We are plant people through and through,” Howard said. “The plant community is kind of an odd community. It’s a little niche within the Baltimore community, and so it’s always nice to come out and rub elbows with people who are like minded.”

Howard’s favorite plant, the money tree, was completely sold out well before the festival came to a close.

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