Anthony Montabana could consider himself a late bloomer.

The county resident fell in love with growing flowers later on in his life, when he moved to the Pace area in 2005.

Since his move, he's grown dozens of lilies, hibiscus, and other flowers for his own pleasure.

But a few years ago, he started getting the idea to take his creations and turn them into art.

Montabana, along with his daughter Christe Fox started a small art project they call "From my Daddy's Garden".

"Every photo you see are photos of flowers from my father's garden," Fox said. "He's the real star of the show."

And he's not just growing any ordinary flowers. Montabana said he cross breeds seeds to create flowers that grow as big as "dinner plates" as he described them.

"I started cross breeding the seeds and selling them," Montabana said.

The flower artist was set up at the Art Fest on Saturday at the Santa Rosa County Auditorium. He said this was the second time he's put his work out there for other people to see.

"I sell the seeds and photos of the flowers," Montabana said. "We hope it's something different to people."
Montabana said each bloom from a hibiscus lasts about a week. And despite how time consuming it may seem, the resident said it's a lot easier than it looks.

"It's not hard at all (to upkeep them)," Montabana said. "It's a pleasure to have them."

Montabana stressed that it's important to keep the flowers out of the direct heat. He said if the flowers are introduced to too much heat, they grow slower.

"I try to mist them if they are out in the sun," Montabana said.

The avid gardener said he isn't afraid to pull over to the side of the road and get a glimpse of a flower he's never seen before.
Montabana said he found a flower in Jacksonville, and he brought the seeds back home with him.

"I found it (the flower) growing in the woods, and found it was really easy to duplicate," Montabana said.

The Pace resident not only does the growing, but the photography as well. His daughter helps as well, she said.

At Art Fest he was selling photos of his flowers along with seed packets for anyone that was interested in buying from the flower breeder.
Montabana had a lot of mix bred flowers seeds at the show, and even had some of the flowers on display for people to see.
His favorite flower?
A hibiscus.
"They are the easiest to grow, and the easiest to work with," Montabana said. "They create a bunch of different colors."
Montabana said he moved to Pace from Santa Rosa Beach in 2005. That was when his creativity flourished in the form of growing.
Both Montabana and his daughter sell individual photos of each flower, and also have personalized cards with photos of the flowers on them.
For more information on the project, contact Fox at 256-506-1496.