Jelly Bean Box (Hypertufa Succulent Planter)

What fun, making a pot out of dirt. Actually hypertufa is a mix of peat, perlite, and cement but working with it is just like making mud pies. I went for the rustic look so I did not screen the peat, making it lumpier with some sticks. And I colored it “charcoal” to avoid the…

Succulents in the Swamp

Although we tracked through mud and puddles 3″ deep, the cactus and succulents were dry at Isaac Farms in Homestead, Florida.  Solid fiberglass and poly roofs kept most of the typical daily rainfall off of these drought-tolerant plants. Click on the photos for a full view and some captions.

Fish Branch

John Conroy, owner of Fish Branch Tree Farm, was generous with his time and gave me an educational tour of his 300 acres of beautiful tree production. I was impressed by the cleanliness, the quality, and the quantity of trees produced here in the south-center of the state. (Sorry I did not share any photos…

Pomegranate Paradise

It’s a beautiful, fruitful day at Green Sea Farms in Zolfo Springs, Florida. Thanks to the owners, David and Cindy Weinstein, and the Florida Pomegranate Association for the luscious field day, Saturday, June 23rd. Despite typical wet summer conditions we were able to enjoy educational talks about insects, diseases, fertility, irrigation, and the panoply of…

Growing Tomatoes in Zones 9 and 10

My first vegetable garden in South Florida was a crop failure. I thought I had a green thumb because I was able to grow many productive gardens from scratch in Michigan and Illinois. But there was the root of my mistake: I planted as I had done up north, in the spring. 28 years ago…

Awesome Award

Thank you to FNGLA for this incredible honor. The Wendell E. Butler Award is recognized as FNGLA’s most prestigious prize. This award recognizes an individual who serves the association and the industry by providing leadership, service, contributions and has shown a sincere interest in the advancement of the association and the industry. Here is a video they…

Honoring Helen Hendry

She was a plant pioneer. The first woman landscape architect in Florida (license #3), the first female president of the Royal Palm Chapter of FNGA (1965-1966), grower, landscaper, designer with the largest palm growing nursery in Florida (Everglades Nursery) and namesake to one of the most popular blooming vines in the world: ‘Helen Johnson’ bougainvillea….

Crowded Confederates and Faux-meliads

Here we have a couple of peculiar landscape treatments that caught my eye. Confederate Jasmine is an excellent landscape plant and the variegated version grows a little slower than the green…but it is still a vine that will naturally grow ten to twelve feet high and wide. This landscaper decided to plant ten plants where…

Do I Have to Get My Hands Dirty?

“Here. It’s a rock.” My wife held out her hands with hesitation. “Um…thanks?” She wondered what was the big deal with this dirty piece of limestone. “Look closer” I encouraged her. When she examined the rock she found a crack along its circumference. Then she separated the two halves and discovered the crystals inside. “Wow,…

God and Gardening

What is it that draws us outdoors? What is it that stirs us deeply when we breathe in fresh air? Answer: When we are surrounded by plants, we are reconnected. Whether you consider the Bible fact or fable, it describes our intimate connection with nature. When God created the universe and the sun, moon, earth,…

Happy Harvest at the School Garden

Today I was invited to San Carlos Park Elementary to see the progress the children made this year on the gardens. I was surprised by the number of excited kids, the great work they had done and the quality of their produce. The surprise continued with their appreciation for the work we did to make…

Royal Palm Recognitions

Tuesday, April 12th. The Royal Palm chapter of FNGLA met at the Iona House at the Caloosa Nature Center in Ft. Myers. I am very grateful to the members for nominating me for the Wendell Butler award. The official ceremony will be in Orlando this June.  My talk was on local people and places worthy…