FNGLA Royal Palm Chapter

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. 20160412_192353

My talk was on local people and places worthy of our recognition over the years. Since 1964 we have been blessed by the contribution of so many talented and generous people. These men and women of our first generation formed the foundation of our industry and our chapter. It’s encouraging to know that so many continue today: the Kelley’s, the Kinzies, the Renfroe’s, the Pottingers, the Walsh’s and Ms. Hendry. Royal Palm Past Pres 1962to1972

The second generation (1980’s) spawned many other leaders.  Here is a “plant finder” booklet published in 1985. Members include Clark’s Nursery, Square’s Landscaping, Albert O’Donnell, Inc., Pelican Nursery, Schuetz Briarcliff Nursery and more. Do you remember Glades Tree Farm and Szabo’s?Royal Palm plant finder 1985


bonsai florida gardening Japanese garden

Morikami Gardens

A couple of years ago my son John and I visited the biggest and best Japanese garden in Florida: Morikami in Delray Beach. It was far more than we had imagined: It is six separate gardens, totaling 16 acres. The museum and restaurant were a bonus.

The bonsai collection was impressive. The shocker was seeing a green buttonwood that is over 400 years old.

florida gardening flowers Gardening vegetables

A Gardener’s Life

A gardener’s life is an action-packed, fun-filled adventure.

Our heart skips a beat when the new, colorful seed catalogs arrive in the mail. With sweaty palms we caress each page, admiring the photography and imagine introducing these new flowers and vegetables into the next planting.bob pepper seeds

Soon, with jubilation, we open that fat, brown envelope containing packets of seeds, ripe with potential. Filling the pots, sowing the seeds, labeling, and watering is a slow dance. After nursing for days or weeks or months, germination is the crescendo, a reason to send out birth announcements.

Transplanting the seedlings into the garden and containers is like the pyro-technician loading the tubes on the third of July. It is arranging for the hopeful display.tomato seedlings (1)

The thrill continues when the established plants bring forth their first blossoms and fruit. In Old Testament times, believers would bring their “first fruits” to the temple as an offering. The first are the biggest and the best the plant has to offer, for all to enjoy.

The satisfaction continues as the plants increases in size and abundance. pep mariachi (8)
Cultivating is caring. It is not work, it is helping the good plants, hindering the weeds, giving water when needed, and watching for pests. It is correcting and directing. It is a satisfying activity.

The harvest is a reward but not the conclusion. Gardening is a natural continuum. There is no final season, only the next season, filled with dreams and desire and contentment.

beans (1)

Botanical Art woodworking

Botanical Art

My goal in high school was to be an artist. I took as many advanced placement classes as were available and prepared a portfolio to enter college. But the allure of working outdoors and a steady paycheck drew me to horticulture as a better use of my abilities.

Gardening is a very creative activity that deals with color, texture, design and all of the senses. But I also like to paint and carve and photograph plants.