Florida Flower Trials

What sort of person goes to Epcot, only takes pictures of plants, then leaves with a smile on his face? Any attendee at the Florida Flower Trials last month in Orlando, Florida. This annual gardening exhibit is sponsored by the Florida Nursery Grower Landscape Association (FNGLA) Floriculture Division. The purpose is to encourage plant breeders…

Bad Irrigation

We are enduring a typical April drought in south Florida. It’s hot, it’s dry and rainy season usually rolls in after Mother’s day in May. Until then we gardeners are painfully conscious of water conservation. That’s why we get ticked-off by blatant water wasters. Yes, there are obvious scofflaws that water their lawns every night…

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…

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…

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 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. Soon, with jubilation, we open that fat, brown envelope containing…

Tomatoes

Here is the most popular vegetable grown in American gardens. I love the variety of tomatoes available to us gardeners by seed. It’s nice to see growers now responding to the demand for more flavorful tomatoes available by plants. I’ve seen ‘Brandywine’ and ‘Cherokee Purple’ plants at local building supply stores. But you’ve got to…

Salsa Recipe

I have been a “cook” all my life. I come from a long line of Cooks. Dad was a Cook as was his father. But, there is only one thing I make in the kitchen that turns out well: Salsa. I won’t take any credit for some secret recipe. Fresh, home-grown ingredients make the best…