FNGLA Royal Palm Chapter University of Florida

FNGLA Annual Convention

Sunrise over the Atlantic ocean.
Standing room only audience of over 150 people from around the state.
Wendell Butler Award and other plaques to recognize award winners.
View from the 7th floor of the B Ocean Resort, Fort Lauderdale.
Crab races at the Hospitality Suite.
Phil Buck, President, Royal Palm Chapter gives $2000.00 donation to the University of Florida toward research.
Four other chapters donated too. Dr. Jack Payne gives us an update about funding cuts.
florida gardening flowers FNGLA

Florida Flower Trials 2017

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 and growers to bring to the table some of their new introductions for us in the horticulture business to admire and evaluate.
There were three locations in Orlando where these various plants were grown: Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Walt Disney World’s nursery, and Harry P. Leu Gardens. Here are some of the outstanding sights and plants, by location.

For more on this festival:

FNGLA trade shows

TPIE 2017

Are these orchids blue or purple?
This supplier displayed their various foliage and succulents, all unrooted.

The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibit in Ft. Lauderdale had much to brag about. Here is a braided sansevieria floating in mid-air. How about a box of bugs? These green lacewings will devour other plant eating insects. Does your hanging basket twirl? These new dwarf bougainvilleas do.

Note: These tillandsias are displayed on a wire rack. No soil.
More succulents appear each year. More than a fad: A trend.
Aechmea ‘America’ looks like a variegated Blue Tango.
Tillandsia ‘Samantha’
Dieffenbachia ‘White Blizzard’
FNGLA Royal Palm Chapter

Awesome Award

Thank you to FNGLA for this incredible honor.

Bob Wendell Butler
Theresa Riley giving Bob Cook the Wendell E. Butler Award. (On stage with Kevin Riley and the President of the Florida Nursery Grower Landscape Association, Billy Butterfield.)

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 made for the presentation at the annual meeting of 2016.

And my acceptance speech:

First, I thank God for making me a gardener and giving me the passion for plants. I am closest to my Creator when I am on my knees in the dirt.

I thank my wife Cheryl. She tolerates my passion for plants and the trail of compost through the house. She is my encouragement, the woman of my dreams, the answer to my prayers.

We are grateful for our son John. He is often in the trenches with me, learning skilled labor. I don’t expect him to follow in my fertile footsteps but pray that he also finds a career that he loves with people he admires.

My parents get full credit for doing their best by steering me in the right direction. Mom was wise to send me outside to play. My father taught me the benefits of hard work.

Thanks to my previous employers who gave me opportunities, training, and priceless experiences.

I am grateful for my current employer, J.C. Diem of Southern Ag. who took a chance on hiring me 10 years ago. We share the same values of faith, family and service.

I thank the members of the Royal Palm chapter of FNGLA for even considering me as a nominee me for this highest honor.

Speaking of FNGLA, I have read the textbook for the Certified Horticulture Professional at least twenty times from cover to cover over the years. And there is one word that appears only once: Love.

“Knowledge of the product comes with love of the job, study, observation and seasoned experience.”

In another book, first Corinthians it says “If I speak the eloquence of men, but have no love, I become no more than a crashing cymbal…I achieve precisely nothing.”

My desire is not to be famous, to make followers or accumulate friends. When you visit my website and blogs you won’t find a bunch of selfies, but a lot of vivid color photos of beautiful plants.

I hope that my delight in plants is contagious.”


FNGLA Royal Palm Chapter

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.

Helen Johnson Hendry’s  life and accomplishments were on display at the Edison Ford Winter Estates last night as friends and family gathered to honor our home town historic hero. The highlight of the evening was watching a movie of an interview of Helen Hendry, recorded five years ago.

florida gardening FNGLA Royal Palm Chapter San Carlos Park Elementary school garden

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 the beds for them to plant in. I got choked up with their ceremony of card giving and sharing the harvest.
I applauded them for their efforts and complimented them at how good everything looked.
We did more than build a garden, we built a fun classroom.

Inside their cards the children wrote; “Thank you for your hard work…Thank you for making our school garden. It looks really pretty when I go by the garden…we really appreciate it…We all love our garden its beautiful…”

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


FNGLA Royal Palm Chapter San Carlos Park Elementary

Thank you Royal Palm Chapter, FNGLA.

Last March, this garden was just an idea. San Carlos Park Elementary Resource Teacher, Mrs. Williams wanted an activity for the after-school kids. Then, members of nearby Parkway Baptist Church wanted to benefit the school with volunteers and talent and the idea took shape. Then came the issue of funding. We asked the Board of Directors of the Royal Palm Chapter (Florida Nursery Grower Landscape Association) for grant money and they obliged.

The funds bought lumber, hardware, paint, soil, mulch, tools, and more. This fall there will be money for seeds, fruit trees, fertilizer, and pots. The investment will benefit the students and teachers for years. We are grateful to the Royal Palm Chapter for their generosity and their commitment to horticultural education.


Thanks for the kind words, all over my new shirt.

bob_tshirtThank you Spring 2015 FCHP class for the memorable gift. Horticulturist Bob Anderson was kind enough to arrange for fellow students to sign this t-shirt to conclude our 14 weeks together.

Comments include “I dug your class. I learned so much from your goofy memory tricks!” and more. It’s my pleasure to spend time with people eager to learn more about the craft and business of plants. Thank you for listening and learning.

florida gardening FNGLA Tours

Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando, FL