Once a year, for three days in January, people from around the nation visit Fort Lauderdale, Florida to see the natural beauty produced by local greenhouse and nursery growers. Over 200 vendors display their best under one roof for a tropical extravaganza.
Fish Branch Tree Farms in Zolfo Springs hosted the Trees on the Go educational seminar in partnership with FNGLA, Roots Plus Growers and ASLA Florida. Their nursery is a model tree farm emphasizing quality and consistency.
Speakers: Dr. Ed Gilman (U.F. Professor Emeritus) on the state of the urban forest and early tree root training, John Conroy, owner of Fish Branch, about Grades and Standards, Lloyd Morgan about ideal handling and shipping of large trees, Joe Samnik, about legal issues regarding contracts/specifications (how not to get sued for negligence), Russell Adams about mass planting palms in difficult situations (Orlando highway sides), Mike Marshall, Marshall Tree Farms demonstrating grading trees and discussing the future of tree supply/demand.
I am a sucker for variegated plants. Long ago, when a gardener or plant breeder found a plant with white streaks or spots in it’s leaves, it was discarded as weak and inferior to it’s green-leafed parent. But, color sells and anything-but-green leaves turn heads. Also, a plant with less chlorophyll in it’s leaves tends to grow slower, driving up it’s price and demand.
Here are a few of the variegated leafed plants that stood out at this years Landscape Show held by the Florida Nursery Grower Landscape Association (FNGLA) in Orlando.
‘Roman Candle’ Podocarpus.
Variegated Kumquat tree.
‘Candy Cane’ heliconia.
‘America’ aechmea bromeliad with other variegated neoreglias.
Chalk-like leaves of Alcantarea.
Earth Stars: ‘Absolute Zero’.
Variegated Fish Tail palm.
Yes, variegated is more than just green and white.
Bullis Bromeliads created a spectacular bromeliad tree.
Today wrapped up the Florida Nursery Grower Landscape Association’s annual convention. Awards were presented, speeches were given, donations were made, and the new Board of Directors are now voted in.
President Ed Bravo selected the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs as the host hotel and the surroundings were beautiful.
Sunrise, before the fountains turn on.
Huge paintings throughout the halls with water themes.
In the Biz Zone there were several companies promoting new products. Here is a dwarf St. Augustine called ‘Pro Vista’.
Dwarfed hibiscus grown by Aris in nearby Alva.
Too good to be real. I’m a little puzzled why this artificial turf had sprinklers.
Attendees filing in before the meeting.
Ed Bravo at his last meeting as President, along with Ben Bolusky, Executive Director, FNGLA.
Inspire and educate. Our first day was spent visiting four locations. Our second day was spend in various classrooms learning about pest control, soils, water conservation, the consumer, business practices and design ideas. The weather was perfect: First day partly cloudy, second day rainy.
Jenny Hardgrave came from Atlanta, Georgia to tell us of her business Simply Flowers.
Jay Higgins from Sunfire Nurseries showed off a new series of roses that are disease resistant in Florida.
Florist Jacob McCall describes the effect of color in arrangements among pots he planted. (He’s designed floral displays at Miss America Pageants, The World Cup and more.)
Farmer Jay (Jason McCobb) showed us his organic gardening techniques and designs for raised beds.
More than just a show: Disney landscape maintenance crew leader shows off their shop on wheels. A crew of 6 men use the tools from this truck every morning. (Typical of a Florida crew, this trailer is equipped with a life preserver.)
Perfect place to be on a rainy day. Over 70 horticulturists attended the two day event.
Angelica Cretu with Costa Nursery, Miami, describes their bedding plant trial site. (69 raised beds, 700 varieties from 28 plant breeders.)
GrowIt, a web-based shopping site gave us insight into the world of E-commerce and plants.
As a vendor/exhibitor, we were very happy with the attendance at the 2017 Landscape Show in Orlando last week. Originally scheduled for September, the show was blown off course by hurricane Irma. Many vendors were not able to reschedule their participation but, despite fewer booths, there were plenty of attendees.
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.
Leave it to Disney to make flowers out of flowers.
Inside the butterfly exhibit.
Donald and boys enjoying gardening.
Pollinator plants were predominant:
Succulents made Pigletts form.
Gotta have fruits: Pineapple ground cover.
You don’t need hanging plants in hanging baskets: Caladiums and ferns for a shady spot.
Got a dry spot? Hang succulents out to dry.
Can they build a snowman in 94 degree weather? Sure. Sturdy frames hold sphagnum moss that are plugged with various plants.
Topiary worker putting the finishing touches on Mickey.
Note the slots at the bottom where they can pick up this 1800 pound topiary with a fork lift.
All American Selection trial site. Melissa Shepherd does an excellent job growing and maintaining these plantings.
The Food and Wine festival is next week. Time to bring out the hops.
Soiree Vinca ‘Kawaii’ means cute in Japanese. These little flowers are abundant. And last year they did not get any fungal disease in summer!
Portulaca ‘Campino Vanilla Cherry’.
In the AAS garden Celosia ‘Asian Garden’.
Also in the AAS garden.
A mass of marigolds.
Deep purple foliage on ‘Midnight Fire’ pepper.
Drought tolerant Ptilotus ‘Joey’.
Light lavender Ptilotus ‘Joey.
Bicolor zinnia ‘Queen Red Lime’.
Armed and dangerous trunk of Silk Floss tree.
Fragrant roses at Leu Gardens.
Tradescantia zanonia ‘Variegata’ happy in the shade.
These beds are dedicated to growing the trial plants.
Vibrant pink bed of petunias ‘Color Rush Pink’ at the Orange County Extension gardens.
Common Queen Anne’s Lace.
A new color of Ammi magus ‘Dara’ or chocolate False Queen Anne’s Lace.
Dwarf Bottle Brush shrubs in bloom.
Flies pollinate this desert-blooming succulent “Carrion Flower” or Stapelia.
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. https://vimeo.com/171630194
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.