A Visit to the Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park

July 7, 2011 by Rickb

Polasek Gardens Entrance

In May we toured with the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Associations Floriculture Conference attendees.

Randy Knight at Polasek Gardens

Our host was Randy Knight, the garden curator and former owner of the Poole and Fuller garden center chain before he retired and decided to do something more relaxing.

Polasek Gardens SausEdge Usage

Randy’s extensive knowledge was put to task as the expert speakers from around the country quizzed him on botanical names and cultivars from his extensive collections of begonias, ferns, bromeliads, succulents, perennials, shrubs and vast collections of tropical plants. In this garden vignette, the statue is surrounded by a walk and a hedge of Cuban Gold Duranta started by using our SausEdge.  

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Compost, Drip Irrigation and Haitian Agronomists

June 10, 2011 by Rickb

Haitian Agronomists paid us a visit this week as a part of their Florida tour of farms in an effort to learn how we implement growing practices that are based on scientific methods developed and taught at the University of Florida. USAID’s WINNER program in Haiti has contracted with the University of Florida to train and help implement agricultural best management practices with the farmers and these state agronomists that work from stations around the Haitian state.

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Typical Furcy area terraced farms

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Furcy Station School

 

10 Ways That WINNER Is Changing Haiti

Why The Watershed Initiative For National Natural Environmental Resources Reflects America's Best Development Practices and a Path Forward For Haiti

April 8, 2010


WINNER IS:

* A FIVE-YEAR MULTI-FACETED PROGRAM begun last May and designed to comprehensively build Haiti's agricultural infrastructure, capacity, and productivity by providing concentrated and transformative support to Haitians in a large area north of Port-au-Prince. It is focused on building and strengthening Haiti's agricultural foundation, particularly in the areas of Cul-de-Sac, Cabaret, Mirbalais, Archaie and Gonaives and is backed by $126 million in funding from the U.S. Government over the next five years.

* MANAGED BY A MOSTLY HAITIAN STAFF that works with other Haitians to develop watershed management plans, strengthen farmer associations, provide access to expertise and vital supplies (seeds, fertilizers, credit, tools), and restore protective tree cover.

* DEDICATED TO CREATING AGRICULTURAL GROWTH that can be independently sustained and flourish, while contributing to the growth of secondary poles of development. WINNER is focused as much on providing materials and expert guidance as on developing civic institutions and networks.

* BUILT ON A NETWORK OF OVER 200 FARMERS ASSOCIATIONS which work in conjunction with local government officials, NGOs and other entities to form public-private partnerships and prepare the maximum amount of land possible for the planting/harvesting season which runs from March through October.

* A CRITICAL WAY TO REDUCE RISK TO VULNERABLE POPULATIONS through innovative flood control work in Riviere Grise and La Quinte which will be implemented through labor-intensive projects.

* PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES, such as watersheds and tree cover, which must be restored in order to ensure that meaningful agricultural development can take place. WINNER provides the funding and education Haitians need to sustain and grow their environment.

* WIDESPREAD AND EFFECTIVE enough to deliver an efficient response to the country's food security emergency and meet the needs of the dispersed population in the wake of Haiti's earthquake.

* THE CULMINATION of best practices derived from project experience from USAID and other donors over the last 30 years and is now the model for watershed methodology being used in Haiti and around the world by Canada, Spain, France, Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

* A MAJOR SOURCE OF PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT for Haitians displaced by the earthquake. It will help to integrate 15,000 people into specified areas and provide jobs, shelter and services in collaboration with local authorities.

* A PARTNERSHIP between the U.S. Government, Government of Haiti, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

 

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We spent time showing them all the facets of our Florida operation.

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A main focus of the visit was to learn how we compost to create growing

media using microorganisms and local materials.

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Our low volume watering systems were also demonstrated to their delight.

They helped us understand more about Haiti and the size of the country, diversity of growing regions and economic and cultural challenges.

It is worth a look at this video from Double Harvest to get a sense of the problems and scale of the issues facing Haiti and what they have done. You can also visit and Like Double Harvest on Facebook. Knowing the VanWingerden family has given me a sense of the sharing of their ideals and the impact they have made on communities in need around the world. Give their pages a look. Contributions to Double Harvest are likely the most efficient way to get aid to people in need that can benefit most by learning to be self sufficient through this organizations intense and charitable effort.


Flower Performance Trials at EPCOT

May 28, 2011 by Rickb

This year we grew the starts for many of the trials plants installed at EPCOT during the Flower Festival for the FNGLA Field Day Performance Trials. Networking with growers, plant breeders, landscape contractors and all the associated folks in the plant business was extremely valuable and fun.

Preview the new plants and flowers for 2012

Flowering Field Trials EPCOT 2011

 

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Chris Beytes filming for the segment above and Katy Moss Warner, Miss America In Bloom, Director and former Head of Landscape at Disney

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Leu Gardens Director, Robert Bowden is amazed at all the new sun tolerant non blooming coleus released by U of F breeding. No doubt all of these will be at Leu Gardens soon for all to see.


Southern Coastal Home Landscape

May 17, 2011 by Rickb

We recently visited Stephen and Kristin Patagas, Landscape Architect and Designers home.

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Together they call their design company Hortus Oasis. Visit their website for a look at their extensive body of work.

Southern Coastal Home Landscaping Patagus Florida Friendly Plants

They have a new book, Southern Coastal Home Landscaping, you should check out if you have a home in Florida and enjoy your outdoor spaces and rooms. It is filled with great ideas and technique. The Table of Contents hints at what you will find but only hints as the images and illustrations and the clarity and depth of the ideas are a culmination of their life's work together making great outdoor spaces.

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The Patagus landscape features primarily drought tolerant plants in unirrigated areas and no lawn.

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Long time friend, Randy Knight joined us for the tour. Randy is the Director of Horticulture at The beautiful Polasek Sculpture Gardens and Museum in Winter Park that we will feature in an upcoming post.

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Low maintenance, drought tolerant containers were used to feature their collection of containers and artifacts from Bali, the place where they have drawn much of their inspiration for their design.

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The back yard is filled with raised beds of vegetables, a grape arbor featuring the Southern Home variety and butterfly garden plants.

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That’s the neighbors lawn you see in the backdrop of this turf free property.

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A look inside shows a designers talent and taste for collectables from around the world.

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They are very fond of using Succulents and Bulbine for low maintenance, long lived and drought tolerance.


Butterfly Explosion in Riverview

May 4, 2011 by Rickb

With so many spring flowers blooming and perfect weather the butterfly population is out in force. Every native butterfly species can be observed this month around the state.

The Monarch butterflies are out in full force nectaring and egg laying on our milkweeds. ScarletMilkweed&Monarch&QueenButterflies

You will enjoy NanaK’s  Monarch blog post and all her butterfly images.

Over at Meem’s Hoe and Shovel blog you will see some beautiful butterfly and larval images.

Zebra Swallowtail on Spreading Purple Lantana

Zebra Swallowtail on Spreading Purple Lantana. Lantanas in gallon pots are on sale 4 for $10 at Florida Home Depot Garden Centers along with other perennials until May 4th 2011. Zebras have been very active in the last month. They lay their eggs on the numerous Paw Paws in the pastures around the farm in Riverview.

 

Salvia Wendy's Wish

One of the butterfly favorites on the farm is the new Salvia Wendy’s Wish. This plant is nearly 3 years old and growing without irrigation at the base of a tall Native Cabbage Palm next to a driveway with western exposure. Hummingbirds are commonly seen throughout the day as we walk by it entering our growers office at the farm. It is never out of bloom and came through the freezes these last 2 winters with minor damage. In this setting they maintain their size at about 4’ by 4’. More on Wendy’s Wish here.

Red Admiral on Batfaced Cuphea

A red Admiral (above) and a Painted Lady (below) are nectaring on our new large flowered Batfaced Cuphea.

Buckeye on Batfaced Cuphea Florida Friendly Plants


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Inspiring Containers from the Spring Trials

April 2, 2011 by Rick

 

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Lupines? in Florida? Yes Indeed

March 5, 2011 by Rick

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I captured this Sky-Blue Lupine, Lupinus diffuses across the street from the gate of Sun City Tree Farm where I was meeting J.C. Tort and picking out some olive trees for our office landscape project.

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Rows of beautiful Olives grown on drip irrigation that pulses according to need determined by probes that sense moisture. Olives are drought tolerant and will thrive here as an ornamental. We plant them to remind us of Italy. Such a beautiful place. Olive trees stay relatively small and will provide shade while staying in balance with the structure. Right Plant Right Place. This variety will not produce fruit but they have others that will even in Florida.

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Sun City Tree Farm has won many awards for their environmental practices and stewardship of the land. They have the largest selection and best quality trees that I know of. If you bought a magnolia recently in Florida there is a good chance it was grown at Sun City Tree Farm.

A Few Links on Florida Lupines:

http://www.wildflorida.com/wildlife/plants/Sky-blue_Lupine.php

http://hawthornhillwildflowers.blogspot.com/2010/01/scrub-lupine-lupinus-aridorum.html

http://www.easywildflowers.com/quality/lup.per.htm

http://myfwc.com/getinvolved/Volunteer_Ridge_Rangers_Lupine.asp

http://goo.gl/YtZub

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Categories: Florida Friendly Landscape | Plant Production | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Drip Irrigation
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Going for the Gold with Sedums

February 27, 2011 by Rick

Three chartreuse sedums you will find at these Home Depot Garden Centers this spring will offer you new choices to cover the ground and feature plants, garden ornaments and collectibles. The chartreuse color of these hardy succulents contrasts with many of the colors of the flowers, foliage and objects you have in the garden.

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Sedum Florida Friendly Gold is quickly becoming one of the most popular perennials for it’s striking color and wide range of use possibilities in the full sun and even in a setting where you get shifting or filtered shade all day.

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Sedum Florida Friendly Gold is also available in convenient 9 pack trays.

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Use them as a unifying ground cover in front of the garden border or along your home or garden fence border where you feature other showy plants. You can also use it to Shrink the Size of Your Lawn.

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Sedums and succulents are great combination planter components that can thrive on neglect.

 

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Sedum Fine Leaf Gold is a beautiful container plant that spreads and fills to make a solid carpet with an appealing texture.

 

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Sedum Ogon as a container plant that fills, contrasts and cascades in your containers. Extremely easy to grow and share.

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Durability and low maintenance are another reason to weave these low growers into your garden.

These sedums work well as pot toppers and SPILLERS in your container gardens.

 

 

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Florida Friendly Demonstration Gardens - The Discovery Garden

February 19, 2011 by Rick

This week I visited The Discovery Garden at the Hillsborough County Extension Office

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as the Master Gardeners did a spring cleanup and planting.

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It should be ready for prime time Monday but call before you go or check the status on their web site.

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They decided to employ the Pot-in-Pot method for their most colorful plantings of seasonal flowers.

In the Pot-in-Pot containers they have selected Voltage Yellow Osteospermum which is the first truly Florida Friendly Osteospermum. Voltage Yellow is available most of the year at your local Florida Home Depot Garden Centers. As a permanent border they planted Sedum Florida Friendly Gold which is becoming one of the most popular chartreuse groundcovers and combination container plants.

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At the Discovery Garden you can see the 9 principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping in action and learn how they can help you design and maintain a home garden and landscape that is easy to maintain, beautiful and has a positive effect on the Florida environment.

There are many of these similar U of F Demonstration Gardens around the state and much of the funding comes from Florida Yards and Neighborhoods programs and the plants are usually all donated from growers like Riverview Flower Farm.

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Rocky was captured that morning at the Discovery Garden and is ready for transplanting elsewhere.

 

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The Outdoor Room and a Patrick Blanc Inspired Design

January 30, 2011 by Rick

The Outdoor Room is one of the best shows on Television for garden design inspiration and the producers have scripted it with just enough drama and conflict in each episode to make it very entertaining. The episode, French Garden, is inspired by Patrick Blanc who invented the Vertical Garden concept. Vertical Garden images and Patrick Blanc images on Google will give you some ideas and possibly inspiration to think of how they might accent you home or garden spaces. I recently attended the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Ft Lauderdale and found quite a selection of Living Wall options available. Here is a YouTube on How to make a Patrick Blanc style living wall and another YouTube from an Australian firm.

 

 

We have plans in the works for an affordable option for your patio or garden room. Keep up with us here and on Facebook for the details.

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