Last weekend my husband and I decided it was time to get away for the day, so we jumped in the car and headed west. We headed for one of my favorite spots in Florida, Bok Towers. As we drove across State Road 60, it didn’t take long before we left civilization, so to speak. Once you reach a certain point on State Road 60, the only thing to wave at you as you drive by is the cows.
As you get past seeing the same thing over and over, you begin to notice little things. And one item I saw repeatedly gave me encouragement.
The Citrus growers are replanting.
I rejoiced as I saw this because our citrus industry has gone through so much in the last couple of decades. The land was sold for development and growth, groves aged and were not replenished. There were a series of hurricanes and deep freezes, and then, of course, the diseases. Citrus canker and Citrus Greening have taken their toll on the groves in our state.
Agriculture of any kind is difficult, but seems as if the citrus growers had taken one hit after another.
But they persist, and to see new trees being planted right alongside the old existing groves is encouraging. It shows there is hope.
When we finally arrived at Bok Towers, we had another surprise in store. The garden had also gone through massive changes as well. Beautiful changes, and again it was because of nature. The azalea plants the tower was so well known had also suffered the ravages of age. Repeated hurricanes had knocked out the natural canopy that provided the shade the azaleas needed to survive and then a series of years of extremely cold winters took out the weaker plants. But in their place other plants were able to survive. And with the replenishment of the garden, the wildlife came back,
The one addition that I thought was encouraging was the children’s garden, once again showing that there’s hope for the future. If we encourage children to love and appreciate the gardens we are setting the next generation up to respect our earth.
As we walked to the gardens my husband, and I saw beautiful flowers; some native, some exotic. Some plants you had to search for, while others could easily be found right along the main walkways, making for an interesting day.
Anyone who says that the summertime in Florida it’s impossible to grow colorful flowers, well you’ve never walked the paths of Bok Tower.
“Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it”
~Edward W. Bok~
Victoria LK Williams
Don’t throw that out, it might be the perfect container for the Fairy Garden you’re making, or to be used as an unusual container for the garden.
It’s time we start thinking outside the pot. Look for different sources for containers and don’t always take the easy route. Simply pulling the first pot off the shelf can lead to ho-hum gardens. Why do this, when there are many other objects that could work really well as containers.
I can remember as a child, my grandfather taking an old tire, painting in the bright color and cutting the top part open making it look like a flower. Ta-da, my grandmother had a new planter and she would fill it with colorful pansies. Or what about the old fountain? You know, the one with the burned-out motor? Drain it, and create a statement planter.
Maybe for the generations before us, this practice wasn’t so much about looking for unusual containers as it was being responsible; recycling old items into new purposes. Perhaps it’s time we all started being responsible as well. With so many beautiful object available, if you use your imagination you could turn into a great planter.
Have you ever bought something you really liked, used it to serve its purpose for a short time and then you’re tired of? A perfect example is an old metal fire pit purchased before the propane firepits became so popular. Our customer uses the firepit for a year and decided they wanted to upgrade to the propane style. So, we cleaned up the old brass firepit and made a huge planter which now sits on a wrought iron stand and is focal point to their patio.
And just because a pot is broken doesn’t mean it needs to be thrown out, either. You’ve seen the pictures of a play pot laying on its side in a landscape bed with annuals just filling out across the ground? Once the flowers grow, the pot becomes a beautiful addition to the garden.
If you’re using a different container in your interiors, a simple way to avoid leakage is to line the bottom with heavy florist foil that will hold water and soil in. Don’t be afraid to try something completely different: a wood box, an old water bucket, an unused fountain or bird bath.
It’s time to start looking at the items around you in a different light; try to imagine a new use for something before you throw it away. That beautiful broken teapot, belonging to your grandmother, can be perfect for the miniature garden, or to hold an African Violet.
Those are a few tips & I hope they work for you…
remember; think outside the pot!