Posted in gardening, The Southern Garden

A little road trip.

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.

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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.

new citrus groves
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~

moth on flower
Victoria LK Williams

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s a cold start!

The start of 2018’s weather hasn’t been easy! Frigid temps, icy roads and record setting snowfall have made the celebrating the holiday season challenging for our northern friends and family.

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Even down here in the south, we are bracing for frosty weather. Heavy rains are beating against the windows as I write, to be followed by a cold front that threatens not only our comfort, but could also cause damage to our plants.

Many have gone to great lengths to get their gardens in tip-top condition for the holidays. We want our guest to enjoy the beautiful flowers of the south, and maybe even smirk a little because we can enjoy the tropics year-round.

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We can’t control the weather, but we can take steps to protect our gardens against the elements.

First off, don’t begrudge the rain. It’s helpful to keep the plants well-watered and strong against the beating winds. Be sure the pots are not sitting in water-you don’t want to create a situation where rotting can start.

Next, be thankful for a little wind. That will help keep the frost from settling on the leaves, flowers and fruit. But too strong of a frigid wind can burn the leaves, leaving behind brown tips and falling leaves. If you can move smaller pots out of the wind, do so. If not, try to cover them with a lightweight blanket or sheet. Try not to use plastic, it can often cause more damage than it protects by burning the plants as the sunlight magnifies through it.

Keeping the plants strong and in good health all year long will also help them recover quickly if they suffer from the cold. Remember, you may not see the damage until several days or even a week later.

After the cold has passed, don’t be in a big hurry to get out there and cut back the plants. Remember it’s only January, and there could be colder weather on the way. Instead, keep the falling debris cleared to make sure that bugs and disease do not have a place to hide, keep the plants watered and be patient. Often, you’ll notice new growth starting on within a week after a freeze. What you may think is dead can rejuvenate and become a beautiful plant again.

So, relax and view your garden from the windows until the cold passes. And be thankful we don’t have to deal with all that snow!!

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