Sunday, November 20, 2011

Flamingo Gardens

Going to Flamingo Gardens is like revisiting old Florida. There were many citrus groves and farms in Broward county sixty years ago. Most of the farmland has given way to strip centers, shopping malls and housing developments and our food is brought in from other areas. Flamingo Gardens provides a link to the past.
Flamingo Gardens was created in 1927 as a citrus grove of 320 acres. Back then there was very little development in Davie. The main owners Floyd L. and Jane Wray lived in Hollywood and did not move onto the property until 1933, when they built a house there. The charming home is now a museum and is opened to the public. Step back in time as you enter the house and revisit the 1930’s with furniture, knick knacks and a fully stocked kitchen with gadgets from yesteryear.
A favorite place to visit for locals and visitors alike, Flamingo Gardens has a multitude of attractions. The gardens were created about eighty years ago and now contain some of the state’s largest specimen trees. Known as champion trees, there are signs marking which ones have attained this prestigious status. Lush gardens are easy to walk, with paved paths and sitting areas. The gardens are grouped in the front of the property just after the gift shop.
As decades come and go, changes to the garden have occurred. There used to be a barn with antique cars on display years ago. This has given way to a large meeting room where educational lectures, special functions and events are held. A nice sized well stocked garden center with garden whimsy has come and gone. The old quaint animal area remains intact and has been updated, with a wonderful wild bird outpost as well.

There are tram tours daily that take visitors around the garden. Tour guides explain the garden history and provide names of the botanical plants. Flamingo Gardens is a special place in Broward County. Every time you go you learn something different about plants, birds and more.
The aviary is like a nursing home for injured and sick birds. This bird sanctuary provides a wonderful opportunity to visit Florida birds close up. There is a large shade cloth area where several Florida ecosystems have been successfully recreated. Each area blends into the next, providing the birds a place to feel at home. The area has many, many birds and it is a photographer’s paradise.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Annie Haven and her Teas

A wonderful perk of being on the net and having a blog, and being connected with social media is the great people you meet. I have some great contacts now and enjoy their work and contributions in the garden world.

Another perk is learning what is happening in the gardens of different regions of the USA and around the world. My biggest fans outside the USA on my Facebook page are Indonesia, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and France.
Another great perk are the product samples you get in the mail. You never know what goodies await in the mailbox when you get home from work.

I met Annie Haven on Facebook. We chatted up her and there and she sent me some of her special garden teas. These teas are not the kind you sip on fine china and eat a cucumber sandwich. These teas you brew and feed to your garden plants.
The first one I tried was for my roses. It is considered a soil conditioner and it is called an Alfalfa Tea. Following the instructions on the bag, I placed the bag in a 5 gallon bucket of water, covered the pail and let it seep for a few days. When I opened the bucket, what an aroma! It brought me back to my youth. Memories of visits to the zoo, horse riding, and petting zoos replayed in my head. Flies came out of nowhere and hovered around me. It was quite a surprise indeed.

I poured a nice amount around each rose bush. The aroma was very strong all over the garden. Luckily by the next morning, it was all gone. That was two weeks ago and now it is time to water the roses with ¼ a cup of Epsom salts. Years ago I was told about the benefits of applying Epson salts, but neglected to do it. Haven Brand has given me the motivation to apply the Epsom salts. I will be reporting the progress of my roses in future posts. Visit for more information.

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