Burrell Collection Online

Austyn Lindsey By Comments

In 2015, Norma and Larry Ellis drove down from Ashburn, VA to bring Bok Tower Gardens a very special donation. Mr. Ellis’ great grandfather is Horace Burrell who, along with son Edward, was the builder for the Singing Tower. The donation included the Burrells‘ two handwritten journals detailing the construction of the Tower, a scrapbook, and several hundred photographs.

Using the information and photographs from the Burrell Collection, we have created a new traveling exhibit called Creating an Icon: The Way We Worked on the Singing Tower. The exhibit shares some of the details contained within the journals and helps to shed new light on the Singing Tower and those who worked so hard to create it. Creating an Icon was partially sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and Visit Central Florida, and is on display here in the Visitors Center now through January 18, 2018, after which it will travel to other locations around central Florida and beyond.

We hope that you will come by and check out the exhibit, but even if you’re unable to visit in person, you can still view the Burrell Collection! The collection has been digitized and the journals, scrapbook, and a selection of photographs are now available online.

Bok Tower Gardens Teen Ambassador Program

Austyn Lindsey By Comments

Looking for volunteer hours?
Become a Bok Tower Gardens Teen Ambassador

Bok Ambassadors are students from 13 to 18 years-old who have been accepted into this internship program and serve as volunteer educators.

Why Become a Bok Ambassador?

  • share a sense of community through fun and engaging experiences with peers.
  • forge new friendships, and spend time outdoors exploring and sharing nature with others.
  • become more self-confident through leadership development and teambuilding.
  • gain a deeper knowledge of the natural sciences and themselves.
  • become eligible for a paid summer internship.

When do Teen Ambassadors meet?
once a month after school on Thursdays 3:30-4:30 pm and also commit to volunteering one day a month

Orientation Session:
Interested teens and their parents will meet for an orientation session (January 6 at 11:00 a.m. or January 7 at 2 p.m.).
Register here!

Volunteer to improve habitat for the rare Lakela’s Mint!

Austyn Lindsey By Comments

Come join us for Habitat Improvement days for the rare Lakela’s Mint in Fort Pierce!
First Friday of each month: November through April (except January)

The public is invited to help improve Scrub habitat for the rare Lakela’s Mint on the morning of Friday, February 2nd. We will be removing the overgrowth of small oaks, love vine, life plant, and various other competing species within the natural population of mints. Loppers and pruners will be provided, but if you have a favorite hand tool, please bring it. No special skills are necessary, and all ages are welcome. We will provide a short tour of the habitat and its species afterwards for those who are interested. Lunch (sandwich platters) will be provided at noon.

Date: Friday, February 2nd
Time: 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Place: The Ocean Discovery Center parking lot at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute/FAU, 5600 U.S. 1 North, Fort Pierce, FL 34946

Bring: bottle of water – refills will be provided. Also if desired: hat, sunscreen, bug spray, gloves. PLEASE wear long pants and sturdy shoes or boots.

RSVP: All participants must RSVP in advance with Cheryl Peterson, Conservation Program Manager, Bok Tower Gardens / 863-734-1220
Amanda Thompson, Sr. Lands Stewardship & Outreach Coordinator, St. Lucie County Environmental Resources
Department / (772)462-2528

All participants will also be required to sign a liability waiver at the start of the work day.

We hope you can join us! Your help is greatly appreciated! Please pass this message on to other interested parties who may be able to help out.

Post Irma Rare Plant Rescue

Austyn Lindsey By Comments

In the aftermath of a hurricane, we typically think of flooding, destruction, and humanitarian disasters. Most of us don’t think about rare plants. . . most of us, that is. After Hurricane Irma, Highlands Hammock State Park invited Bok Tower Gardens to rescue epiphytic ferns and orchids from fallen trees in the park before cleanup crews incinerated the debris.

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The Lovers’ Oak is well worth preserving

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I am writing concerning the Lovers’ Oak that has recently been deemed a dangerous tree and slated for removal. I have been the president at Bok Tower Gardens for the last 10 years, and prior to that was director of horticulture for 20 years. My knowledge of trees, tree health and arboriculture is based on my experience and study of plant pathology.

In the city of Lakeland there are many oak trees. In the recent Hurricane Irma, the overwhelming oak to break apart or uproot was the laurel oak. The laurel oak is prone to rot and the wood splits easily. Laurel oaks tends to live about 80 years then decline and fall apart. If branches are cut on a laurel oak, the stub rots and eventually that rot finds its way into the heart of the tree weakening the trunk and into the roots.

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Fall Vegetable Gardening

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Planning and setting up your fall vegetable garden is about the last thing most people want to think about during heat of our Florida summer, but it’s important to be prepared if you want to have a successful vegetable garden during our cool season. Growing vegetables year round is a possibility; however, most crops do best when started at certain times of the year. Planning is key to a bountiful harvest.

In central Florida, summer or warm season crops are best planted in late February or early March and again in early September. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants should generally be planted as starter plants in 4” pots, whereas faster crops like cucumbers, summer squash, and beans can be direct seeded or started as small transplants. If you want to start your own seeds, add on the necessary growing time to the optimal planting time to determine when to start your seeds. Cool season crops like lettuce, cooking greens, broccoli, carrots, radishes, etc. are generally best started between late October and February. Some faster crops can be planted multiple times over the winter.

Now is the time to prepare your vegetable beds. Our kitchen garden contains raised beds as this allows us to better control the soil. Our native soils are often too poor to retain the amount of nutrients that vegetable plants need, so planting in ground becomes challenging. Raised beds allow us to add good quality soils, composts, composted manures, and other amendments that provide desired macro and micro nutrients, moisture, and more.

Determine how much space you have to work with, and then prioritize the types of vegetables you’d most like to grow. It’s important to not overcrowd plants to minimize disease. Square foot gardening is a method often used to determine how many of each vegetable can be grown in the amount of space you have. Also keep in mind that climbing and vining vegetable like pole beans, cucumbers and tomatoes will need support like sturdy trellises or fences. Incorporate these on the north sides of the beds so they don’t shade out the other plants.

Vegetable Gardening in Florida Series

Gardening in Raised Beds

Solutions for Your Life, Vegetable Gardening in Florida

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