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 the first Friday of each month! Our first work day is Friday, November 3rd. We will be removing the overgrowth of small oaks, love vine, 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. Those with chainsaw experience, please let us know, and feel free to bring your own chainsaw, as that will help expedite the effort. 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, November 3rd.
Time: 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Place: near Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute/FAU, 5600 U.S. 1 North, Fort Pierce, FL 34946 (further details provided after signup)

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

Scrub Plums Transplanted to Conservation Beds

Austyn Lindsey By Comments

On June 19th, Mike Ball and Phil Gonsiska conducted an endangered plant rescue at a site slated for development near Clermont. The site was a ten-acre, slightly overgrown scrub remnant. Penny Cople, of Breedlove, Dennis, and Associates, Inc., showed them to several scrub plums (Prunus geniculata).

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Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitos this Summer

Austyn Lindsey By Comments

Spending time outside is always great, especially if it’s relaxing with friends and family. However, what’s not so great is the annoying bugs that fly around, especially mosquitos! Not only do they make obnoxious noises, but they can also ruin a great evening by making you all itchy. Here are some great plants you can add to your backyard to help repel mosquitos!

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