Right Plant, Right Place

“Nothing I Plant Ever Thrives and I Don’t Know Why.  I’m Never Going to Garden Again!”

Ever felt that way? I often do and I’ve been gardening for over 40 years! Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the gardening gremlins seem to thwart our expectations.

If you missed our January meeting, you missed a treat and a huge opportunity to learn how to eliminate some notorious gardening mistakes. We’ve all made them. Planting the wrong plant in the wrong place at the wrong time and too close together, ad nauseam.

Rebecca Jordi, Nassau County Extension Director, UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture, “the lady with all the answers” and a personality bigger than life itself, gave us a crash course last week in choosing the right plant for the right place. Everyone present received a copy of The Florida Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design. That’s a mouthful and the book’s contents are even fuller! Let’s all thank UF/IFAS Extension Service for using our tax money so efficiently!

With Rebecca’s coaching we learned how to navigate the book and pick the right plant for the right place. Friends, Mother Nature just refuses to be fooled. A plant which needs good drainage is not going to thrive in a wet area and a truly tropical plant (They look so stunning at the nurseries, don’t they?!) will not survive year round in zone 8b, which is where we live.  And a “plant” that wants to be 30’ tall and 15’ wide will drive us mad trying to contain it when it’s planted 3’ from the house. Sure, it can be done – but plan on spending a lot of time pruning or worse yet, paying someone to do it!

Speaking of paying people, we also talked about “Myrtle Murder”. You know – what landscape maintenance companies like to commit under the guise of increasing a crepe myrtle’s bloom production. UF research indicates these trees (and they do want to be trees if we’d let them) bloom just as well if not pruned at all. So, why are we paying people to do the wrong thing?!

Don’t even get me started on pruning azaleas and loropetalum into hedges or mushroom balls, another craze started obviously by a demented Scissorhands! Why are we paying hard-earned money to lop off potential flowers?? Shouldn’t blooming plants be allowed to bloom? And trees allowed to stand tall?

Stay tuned. During next month’s meeting we will explore our uncontrollable urge to successfully grow roses in sandy soil, salty air and humidity comparable to an Amazon forest.

Holiday Designs and Greens

The Bartram Garden Club meeting theme in December, 2016 was “Holiday Designs and Greens Workshop” and was held at the Fernandina Beach Church of Christ. This was a great facility for a workshop/meeting and we give thanks to member Alice Caldwell for arranging access.

Master Gardener and Flower Show Judge, Elli Steiger from The St. Augustine Garden Club shared design tips with us during the workshop. We learned how to give long-leaf pine needles a distinctive "hair cut", which adds a creative touch to floral arrangements. She introduced the art of line design by first forming a structure using cylindrical Sansevaria and then following the line with gorgeous Calla lilies and sea grape leaves, which act to lead the eye into the design. As a nod to the Holiday Season, Elli shared a "fantasy flower" she created by glueing dried and painted magnolia leaves to a pine cone which mimics the poinsettia bract.

Four lucky members walked away with one of her creations. And more importantly, novice and experienced designers alike equally benefited from her love of flowers, experience and creativity. 

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a very Happy New Year.
Beverly Williams
President, The Bartram Garden Club

Click the image to see full size.

The “Florida Cranberry” and Native Trees Along the Trail

This is why I love being a member of a federated garden club! The knowledge we obtain from each other is amazing. I was born and reared in Central Florida and until yesterday’s garden club meeting had never heard of the Florida Cranberry plant, Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). According to the University of Florida, “most Florida Cracker homesteads grew it.” Part of the cranberry red flower is edible and used in jams, sauces and teas. The leaves can be cooked or added raw to salads. It’s an annual, planted in April or May and harvested in October or November. Since it’s only hardy in zones 9 - 10 I am even more amazed I never recognized it as a Central Florida landscape staple. For more information about this lovely shrub see UF/IFAS publication “Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa L. or visit www.gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu 

During the same meeting, Senior Forester and ISA arborist, Dave Holley from Callahan, delighted us with his witty slide presentation detailing some of the vital services his agency provides landowners. It was both educational and entertaining for the 16 members and 4 guests who attended. We were all dumbfounded to learn about the Champion Loblloly Pine which grows unknowingly in our midst on resident Tony Lopez’s property off Buccaneer Trail. Who knew Amelia Island is home to the country’s tallest Loblolly Pine tree? It is estimated to be 250 - 300 years old, stands 110 feet tall and is 15.5 feet around. For more information about the American Forests National Big Tree Program visit www.americanforests.org 

Continue to look for these and other amazing sights “along the trail we blaze.”

Beverly Williams
President, The Bartram Garden Club

The Bartram Garden Club Meeting 11-10-2016

Display by Kathleen Lunman

President's Welcome

President’s Welcome
On the Trail We Blaze

On behalf of The Bartram Garden Club, welcome to our new web site. We strive for excellence in all we do, and welcome your suggestions and comments.

Our club was successfully launched by four ladies with a passion for gardening and community-building who volunteered to serve as club officers. At twenty-six pioneering charter members strong, we are progressively moving forward “on the trail we blaze”, to quote Elton John’s title song.

In 1774 another pioneer blazed a trail in East Florida which began at Amelia Island and extended down the St. Johns River. Our club was named in recognition of William Bartram’s contributions to plant and animal sciences and to the history of our island and State. Northeast Florida’s terrain has changed dramatically since Bartram’s explorations. It is our intent to keep alive “wild Florida”, to preserve its flora and fauna and natural resources for future generations to enjoy.

As an affiliate of Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. we are also dedicated to the ideals of horticulture excellence, the art of floral design and civic beautification.

We invite you to join us on this journey as we map out modern ways to enrich the quality of life in our local community and State, and to live in harmony with “wild Florida.”

See you along the Trail!!
Beverly Williams

Welcome to The Bartram Garden Club Web Site

Greetings and welcome to The Bartram Garden Club web site. We have just launched the site and hope you find it useful, attractive and interesting. The Bartram Garden Club was charted in September, 2016 and is affiliated with the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. Our objective for the web site is to offer up-to-date information about our club and activities. We also plan to offer information that will be useful to you as a garden club enthusiast, as well as links to external information of high value. Check back often to review our calendar of events, follow the progress of our civic projects and see the results of programs and flower shows.

If you have questions or suggestions about the site, please send your feedback to the webmaster by clicking here