On the western side of the garden fence the spectacular Queen’s Wreath (Petrea volubilis) is in colorful display. It blooms multiple times a year, but mostly between February and June. It is a tropical vine that resembles wisteria with its small lavender flowers. Unattended it can grow to 40 feet but is easy to maintain as as a bush. It grows from Zone 9B to parts of South America and can be found in Cuba, Puerto Rica and Hispaniola. The Community Garden is in the perfect climate for Queen’s Wreath. Visitors were seen recently taking photos – the color of the flowers stands out among the other plants. These photos were taken by Satya Rudin.
As I unlocked the garden gate and walked into the garden yesterday morning, I was delighted to see colorful butterflies flitting about looking for nectar. With flowers in full bloom, and the butterflies gliding in morning sunshine, the garden was like a small slice of paradise! Recently our gardeners planted more milkweed for monarch butterflies. In addition, we continue to monitor the health of other butterfly host plants and add nectar plants for many species of butterflies. We do this for 4 reasons:
1 – Butterflies are pollinators that are essential for the reproduction of plants, even wild plants, and these plants are nectar for other pollinating insects.
2 – Some butterfly species, like the monarch and atala, are endangered. Their survival is so important to the diversity of of plants and other species that many government agencies and other wildlife organizations are working to help them survive and thrive.
3 – Helping one butterfly species survive, helps other less known species to survive. Measures taken to protect the monarch for instance, also helps the cycnia moth which relies on milkweed, too.
4 – Beauty and Awe! Maybe this one should be first! Butterflies make the garden magical and enrapture us with their beautiful form and delicacy.
Below is a link to Broward.org/naturescape where you will see a publication about butterflies on the right. https://www.broward.org/naturescape/Pages/Default.aspx
I agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson – the earth seems joyous when flowers are displaying all their colors. Here are a few photos of what is in bloom right now.
Zinnias, Ornamental Ginger, Sweet Alyssum, Florida Flame Vine, Cosmos, Ageratum, Sweet Almond, Tropical Sage
One of our gardeners, Satya, had great success growing cauliflower and shared a photo of one. It is a variety named “Freedom”. She purchased the hybrid seeds from Park Seed. They were started on July 26th under grow lights and harvested from the garden on January 22nd, so the growing time was approximately 120 days. This head of cauliflower weighed 2 pounds and 9 ounces! Soup anyone?
Incredibly beautiful weather and amazing gardeners made this a fantastic beginning to the new year! Volunteers planted Muhly grass and beauty berry in the food forest, while others tackled weeds in the garden. Rebuilding and moving the canopy was accomplished quickly with everyone’s help. They did all this while wearing masks and social distancing. We want to thank the Rotary Club members – Sal, Mickey and Scott – who came to volunteer, as well as Renata and Hilamar, Jackie (Renata’s friend), Lorin and his daughter, Viola and Mimi, Elizabeth, Janice and Kirsten! All contributed to make this a special day.
A co founder of the Rotary Coral Springs Community Garden, Judith Gulko, presented an overview of some local community gardens in Broward and Palm Beach counties during this Forum. Her presentation included information about the mission of each garden, the funding sources, and activities the gardens were involved in. Our community garden was included in her presentation. It was also pointed out during this online meeting that successful community gardens have 3 things in common:
1 – gardeners feel that that their food is valued
2- the garden donates produce to local community organizations
3 – gardeners plan celebrations to highlight special garden events
Thank you Judith Gulko for helping to make our garden a special place for all!
Many people who move from other parts of the country to Southern Florida may wonder what it is. Ackee is like the tomato, which is technically a fruit but is used like a vegetable. It is the national fruit of Jamaica, where it is cooked like a vegetable with saltfish.
There are several Ackee trees growing in the Food Forest which produce prolific amounts of the fruit. It grows on a tropical evergreen tree that’s native to West Africa, and also goes by the names achee, akee, and ackee apple.
Its fruit is fully developed, ripe, and suitable for cooking when the pods are bright red and they split open easily to expose the edible fruit inside. Jamaicans will often say that the fruit will “yawn” or “smile”—open naturally, on its own—before it’s ready to be picked from the tree. When the fruit opens, it releases a gas called hypoglycin. The pod opens to expose three or four cream-colored sections of flesh called arils underneath large, glossy black seeds. The arils are what you eat.
Soil has just been delivered this week for gardeners to fill their beds. It is located just outside the west gate next to the mulch pile. Many time people ask the question, “What is the difference between dirt and soil?” Soil is full of living organisms and the components that make up soil are natural and can be identified. Dirt has no life and dirt is often from an unknown origin.