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Showing posts from 2020

10 plants for your South Florida Summer Garden!

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Yes! It's that time of year where we annual and veggie growers stand from our kitchen windows looking out at the dark sky and wonder how much more rain and abuse our gardens can really endure. The fact is that growing in South Florida can be extremely rewarding, AND brutal at the same time.  Our sometimes threatening climate can be stressful for many at home gardeners (flooding? pests? high night-time temperatures?) and unlike much of the rest of the continental U.S., the summer for us is not peak season for annuals.  The summer garden requires flexibility, and a grow-with-the-season attitude.

We're transitioning our own gardens at the moment, and over the summer I emphasize soil health, and garden versatility. At home, you have some leniency of what your gardens can look like, but in a public setting, we strive to make sure our gardens are functional, maintainable, and still attractive.

Here are a few summertime champions that I like to incorporate into my transitioning space…

Celebrating National Public Gardens Week- Why Public Gardens Matter

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This week, we're celebrating National Public Gardens Week. Once per year, we recount and appreciate all of the aspects of public gardens that we love. While I, along with my coworkers are lucky enough to live this every day,  this year I thought it appropriate to take a deeper look at why we celebrate, and the history of Public Gardens.

The roots of Public Gardens are not near to us, rather they began in 16th century Italy.  Traced way back to the renaissance professors of botany and the faculty of medicine, by which plants were studied and used. The earliest public gardens were none other than medicinal gardens. Plants were a way of life, a token of health and a necessity.

Entry path to lower garden through Hardwood Hammock- Pinecrest Gardens
 While our society has changed greatly, and it's true most people don't look to plants for their medicinal properties with the advancement of modern medicine, plants are still celebrated. The purpose of botanical gardens changed from…

A Partnership: Growing Vertical part 2

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In the second part of this posting, we will discus our vertical planters, and their benefits.

This Vertical Garden partnership was perfect for us for a few reasons.
First, we had run out of space in the beds and planter boxes, and we wanted to grow more! Secondly, we understood that the space along the fence is easily accessed, and wasn't currently being utilized. Thirdly, living walls are a perfect way to showcase how to grow even in a limited space, like on a balcony or patio. With planting upwards instead of outwards, you'll be able to take advantage of space for growing herbs, flowers, edibles or whatever you fancy!


Vertical gardens in background of photo with tactile panels

 Katie (see part 1 of growing vertical) purchased our garden panels with money that she raised from selling Girl Scout cookies and through donations she received by tabling at our Farmers Market. In addition to purchasing the panels themselves, Katie bought the equipment necessary for installation and…

A Partnership: Growing Vertical Part 1

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Today we're delving into the story of our vertical gardening system in the Learning Garden!
The Learning and Sensory Garden is a place that is always changing. Whether it be what we're growing or changing features, we like to keep things exciting for the visitor experience. We're always exploring new ideas.

This winter, we were approached by The Labiste family, who are local residents and frequenters of Pinecrest Gardens. Their Daughter, Katie was beginning her Gold Award for Girl Scouts (the highest award achieved in Girl Scouts) and came to us with an idea.  Katie expressed that she has always wanted to help people, and that she thought that through this project she could make a difference.


Katie is a freshman at Miami Palmetto Senior high, a member of many clubs, plays tennis and guitar, and is active in Girl Scouts.

Pinecrest Gardens has a history with Girl Scouts in that we work closely with the Tropical Council to provide programs for girl scouts, as well as host gir…

At Home Activity: Flower Scavenger Hunt

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Being quarantined doesn't mean we have to give up exploring! Today we've got something to connect you to nature and safely discover your neighborhood. 
It's been a stressful couple of weeks for everyone, especially for those with littles! So today,  I'm  bringing you an engaging activity that you can access easily and keep in your back pocket for those particularly interesting days indoors. 
Today, we're going on a flower scavenger hunt!  I use this basic flower scavenger hunt at The Garden with my groups, but it is so easy to modify for a specific time of year or age group. This hunt is great for kids from ages 5-12 and can work with any age with a little imagination. Use the hunt in your back yard or neighborhood. It's a great way to get kids outdoors moving and exploring. If you have binoculars or a magnifying glass on hand, that will make the hunt a little extra exciting. 
The hunt can be printed or found at the link at the bottom, for easy on-the-go access f…

At Home Activity: Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starter

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Has the lock down left you with too much toilet paper and time on your hands?Is your family bored and restless?
We’ve got a trick for you!


At Pinecrest Gardens, we’re always looking for ways to learn about plants AND make art. For this, toilet paper rolls are my favorite trash to treasure item. While old toilet paper rolls have many uses in their afterlife, my all-time favorite is as a seed starter pot. You’ve probably seen this method before, and filed it away for a rainy day. Today’s the day! Now that you have all of that toilet paper and time on your hands, its’ time to put it to good use.
Today we’ll show you how make a seed starter from a toilet paper roll at home.  But first, here’s a few reasons why we love toilet paper roll seed starters!
-Re-purposing what otherwise would be garbage -Reducing waste -Creative play -Learning about plants and how they grow -They’re compostable and already in your house -Teaching kids about seed dispersal and creative growing containers -Science, engin…

Growing Nasturtium & Nasturtium Pesto

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Let’s talk about a Learning and Sensory Garden favorite today, Nasturtium!
Nasturtium is a plant that I’ve been growing and loving for years. Every fall I sow the seeds, trusting that soon enough the cutest lily-pad-like leaves and brightly colored flowers will fill my raised beds and spill from the garden borders. Among the most delicious and easy-to-grow edible flowers, nasturtium has an interesting back story.
The genus of the plant is Topaeloaceae, which is tucked in the Brassica family, you know the one with the other garden favorites such as kale, broccoli and cauliflower. But nasturtiums are not like those common cousins of theirs. Oh no, this plant is more…..charismatic.
Let me explain. The plant arrived in Spain from Central America in 1969 by a Spanish botanist Nicol├ís Mondares and was later named by the guy we all learned of in high school biology, Carl Linneaus. Linnaeus give the plant the name Tropaeolum majus, because, he claimed that the brightly colored flowers remind…