A Scratch on the Wall, Part 1

Happy Leap Year Day!

How rapid the advancement of time!  Weren’t we celebrating Christmas two minutes ago?!

Realizing how FAST time passes, lends a certain legitimacy to the incessant documenting we bloggers do.  Reliving the day, focusing on what we did/saw/thought, then placing our best and brightest ideas where others may one day find them: this has been humanity’s best defense against time since cave dwellers scratched the first pictures on a wall. Not always terribly earth shattering these tableaus, but frozen in time nevertheless. See this day? This scene?  It mattered to us!  Stop! Look!

Yesterday my master gardener class had a day worth scratching on the wall.  We took a field trip to a most amazing place:

U of FL Indian River Research and Education Center

The UF Indian River Research and Education Center opened in 1947 with only one scientist and a small laboratory. Today it is an internationally known education facility doing cutting edge research on citrus and other plant diseases.  We were there for citrus and palm lectures as well as hands-on learning in the teaching and demonstration gardens. Of the 225 species planted there, approximately 62% are native to Florida, with the remaining 38% being non-invasive yet highly adaptable to native conditions.  Here is the first plant we saw, at the building’s entrance:

Petrea volubilis

This late winter bloomer is a woody vine called Petrea volubilis, aka Queen’s Wreath.  Talk about a royal welcome!    Then we walked through the building to a butterfly garden accessed via a spectacular arborway of Cracker Roses:

Cracker Roses

Here is the sign describing the purpose of the waystation:

Monarch Waystation

We soon learned not only  migrating monarchs stop here!

Zebra Longwing Butterfly

The state butterfly of Florida, the Zebra Longwing, swirled everywhere around us!

The next garden was more open:

Teaching Garden

I particularly liked the way this bed was outlined:

Inverted Glass Jars as Garden Surround

Such a creative touch! Colorful glass jars, inverted side-by-side, made prisms of the afternoon sun.

This area was packed with so many specimens yet didn’t feel crowded:


A beautiful bamboo walking trail led to a euphorbia I’d never seen before:

Copperleaf Firedragon

and to another connecting arbor, soon to be covered with these:

Blue Glory Thunbergia

We passed through to a large open field area,

Arborway, IRRECWalking past a grove of flowering mangos

Mango Grove in Bloom

and a rose cultivation area near the science buildings

Rose Garden then back to the research center for a break near huge spiking bromeliads!

Aechmea blanchetiana -Perhaps I should’ve titled this “Scratching the Surface;”  😉  😉  there’s still another garden to show you.. 🙂

Scratch on the Wall Part 2, coming soon!

Untll next time…..


10 thoughts on “A Scratch on the Wall, Part 1

  1. Thanks for my early morning stroll through this beauty. Queen’s wreath is new to me, such rich colour and I love the bottle edging too. All just lovely! I can’t wait to do some more garden visiits this summer 🙂

  2. your love for what you are doing just blasts through every post!
    Beautiful pictures and descriptions.

  3. It sounds like your course is packed with information and fun. I particularly like walking in amongst large bamboo, something about the coloursm the height and the noise when the wind moves them. Looking forward to part 2 🙂

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  6. I love it! Also, the zebra longwings were everywhere this afternoon when I went to the butterfly exhibit for members at the Jacksonville Zoo. I had no idea they were the state butterfly! This is the kind of stuff the zoo staff should be telling us – state pride, I’m all about it!

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