Florida Master Gardeners are volunteers trained by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Upon certification, our mission is twofold: provide county residents with research-based gardening information; network within the community to develop programs encouraging good stewardship of the environment. If that all sounds like vague, P.R. hoohah don’t worry….Let me introdude you to the Hallstrom House Wildflower Demonstration Garden. a project that illustrates this networking concept to a “T”:
This brick Victorian residence was built in 1918 by Axel Hallstrom, a successful Swedish agriculturalist and citrus pioneer. In 1999, his daughter Ruth–who’d been born in the house and lived there her entire life– bequeathed it the Indian River County Historical Society for the sole purpose of historic preservation. Over the next ten years, the interior was completely restored, but little had been done to upgrade the grounds.
Enter Master Gardener Robin Pelensky, a professional Landscape Architect looking to give back.
Robin wrote a proposal for a La Florida micro-grant with hopes of showcasing the beauty and variety of Florida’s native plants while demonstrating their use in the conventional landscape at Hallstrom House. She was awarded a $500 certificate to purchase Florida native wildflower seeds or plants (but not both.) . After chosing a mix of 50 different seeds from Florida’s Wildflower Seed Co-op, Robin and a group of MG volunteers got to work laying the new garden.
Since planting day (11/4/12) our weather has been uncharacteristically rainy, flushing the seeds to unintended places! 😮 What was once a garden path is allready impinged by a newly-sprouting meadow! Look closely: you’ll see many white plant markers around which a path was meant to meander. 🙂
Yesterday, we started re-clearing, pulling up weeds, seeds, and errant grass:
The rain wasn’t ALL bad, though! See that clump of beach sunflower at the bottom of the photo? That’s a lot of growth in a few months time. The same is true for this partridge pea which will soon bear pretty yellow flowers:
Another seed group doing quite well is Flaveria Linnearis, common name Yellow Top, for its tall flat florets that are so attractive to bees:
Across the driveway there’s a beautiful stand of bamboo; behind the bamboo is an African Tulip Tree whose flowers have dropped and scattered. I couldn’t resist placing one near new growth at the base of the trunk:
When open, these blossoms are insanely beautiful. Next Tuesday I’m working at Hallstrom again….you just KNOW I’ll be scouting a sucker or cutting! 🙂
Until next time…..
- The Everglades: Where the wildflowers are (miamiherald.com)
- Local gardening organizations partner with Martin County for wildflower planting project (tcpalm.com)
- meadow progress post #6 (myfloridameadow.wordpress.com)