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Artist with an open heart

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Agnes Nyanhongo with one of her elegant stone women. Agnes Nyanhongo, whose work is among the figures in Custom and Legend, a Culture in Stone on display in the lowlands, joined several of us for lunch this week, at the invitation of Eleanor Lahn, a long-time Fairchild volunteer. One of Zimbabwe's most important artists, Agnes said with an easy smile that she began to sculpt at age 12, learning from her famous father, Claud. She is one of 19 children - there are two mothers and one...

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Waking from winter

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kaempferia rotunda, or Indian crocus. Walking up the mulched path this week, three of us discovered lavender/purple flowers that looked as if they had fallen from above and landed gently in the leaves. But overhead, there was no flowering vine or tree, so we went closer. The cluster of flowers arose from the soil, and the nametag told us it was Kaempferia rotunda. Dormant over winter, like other Kaempferia species, this plant is from China, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and surrounding ...

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Paint pots of color at the Bromeliad show

Friday, April 12, 2013

Neoregelia 'Invincible'. Rows of perfectly grown bromeliads are displayed in the Garden House as the annual show and sale of the Bromeliad Society of South Florida opens this weekend. Judging was Friday, and I was there just after ribbon judging; major awards were still to be decided. But from the awards of merit on display, from which the major awards are determined, it was not to be an easy task. The correct conformation and color are two criteria that the judges consider. Neoregelia ...

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FIU Graduate Course on Plant Anatomy and Histology Taught at the Science Village Laboratories

Friday, April 12, 2013

Between April 8 and 12, Dr. Andrew Vovides (Director of the Botanic Garden of Xalapa, and Senior Researcher of Instituto de Ecologia A.C., Xalapa, Mexico) and Dr. Brett Jestrow (Herbarium Curator of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden) taught a FIU graduate workshop on Plant Morphology and Histology at the Research Laboratories of the Science Village (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden). The workshop was jointly sponsored by FIU and the Garden and also had the collaboration of Montgomery ...

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Tropical Apricot for South Florida

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The tropical apricot (Mammea americanais one of the best kept tropical fruit secrets of Tropical America. No relation to the true temperate apricot of the northern climes, this fruit is a bit of a challenge, but worth the effort. A handsome evergreen, it resembles a southern magnolia at first glance and naturally forms a pyramidal, pleasing canopy. The tree is densely foliaged with glossy, leathery leaves of hunter green. The tree is a great asset in the home landscape that will provide a point of pride among your neighbors. Native to the West Indies and northern South America, the tree produces large, round brown fruit, with a deep orange flesh.... 

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Food and Garden Festival 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

FOOD & GARDEN FESTIVAL AT FAIRCHILD FEATURES LOCAL FOODS AND PLANTS FOR SALE Coral Gables, FL, April 9, 2013 - Edible gardening is in this season. Come to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for the annual Food & Garden Festival featuring the 34th Annual Spring Plant Sale to celebrate the arrival of spring. Sample delicious seasonal foods, learn how to care for and maintain your edible gardens throughout the summer months, and take home plants grown by Fairchild and local plant societies....

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Farm-to-table cooking demonstrations at the Food and Garden Festival

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

LOCAL CHEFS TO TEACH FARM-TO-TABLE COOKING AT FAIRCHILD GARDEN'S FOOD & GARDEN FESTIVAL Coral Gables, FL, April 5, 2013 - Who says eating well has to be boring? Come to the Food & Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. to learn how to make delicious meals that the whole family will love. Local chefs will teach you how to make everything from seared scallops to vegan cashew cheese. Cooking...

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Food and Garden Festival Lectures

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

LEARN UNIQUE GARDENING TIPS FROM LOCAL EXPERTS AT FAIRCHILD'S FOOD & GARDEN FESTIVAL Coral Gables, FL, April 5, 2013 - If you've ever wanted to grow your own fruits and veggies, the Food & Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is the place to learn how. On Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., attend lectures hosted by Fairchild staff and local experts to learn how to start your own edible garden or improve the one you already...

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Earth Day at Fairchild

Friday, April 19, 2013

FAIRCHILD GARDEN CELEBRATES EARTH DAY WITH REDUCED ADMISSION PRICE Coral Gables, FL, April 10, 2013 - What better way to celebrate Earth Day than outdoors among tropical plants, fresh air and sunshine? On Monday, April 22, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is offering $7.50 admission for Earth Day in honor of Fairchild's 75th anniversary of opening to the public. Discover 83 acres of nature on foot or by tram with tram tours running every half hour from 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m....

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Eco-friendly Food and Garden

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Catalina Madrinan shows BambooCo Cycle that will aid a community inan area of Cali, Colombia.. At the Food and Garden fest Saturday morning, Catalina Madrinan was still furnishing her booth when we wandered over to talk. Worm castings and worm tea, a calendar called Ladies of Manure and a few small plants were her tabletop display, but the really attractive bamboo bicycle was a prize. It was the first one finished in a program that Cata and her friend Sonia Quintero have started in the...

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Imperial flower stalk

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Feb. 27 bloom developing. Leaves began to arrange themselves in a tighter rosette at the end of January. By mid-February, the inflorescence began its ascent. This morning, bloom spike of Alcantarea imperialis has reached 5 feet. I have always admired its handsome demeanor. The specimen in my home garden is several years old, and resides in a container by the koi pond. The imperial bromeliad is positioned so it receives sun from mid-morning March 23. to mid-afternoon, allowing the wine and...

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The live oak is a Florida favorite

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald There are estimated to be more than 500 species of oaks, but if you make your home in South Florida's distinctive climate, you most likely are familiar with only one - the live oak, Quercus virginiana, the only oak in South Florida that truly becomes a tree, reaching heights of 60 feet with a spread as wide or greater. The live oak, which ranges as far north as Virginia (hence the specific epithet virginiana) and as far west as Texas, is very well...

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Feed your soil, not just your plants

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald Building healthy soil is one of the most important things you can do for your garden, especially if you are growing an edible garden. Here in Florida, we are particularly challenged with rocky, sandy soil that is low in nutrients and organic matter. Adding organic matter to your soil will provide a wealth of benefits that will be reaped for years to come. Think of your soil as a living organism that supports the plants growing in it. Soil is far from dead ...

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The myriad benefits of working in your garden

Monday, April 29, 2013

as pubilshed in The Miami Herald As I write this article, a mighty mountain awaits me. In my side yard, three massive piles have merged to become my own personal Mulch Everest - the result of three truckloads of tree-trimmer goodness that were deposited just a few days ago. It is up to me to spread my Everest, and I relish the task. Not only will the mulch beautify my plantings and slowly decompose to add organic nutrients to my soil, I will also get a very nice bit of exercise. Why ...

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Essential tools of the trade

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald When buying garden tools, make a conscious decision to buy the best tool you can afford. Choosing the more expensive piece may save more than money. Saving a few dollars on a tool may cost you hours by making your work harder and longer. Every tool has a low grade, middle grade and a professional grade. Higher grade tools will last longer and save you money in the long run. They can also be taken apart, sharpened and cleaned, while a low-grade tool is ...

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Great rewards in growing vegetables

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald Fall is a great time of year in South Florida as the final rains of October fall and nighttime temperatures drop low enough that you can plan your edible garden. Vegetable starts and seeds, as well as fresh herbs should all be close at hand as you get ready to plant your garden in early November. Vegetable gardening is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your garden. There is no greater return for your hard work than picking fresh ingredients for ...

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Hurricane preparation for your palm

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald How should we protect our palm trees when a hurricane is approaching? Palm trees gained popularity in southern Florida not because of their ability to endure storms but because of their grace and tropical beauty. Preparing them for high winds begins long before hurricane season. Hurricane-pruning, or removing almost all the leaves, is not an effective way of preparing your palm tree for a storm. In fact, hurricane pruning can be more detrimental than ...

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Crotons in the spotlight

Monday, April 29, 2013

Codiaeum variegatum 'Polychrome'. Croton lovers gathered at Flamingo Gardens in Davie on Sunday, where executive director Stan Wood led them through the croton collection and then gave them a peek at a collection around his home in the back of the property. The Croton Society disbanded two years ago, but from time to time, loyalists will suggest touring a garden that features their favorite shrub. Jeff Searle, of Searle Brothers Nursery in Southwest Ranches, not only loves palms but he's...

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