Twenty-one Garden Club members enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage at the Old Sugar Mill, De Leon Springs. We sat around hot plates and created our own pancakes, filling them with banana, blueberries or chocolate chips and then smothering them with maple syrup. After breakfast, we all embarked on a wonderful boat tour with a very informative guide. We saw various sizes of alligators, osprey, kingfishers, and lots of other wading birds. The guide told us about the history of the area and the inhabitants of the island. It was an excellent tour.
[cmsms_row][cmsms_column data_width=”1/1″][cmsms_text] Twenty Garden Club members enjoyed a buggy ride through Disney Wildlife Preserve near Poinciana. Our guide gave us amazing facts about the burn policy to protect the environment and the different stages of growth of the various plants. This was a 1.5hr conducted tour through the Preserve. Our guide Cody illustrated the benefits of controlled burns which occur every three years cyclically throughout the area. She detailed the wildlife in the Preserve, it was a fascinating tour. Unfortunately, towards the end it poured with rain, but we were able to shelter and eat our lunch in their teaching rooms. [/cmsms_text][/cmsms_column][/cmsms_row]
[cmsms_row][cmsms_column data_width=”1/1″][cmsms_text] Following our talk from Robert, ten Garden Club members visited Classic Caladiums farm near Bradenton. We toured the fields in a buggy and had an informative talk from a member of staff. We were then asked to rate 15 new varieties of Caladium which the company are trialling. It was interesting to learn how new varieties are chosen and named. They are also growing cannas, and it was interesting to see one stem bearing flowers of two different colors. [/cmsms_text][/cmsms_column][/cmsms_row]
Eight Garden Club members visited Smiley Orchids in Clermont. Smiley is from Thailand and specialises in rare scented which she imports from Thailand and propagates. It was a fascinating nursery with orchids smelling of chocolate, banana, vanilla, coconut, pineapple and other scents. We then had lunch at Ovation Bistro in Posner Park, great food and great company!
Ten Garden Club members visited five gardens on the annual Lakes and Hills Garden Club tour. This tour celebrated 70 years of the Club. The gardens were varied, colourful and interesting in a variety of locations in Mount Dora. We then had lunch at The Goblin restaurant in Mount Dora, always a favourite.
Fourteen intrepid Garden Club members made the journey to Sarasota to visit Marie Selby Botanical gardens. We had a guided tour of the 15 acre botanical garden located in the grounds of the former home of Marie and William Selby of the Texaco Oil Company. The gardens contain banyans, bamboo, mangroves, succulents, cycads, bromeliads, a butterfly garden, dry garden, edible garden and a koi pond on a site bordering Sarasota Bay. It was a fascinating tour and we enjoyed a lovely lunch together in a restaurant on St Armands Circle.
A group of 24 Garden Club members travelled to Lakeland, we enjoyed lunch at Frescos in Lakeland and had a conducted tour of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. There are 13 buildings at Florida Southern College, the largest collection of his buildings in one location. It was a two and a half hour tour and the guide was incredible, full of facts and anecdotes about the buildings and the architect himself. We toured inside some of the buildings and marvelled at the architect’s vision.
A group of Garden Club members travelled to Brevard Zoo and toured the various enclosures. This 75 acre zoo opened in 1994 and has over 900 animals. Our very own Lorna helped get this zoo started and so it has a special place in her heart.
A group of twenty three Garden Club members drove to Deseret Citrus and Cattle Ranch for a tour. It is run by the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints and our guide gave us a wonderful conducted bus tour of the ranch. We saw where the cowhands live and work and some of the 44,000 cattle that are raised on the ranch. We then drove to Cobblestone Courtyard restaurant in St Cloud for an excellent soup and sandwich lunch. The chicken soup was really special!
Sixteen Garden Club members spent the morning pruning, weeding and tidying in the butterfly garden at Give Kids the World. After the re-planting that took place earlier this year, the garden is looking really good and is home to several varieties of butterfly. But several plants had become overgrown and needed trimming back and of course the weeds are relentless. Master Gardener Lorna Sauter organised the morning’s efforts and a lot was achieved.