[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]
Shari Clark, President of Florida Bat Conservancy gave an illustrated and fascinating talk on bats. What amazing creatures they are! She brought a live bat for everyone to meet and corrected a lot of myths surrounding bats during her talk. How wonderful it would be to have bat boxes in Celebration instead of constant spraying with pesticides. Many communities throughout Florida have achieved this with Shari’s help.
[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]
Robert Hartman, CEO of Classic Caladiums gave an excellent illustrated talk on the care and propagation of caladiums. He gave every member a wonderful specimen plant to take home. Robert has created and patented more varieties of caladiums in the past 5 years than the entire industry in the past 150 years. The variety of color and leaf shape is amazing.
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!
Sixty Garden Club members enjoyed a buffet picnic lunch at Artisan Park Club house. The food was great and Sylvia and Beverley created a wonderful punch. Patti and Rita had created lovely tablescapes and great centrepieces which were raffled during the luncheon. Each person received a painted pot containing a marigold or an ageratum. Before the luncheon Tricia presented a check for $1000 to our scholarship recipient, Maya Lanzone. Maya plans to study veterinary science at either University of Texas or University of Florida. She was delighted to accept the award.
We had two speakers to talk about what we could and could not bring into the United States when we travel. The Don’t Pack a Pest program has been running for several years at the main points of entry for horticultural products in Florida and California. Our speakers were Holly Hughes, Social Media Coordinator, Division of Plant Industry at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Eunett R James-Mack, Florida Agriculture Liaison with the Agriculture Oversight and Engagement/Agriculture Programs and Trade Liaison Office of Field Operations/US Customs and Border Protection. The talk was informative and entertaining.
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.