May 2017

May, 2017

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Next Meeting

When:  Monday, May 8, 2017 at 7:00p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Refreshments:   Phyllis & Ira Weiss
Badge Plant:     Sandy Sklar
Program:  - Fabulous Crotons of Florida, Their History, Care and Culture
                     Mark Peters

President: Pat Dempsey   Vice-president: Ed Whalen   Treasurer: Frances Drescher    Secretary: Petra Russell
Special Events and Refreshment Chair: Susan Roberts    Membership: Sandy Schlar   Newsletter: Johanna Kitson

May Program

Fabulous Crotons of Florida, Their History, Care and Culture
Mark Peters

Mark Peters has been a gardening enthusiast since his youth, and his entire professional life has been devoted exclusively to the garden world. After attending U CONN's esteemed Hort. Program, Mark began his career at White Flower Farm. Later, he held positions at Boston's historic Forest Hills Cemetery) during which he was an honorary member of the Mass. Hort. Society, The New York Botanical Garden, and McKee Botanical Garden. Most recently, having been totally seduced by the Croton's dazzling, colorful ornamental foliage and unstable nature, the former orchid aficionado established Peters Croton Nursery in Vero Beach.

As mass merchandisers and box stores become the main suppliers of plants for our gardens, the beautiful "heirloom" croton cultivars are fast disappearing. One cutting at a time, Peters is an ardent, hands on preservationist: dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the myriad distinctive old cultivars of these beautiful cheerful shrubs which so steadfastly graced Florida garden for decades.

Mark will give a Power Point program and give us informative handouts. The hallmark of his Cronton Program is a phenomenal display consisting of masses of Crotons so he can readily highlight examples of his talking points and the meticulous layout of individual leaf types to make their differences obvious. He will also demonstrate the art of air layering and will have plenty of plants to sell.

Ed Whalen, Program Chair

Talk About a Show and Tell

Last month’s meeting was quite a show – the members sure can grow begonias! Anytime a member has a lovely plant to show, please bring it to the meeting to share with us all.

Touring Gardens

Last month my husband and I just happened to be in the western Fort Lauderdale area and decided at the last minute to tour Flamingo Gardens. I was there as a ten-year old just a few years ago it seems. We used our Mounts Botanical membership cards to get in for free, as they are also a member of the reciprocal garden program.

The gardens were opened by the Wray family in 1927. And, back then they were WAY out west compared to development now. Houses and I-75 are close by so the vast countryside of yesteryear is long gone. There are many plant nurseries along Flamingo Road as well as a nursery right on site at the garden.

Flamingo Gardens contains the largest array of Champion Trees in the state. Even though they lost a few trees in the hurricanes of the last 20 years, there are still plenty of extremely tall and wide trees throughout the property. Both fruiting and flowering trees were showing off their wares last month. Many of these plants were cauliflorus trees and bushes, i.e., their blooms and fruits are produced on the thicker trunk areas rather than the branches. Some of these cauliflorus plants were the cannonball tree, the jaboticaba, the candlestick tree, the chocolate tree, jackfruit tree, and calabash tree, to name a few.

The property doesn’t just have enormous trees. Even today they are still growing 83 types of citrus trees on their 60 acres of land. I spotted a couple of begonias and many, many other flowering plants throughout the pathways. The flamingos are still there, of course, but the garden now includes some rescued Florida panthers, otters, Bald Eagles, owls, and even a couple of alligators. The aviary is large enough to walk through. It was absolutely a delight to have roseate spoonbills walk and perch so nearby. There is still a tram that takes you to the back of the property with this tour lasting about 30 minutes.


Raffle and Exchange Tables

The raffle and exchange tables will be back up and running in May. For the exchange table, bring a nice mature begonia or shade-loving plant if you have one to share. There will also be a few large begonias left over from the weekend sale to either purchase or win in the raffle.


President Patrick Dempsey called the meeting to order at 7:30pm.

Thanks to Lee Statkewicz for getting to the building by 5:00 p.m. to hold the room open for our meeting.

Treasurer’s report was given by Patrick reporting about $6,800.00 in the bank, Frances was not in attendance to confirm.

Refreshments : Patrick thanked everyone that brought refreshments.

Patrick reported we are going next Monday 4/10 to the Oleander Garden Club to give presentation on Begonias as this club have a interest in Begonias.

Convention in May in San Antonio, Johanna informed that next year they will be combining the convention with the South West region.

Upcoming event : Susan chairman of Special events passed around sign up sheets for volunteers for Mounts Botanical Garden Spring plant sale Saturday and Sunday April 29th and 30th. We have a booth and Susan advised we are in the same location as last year.

Patrick advised there is a good selection of Begonias at Johnny Mango and Smarty plants nurseries.

Patrick advised next month’s speaker is from Peter’s croton in Vero Beach.

This evening’s meeting main event is being judged by People’s choice.

Ed and Johanna talked about the kinds of flower pots that are recommended for judging purposes.

Patrick advised we would like to put in a order for panterra bowls flower pots.

Johanna went over the rules for judging this evening’s event and gave everyone a blank card to judge in different categories. There were some of the categories Favorite plant, Best in Show.

The judging event was well supported by all members, some even brought in many plants. We had a great time looking at all the plants entered for judging and also the creativity in putting these displays together, we are planning to do this event again in the future.

Respectfully submitted,
Petra Russell, Recording Secretary