News from the Gardens

July 12, 2020

Construction of a trellis in the Rose Garden at Lakes Park by volunteers.

Construction of the passion vine trellis in the Rose Garden at Lakes Park

 

During this pandemic I know that the Gardens have been a great source of peace and joy for many folks walking through it each day. They take the time to tell us how much they appreciate what we do. Can’t get much better than that! 

The high temperatures and total lack of rain makes for some interesting gardening. Who would ever think that we would be doing so much extra watering in JULY? We’ve been working hard to stay on top of the weeds and trimming. The lack of rain has helped to keep the weeds under control, somewhat. The guys leave looking like they jumped in the lake… (check out the photo above!)

VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES

Repair and Rehab – The trellis in the Rose Garden has been updated. Hopefully it will soon be covered with passion vines. Lady Margaret (with beautiful red flowers) was suffering, so she spent some time in Kathy’s plant rehab. She was recently replanted and has already started climbing the new trellis. The passion vines are host plants for the zebra longwing and Gulf fritillary butterflies. The other side will be planted with the Purple maypop (Passiflora incarnata) grown from cuttings from my Maypop.

 

Trellis in the gardens

This trellis will support passion vine, which is the host plant for some of the Heliconian butterflies

Trellis Expansion – The trellis in the back of the Fragrance Garden holding the Queen’s Wreath is enlarged to two trellis, almost like a tunnel. The plant is very heavy and needs to be supported so that it can be spread. It will be spectacular. 

 

Expansion of the trellis that supports the Queen's Wreath at the back of the Fragrance Garden the gardens

Expansion of the trellis that supports the Queen’s Wreath at the back of the Fragrance Garden

Botanical Labeling Project – For a long time, I’ve been looking for someone knowledgeable to update and correct the excel spreadsheet that lists the plants we have in the gardens. Paula stepped up to the plate and has agreed to tackle that job. She backed into that job when we began labeling the trees and plants. We discovered that many labels were either missing, incorrect or misspelled. I didn’t know some of the plants have been renamed or moved to different families. Paula creates the signs and I print and laminate them. 

Paula Novander

Plant Propagation R Us!

Volunteer Opportunities!

Help Wanted! These certainly are different times in the park. Gardening manpower is in short supply this summer. My A team is down to six regular volunteers, but they still accomplish so much. Extra hands are needed. If there are any registered Lee County volunteers who are interested in helping, then please meet us in the gardens from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays.

WHAT’S BLOOMIN’ (and growing!) in the Gardens

Flowers and Trees – The search continues to find a 15-gal Rainbow Eucalyptus for the Children’s Garden. Our very generous suppliers have been checking with their vendors but so far, no luck. 

The remainder of the Strangler Fig hanging over the fence in the Children’s Garden was recently removed for safety reasons. It was wrapped around a Gumbo Limbo and two Palm trees. The folks who used to park under its shade were probably not too happy.

This has been a banner year for all the Crepe Myrtle in the gardens. Many are blooming that have not bloomed in a long time. The Verawood trees are spectacular with their bright yellow flowers. Three grow in the newly planted group of trees in the back of the Fragrance Garden. 

Verawood tree in the Lakes Park Fragrance Garden

Verawood tree in the Lakes Park Fragrance Garden

 

Life Cycle of a Plant – Are your little learners all Zoomed out? Cooper the Caterpillar teaches “The Plant Life Cycle” on demand in the Children’s Garden! 

 

Cooper the Caterpillar and the Life Cycle of a Plant in the Children's Garden at Lakes Park

Cooper the Caterpillar and the Life Cycle of a Plant in the Children’s Garden at Lakes Park

 

Here are some living examples of a plant’s life cycle in the Botanic Garden: 

Blackberry lily (Iris domestica) in the gardens

Blackberry lily (Iris domestica)

 

Holywood Lignum Vitae growing in the Fragrance Garden at Lakes Park in the gardens

Holywood Lignum Vitae growing in the Fragrance Garden at Lakes Park

Verawood trees are making seeds

Verawood trees are making seeds in the gardens

COMMUNITY GARDEN HAPPENINGS

Plans for Growing Season – At the end of next month, the Community Garden will start growing vegetable seedings to sell to the gardeners when they return to planting in the fall.

Community Garden Bed Replacement Project – The Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation Board has approved the replacement of some of our garden beds. Built about 10 years ago, our harsh weather conditions here in Southwest Florida have taken a toll. We’re eager to see the beds replaced and functioning again. 

 

Wendi Carroll helped to build the original Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation garden beds circa 2010

LPEF Board member Wendi Carroll helped to build the original Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation garden beds circa ten years ago

 

New Community Garden Members – As the Southwest Florida growing season wound down, a number of beds became available prior to expiration of the annual rental period.  We activated the Community Garden Notification List and found new renters for these beds. Welcome Casey, John, Lea, Martha, Kelly, Jane, Leah, Dorothy, Joan, and Angela!  

 

Community Garden sign at Lakes Park in Fort Myers features a grapevine and cornucopia

The Community Garden at Lakes Park

 

JOIN THE NOTIFICATION LIST – Read about how Community Garden Notification List works. Sign up to be notified when garden beds become available.  CLICK HERE to learn more.  

Reported by Kathy Busick, with contributions by Erin White