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Schedule for 2019 - 2020

October 1: Master Gardener guided walk Emerson Preserve organized by Polly Curran. This will be an educational program to identify various flora and fauna. Social distancing protocols will take place. Please wear your mask, bring a hat, camera, binoculars, sunblock and insect repellent. Those who are willing can carpool or come on your own. 

November 5: Spanish Point organized by Cindy Quick

January 7: Strawberry Research organized by Kathy Bondur

February 4: Bay Park Conservancy 

March 4: Garden Party organized by Maureen Hager and Kay Winsauer

April 1: Program Planning at the home of Connie Bennett

May 6: Siesta Dolphin Tours Cruise organized by Janette Gatesy and Sue Wrenn

Links to External Websites

Are you aware of which plants are invasive? These plants will spread like crazy, choking out your other plants, wandering into your neighbor’s yard, or providing fruit with seeds for birds to drop in other gardens. Don't let them into your garden - your neighbors will thank you! Click here for the complete list.

On January 4th, the group listened to a presentation of "Right Plant, Right Place" at the Manatee County Extension Services by Susan Griffin. She did an excellent job explaining which plants fit in to our Florida environment and which to avoid (see above link). Please click here to download the file which were used by Susan during her talk. 

On March 7th, Susan Griffith gave a talk on Pollinators and snowbird plants. You can read her presentation by clicking here

Click here to watch a YouTube video titled The Beauty of Pollination.

February 6th, 2020 - Garden Party

We had a very fine day at the Venice Art Center for our annual "Garden Party". Lunch at the ArtCaffe was delicious. We had a special space in their dining room so we could enjoy each others friendship and demonstration of Hana Tsutsumi - Japanese Flower Wrapping. We raffled 3 floower flower arrangements, one from the SIG Fairt the day before, one Hana Tsutsumi already created and the one that was demonstrated on the day. We also had a chance to view the art exhibit on display and to purchase something from thir gift shop. A few ladies found some lovely necklaces. 

January 9th, 2020 - Sweet Bay Nursery

The Gardeners had another successful event with the visit to the Sweet Bat Nursery lead by Daphne Nielsen followed by lunch at Woody's 'Roo. This native plant nursery is a must for enhancing your landscape or gardens; tell your friends and family to visit. This was one of our largest group activities, thank you Daphne!

December 13th, 2018 - Sheridan Assisted Living Facility

Our Mobility Tabletop Gardening project culminated in the final phase with a dedication of the purpose built tabletop garden to The Sheridan Assisted Living Facility in Carolyn Quick's name. Earlier in November Paul Cuviello provided the labor for the Mobility tabletop Garden; Garden Group funds provided the supplies. The Manatee County Extension Services, John Dawson, presented the Gardeners with a powerpoint presentation explaining its background, purpose and how it can be utilized by facilities such as The Sheridan or at an individual home. The garden table was delivered, Carolyn and Cindy purchased the materials and plants.

On December 13th, Carolyn and her husband, Ray, met us at the front entrance all dressed up, looking so nice. There were 8 Gardeners. We all went back to the garden table, well set away from the buildings near a nice table sitting area with plenty of trees in the background for shade.  The table was beautiful, Cindy and Carolyn did a wonderful job of planting, a section for flowers, for herbs and another for succulents. There were a number of residence that came down to have a look at what we were doing, all supporting Carolyn. Many said they were so happy to see some flowers, were hoping to help weed or pinch flowers.

We had a few gifts to give her; a few more donations for plants, fertilizer, etc. The smile on Carolyn face tells it all.

Above (from L to R): Carolyn Quick, Kathryn Lawrence, Polly Curran, Barbara Isaacs, Adrienne Wagner, Sue Wrenn, Kathy Bondur, Kay Winsauer, Judy McLeod

Left: Ray Quick with Polly and Carolyn

Mobility Gardening - November 7th, 2019


-       making gardening accessible for anyone.

On November 7th, the UPWC Garden Group met Susan Griffith and John Dawson at the Manatee County Extension Services to learn more about how to continue gardening using a special table designed just for gardening.  This is especially convenient for those who wish to garden while remaining upright, from a chair, no need to leave your lanai, and for those who are mobility challenged.  Susan Griffith, Coordinator for Florida Friendly Landscape Services  arranged for a special presentation by Master Gardener, John Dawson.  Using guidelines adapted from the University of Maryland, John explained details about types of raised gardens to produce fresh, flavorful greens and flowers close to your door.  This saves energy, effort and keeps you healthy and fit – in other words, Gardening  is the ultimate mind and body workout.

Following the presentation, we had a chance to see this type of garden in practice both for adults use and a children’s size as well.  The Manatee County extension services provides  bountiful knowledge to help you continue to garden for as long as you wish.  As part of this program, Paul Cuviello donated his time to create a tabletop garden for our UPWC Garden Group to donate to The Sheridan Assisted Living Facility in honor of Carolyn Quick, the Garden Group’s original Chair and leader.  We are thankful that Carolyn’s daughter, Cindy Quick, has led the way to facilitate the build and delivery to The Sheridan.  A dedication ceremony will be held in the near future.

Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg - October 3rd, 2019

On Thursday, October 3rd the Gardeners traveled to downtown St. Petersberg for a docent guided tour of Sunken Gardens. Sunken Gardens is a botanical paradise in the midst of a bustling city. As St. Petersburg's oldest living museum, this 100-year-old garden is home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. We divided into two groups with a personal docent to  stroll through meandering paths, lush with exotic plants from around the world exploring and learning about their beautiful habitat. We explored cascading waterfalls, beautiful demonstration gardens, more than 50,000 tropical plants, and flowers. The day was perfect, not too humid. We ended our adventure at Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro down by the Marina on Beach Street for some delicious Florida cuisine and enjoyed the friendship of so many returning gardeners. Anita Flagg did a wonderful job organizing our adventure.  ‘A good time was had by all.’

The UPWC Garden Group visited the "Birds in Paradise Sanctuary and Rescue” on Thursday, September 5th and were treated to a cacophony of tropical birds all trying to get our attention: some with words of  'hello', whistles, and one that sounded like a fog horn. Many are rescued from owners who can no longer care for them.  They are all very chatty and social. We saw a few peacocks but the males with the long beautiful feathers were elusive. We were able to give them a small donation ($145) in support of our educational visit. Its very pastoral 'old Florida' farmland and was nice to get out into the country. If it were not so humid and hot!

As Debbie Huckaby, Executive Director explained to the gardeners that day, their lease is nearly up, with an extension until March. They are trying to find a new home for their very large group of tropical birds. She is hoping with a little help from the media and getting the word out to the community that a benefactor will come forward to help. 


27 Gardeners gathered Thursday morning, May 2 to cruise  the Manatee River  and protected waters of the Tampa Bay estuary with Captain Tom and first mate, Ann aboard Riverside.  We cruised under the Green Bridge, heading East to an area of protected islands which have become haven and rookery for  many of Florida’s wading birds.  We saw wood storks, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, great blue heron, cormorants, anhingas.  On our return to dock, we were halted while one of Tropicana’s trains crossed the rail bridge (something that happens 4 times per day).  Lunch followed at the Reef & Grill.  It was a beautiful day for such an outing; however, as we prepared to head home, the black clouds of  thunderstorm gathered; and caught up with us on the way home.

10 photo(s) Updated on: 16 Oct 2019
  • 27 Gardeners gathered Thursday morning, May 2 to cruise the Manatee River and protected waters of the Tampa Bay estuary with Captain Tom and first mate Ann aboard Riverside.
  • We cruised under the Green Bridge, heading East to an area of protected islands which have become haven and rookery for many of Florida's wading birds.
  • We had lunch at the Reef and Grill.
  • Capt. Tom, Judy McLoed, and Ann on Riverside.
  • Count'em! 27
  • On our return to dock, we were halted while one of Tropicana's trains crossed the rail bridge (something that happens 4 times per day).
  • We saw great blue heron (above), wood storks, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, cormorants, anhingas.
  • Roseate spoonbill.
  • It was a beautiful day for our outing; however, as we prepared to head home, the black clouds of thunderstorm gathered; and caught up with us on the way home.

Palma Sola Botanical Gardens - March 7th, 2019

25 ladies had a terrific adventure at Mixon Fruit Farm on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019. The ladies had an informal and education tram tour on the ‘Orange Blossom’ followed by a delicious buffet lunch. Maria Meredith did a wonderful job organizing the group - thank you Maria!

A huge thank you to Sue Wrenn and Janette Gatesy for organizing a fabulous visit to Palmer Orchids on November 1st. The day started with lunch at the UPCC Grill room followed by a drive out to the beautiful nursery which is entirely devoted to orchids. Ashley Palmer gave a special presentation and tour of the nursery. She was so helpful and interesting, she clearly loves working with these stunning tropical flowers. There were a massive selection of orchids: Cattleya, Dendrobium, Aecidium, Vanda amongst others and the ladies came home with a few of their favorites!  ‚Äč

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