Schedule for 2019 - 2020
September 5th - Maria Meredith is organizing a trip to "Birds in Paradise Sanctuary and Rescue”. Rescuing and providing the best care to formerly abused and neglected parrots is vital. The Sanctuary fulfill their mission by providing a safe haven for abused or unwanted exotic birds (regardless of species, age, special needs or behavior issues), re-socializing and re-homing eligible companion parrots, and providing educational resources to the avian community. For additional information, go to: www.birdsinparadise.org.
The tour will be about 30-45 minutes to visit their facility for large bird aviaries, with a few smaller cages for Amazon parrots, cockatoos, conures, sun conures, love birds and parakeets. There are several peacocks; one has 5 babies, another is nesting a few eggs. Debbie Huckaby and her volunteers give great care for these birds. As this is a non-profit organization, a small personal donation would be appreciated. This tour makes you appreciate what’s involved in caring for these birds, especially when you know that a lot of them are given up as pets.
We will leave the UPCC car park about 9:00 am. This is a rural environment, everyone should wear enclosed walking shoes, very casual clothing, maybe some insect repellent. Following our visit we will head back to the highway for lunch at the Cracker Barrel before heading home.
October 3rd - Anita Flagg is organizing a trip to the Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg
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. Unwind as you stroll through meandering paths, lush with exotic plants from around the world. Explore cascading waterfalls, beautiful demonstration gardens, more than 50,000 tropical plants, and flowers. Following the guided tour at 10:30, the group will head down Beach St. to Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro at the marina for lunch. The entrance fee for the garden is $8. Please indicate if you are carpooling or driving on your own and if you will join us for lunch.
November 7th - Cindy Quick and Kathy Bondur are organizing a talk on mobility (tabletop) gardening with master gardeners.
On Thursday, November 7, 9:30 – 11:00 join us at the Manatee County Extension Services for a special presentation on creating your own personal Mobility Tabletop Garden. 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 has arranged for a special presentation by Master Gardener, John Dawson titled “Mobility Gardening- Gardening for Seniors and the Differently Abled”.
We will meet about 8:45 for carpooling at the UPCC car park to travel to the Extension Service facility in Palmetto. Following the program, lunch will be at Pier 22 in Brandenton along the Manatee River in their outside patio. Please indicated if you will be able to drive and will stay for lunch. Please bring water, sunblock, hat, etc. with you.
Part Two - December 13th 11:00 AM
Leading up to this special program, Cindy Quick with assistance of Kathy Bondur have teamed together to have a special Mobility Garden be designed and built by Paul Cuviello. This will be delivered to The Sheridan Assisted Living facility in LWR. A special presentation dedicated in honor of Carolyn Quick, our long-time UPWC member and former Garden Group Chair, for the residents of this facility will be held at a date to be determined. This is for the enjoyment for all the residents to continue the pleasure of gardening and the enjoyment of nature. A small donation would be appreciated to cover the cost of materials. So far, a $40 donation has been collected. Carpooling will be arranged.
January 9th - Daphne Nielson is organizing a trip to Sweet Bay Nursery. Sweet Bay Nursery is in Parrish, about 22 miles from UPCC so should take us about half an hour to get there. Tom Heitzman, the owner, is expecting us mid-morning for an in depth look at some excellent plants for your Florida friendly landscapes. He will give us a tour of the nursery and talk a bit about some different plans needs in terms of soil, amendments and sun/shade. There will be time for people to shop. On the way home, we'll stop at Woody's River Roo in Ellenton for lunch.
February 6th - Polly Curran is organizing a garden party with Hana Tsutsumi with a demo/workshop on centerpieces at the Art Café in the Venice Art Center
March 5th - Polly Curran is leading the group to Englewood Farmers' Market
April 2nd - Program Planning at the home of Maureen Hager
May 7th - Sue Wrenn and Jeanette Gatesy are organizing the annual boat cruise
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.
Mobility Gardening - November 7th, 2019
UPWC GARDENERS LEARN ABOUT MOBILITY TABLETOP GARDENING
- 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.
MAY 2ND GARDENERS CRUISE MANATEE RIVER
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.
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!