Six Years Later…

The educational garden at the Imaginarium in Fort Myers is looking better than ever. Most plants have adapted to the site and are growing well (thanks to the maintenance crew), and the signs are still bright with no signs of aging.

I’ve included a few photos from planting day in August, 2012 for contrast. It’s satisfying to see that a landscape does what it should: Increase in value to the client and the community.

Update and upgrades

Mimosa spreading and blooming.

Mimosa spreading and blooming.

Bulbine love full sun and handles drought.

Bulbine loves full sun and handles drought.

Cannas in full bloom.

Cannas in full bloom.

Proper maintenance makes all the difference. Thanks to EnSite and the staff at the Imaginarium, the gardens are filling in and blooming.

It’s great to see new lighting installed to enhance any night classes and improve security.

Fire Bush (Hamelia) is nearly ever blooming, tolerates wet conditions, and attracts butterflies.

Fire Bush (Hamelia) is nearly ever blooming, tolerates wet conditions, and attracts butterflies.

Next Steps?

East end looking West.

FNGLA Royal Palm Chapter had their September general membership meeting on the 11th to see the work done and discuss the next steps.
Ideas include building a small deck with planters, creating a cozy, back yard feel. Planters could be filled with herb and vegetable plants.

Looking Good After the Storm

I stopped by the garden to see how tropical storm Isaac affected the plants. Nothing blown over and plenty of water flowed from the downspouts but in Fort Myers we measured only three inches of rainfall for two days.

Brainstorming with Matt, Shelby and Tom we discussed new areas to install: possible container gardening and herbs/vegetables.

We are looking forward to having the next FNGLA meeting here on Tuesday, September 11th.

Settled In

Here are some photos of the finished garden.


Low volume, efficient irrigation (drip) system is installed on the Saw Palmettos and Cabbage Palms. These drought resistant native plants require supplemental water until they are established.

Kevin Natella with John Deere Landscaping connects a drip irrigation system before mulching.

Icing on the Cake

Mulch and sod are the most dramatic finishing touch to a landscape. We planted hundreds of ground covers, trees and shrubs. But after spreading mulch, the beds look complete. The plants seem rested and framed.

Dappled shade on red mulch. We used recycled vegetation to edge the walkways and cover the perimeter beds.

First thing this morning Triple J Sodding brought a variety of pallets of fresh sod.

Little things make a big difference. After laying the sod they rolled it, then blew off any debris.

Planting Day!

Yesterday we gathered plants from local growers and received deliveries of plants and pallets of soil and mulch. Then we laid plants out in preparation for planting.

Landscapers Choice delivers plants donated by Greenscapes of Naples.

Today volunteers arrived from all points: Three men from Greenscapes in Punta Gorda, Roberta Gerber and Pablo Gonzalez from Naples, Charlie and Joan Brown from Fort Myers brought family members vacationing from the Carolinas to help. Mike Sweeney from Fort Myers was followed by Cathy Atchley from Immokallee.

The temperature reached 98 with a heat index of 106. The soil was rocky and dense with palm roots. The bags of mulch were wet and heavy. Working through the difficulties, these people did an excellent job landscaping.

FNGLA Royal Palm President John Schwind, despite recovering from knee surgery last week, brought us a cooler full of ice and drinks.

The City of Fort Myers employees helped with moving soil, digging holes and spreading mulch.

Cathy arranges Flax Lilies before planting.

Landscape crew from Greenscapes installs a bed of Cordgrass.

Pablo Gonzalez and Roberta Gerber create a water filtration garden.

How Wet I Am

It rained nearly one inch today. Yesterday too. That’s plenty of water for established plantings. So, why put in irrigation? Two reasons: if the rains stop for three or four days, many plants can suffer in the summer. Long day length, high temperatures, and wind all contribute to massive water losses. Irrigation will compensate for those brief periods of drought. And, we can always expect the dry days of winter. November is historically our driest month, often raining less than three inches.

Let There Be Water

Thoughtful landscape design considers the water needs of all the plants. Thanks to members of the Florida Irrigation Society (John Deere Landscape, Mainscapes, King Landscaping, and Juniper Landscaping) for installing a new clock, several new zones, modern heads and micro-irrigation.