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June 2020 The Gardens Gate Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens

The Gardens Through The Eyes Of Cynthia Bustin


How Dirt Makes You Happy


Out & About at The Gardens


20 Shade-Tolerant Plants to Grow in Your Garden This Summer


2410 SE Westmoreland Blvd. Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 Phone: 772.337.1959 Fax: 772.237.5952 E-mail: info@pslbg.org Web: www.pslbg.org Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm Sunday Noon - 4pm Closed Monday, Tuesday & Some Holidays PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE GARDENS Suggested Donations: Adults $5 Students $2 Children 12 & Under Welcome Free for FPSLBG Members and Active Military with family (IDs required)

Mission Statement... Friends’ mission is to create and maintain a beautiful, serene sanctuary in the center of Port St. Lucie that is environmentally sound and naturally diverse and to provide educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for all who visit.

Officers & Directors... President: Vice President: Secretary: Treasurer: Directors:

Michelle Peterson Heather Furnari Claire Clark Brenda Gustafson Jeff Chambers John Erickson Dale Johnson Laura Mehr Judy Nash-Wade Mary Petrone Tim Sutton

Standing Committee Chairs... Election Committee:

Stephanie Alessandrini-Giarraffa Brenda Gustafson Claire Clark Brenda Gustafson

Finance Committee: Gift Shop Committee: Horticulture Committee: Membership & Volunteer Committee: Judy Nash-Wade Resource Development Committee: Heather Furnari Strategic Planning Committee: Michelle Peterson

Newsletter... Editor & Design:

Mark Barnes

The Gardens is managed and operated by Friends of the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity organization, that was founded to help support the daily operations of The Gardens. Friends volunteers provide hands-on daily oversight of the facility, including staffing to handle the many visitors year round. Please consider becoming a member of Friends. Friends' is a 100% volunteer organization. In all cases, donations are deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Warm Weather Greetings! Who would have imagined three months ago that “normal” would include masks, gloves, forehead thermometers, sneeze guards, social distancing, and virtual gatherings? Whew! I write this message after attending a ZOOM and livestreamed (yes, we had an option) two-day internet educational conference, complete with breakout sessions and multiple instructors – a first for me! I’m sure many of you too have been faced with a number of firsts, some good and some extremely trying. We’ve all faced so many challenges within our community, and we continue to shift and adapt. At the Gardens, that means a new definition of “business as usual.” As always, our Botanical Gardens remains open to visitors in groups of ten or less, and intimate weddings and celebrations are once again being held. Our Garden Center has reopened with limited days and hours – from Thursday to Saturday, 10 am to 1 pm. Unfortunately, our Welcome Center, Gift Shop and Office continue to remain closed at this time. To stay updated on our building reopening, please continue to visit our website at www.plsbg.org. To end on a happy note, we have some exciting news to report. The Botanical Gardens are the recipients of the 2020-21 Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration grant from the Florida Wildflower Foundation. We will receive $3,000 to be allocated to the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens’ Native Plant Garden for project-specific expenses, and this amount will be matched by the in-kind donation of volunteer hours. Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration grants bring native beauty to parks, nature centers and other public spaces. These grants provide funds with which to purchase Florida native wildflowers and plants for public projects that showcase the beauty of Florida natives while demonstrating their uses. The goal of the program is to educate the general public about the role of native wildflowers and plants in supporting native pollinators, decreasing air and water pollution, providing wildlife habitat, and in general, creating a better environment for all Floridians. We ask you to “pardon our dust” this summer, as we rototill and solarize a portion of the Native Plant Garden in preparation for a little facelift, and a lot of new plants and educational signage. And a big “thank you” to all of you who paid for The State Wildflower license plate. Your generosity and support of native wildflowers and wildlife help to raise money for Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration grants as well as other vital programs. As always, be well and stay safe!

Happy Gardening! Michelle Peterson, President


Click Here For The Current Calendar Listings


Open T hursday thr u S at u r d a y • 1 0 a m t o 1 p m



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A big THANK YOU to the family of the late Dorothy (Dotty) McFadden - children Steven, Wendy, Bonnie and Wayne, who donated more than 20 orchids to the gardens, along with a beautiful cement waterfall, over 100 clay pots and many other gardening tools and orchid paraphernalia. Their kind and generous donation is much appreciated and will be put to good use for some time to come in the garden center. A big THANK YOU also goes out to John and Debra Bickunas for their donation of Ylang Ylang tree seeds. We can’t wait to start growing and propagating these.


We are currently booking Wedding Ceremonies for 10 guests and under. These dates are being booked fast. Email Heather or Melinda at events@pslbg.org NOW to reserve your date! As we are in changing times, we will be evolving along with them due to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 Protocol recommendations are in place and required for ALL events. Thank You. 8




VOLUNTEERS Helping To Make Our Gardens Grow

Plants for Sale will be available every Thursday Thru Saturday from 10am - 1pm Credit and Debit Cards will be accepted. We hope you will visit our Gardens and enjoy a leisurely and therapeutic walk through your own “personal paradise” and on your way stop by our Garden Center for a few plants that will only increase your desire for the nature around you in these times of stress. We have many plants available at reasonable prices WISH LIST that will help the gardens maintain our volunteer Mint to Good Condition only garden. Donations of healthy plants and pots  Clay pots  Ceramic planters are especially appreciated.  Yard Art


Antidepressant Microbes In Soil:

How Dirt Makes You Happy

Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt makes you happy.

Natural remedies have been around for untold centuries. These natural remedies included cures for almost any physical ailment as well as mental and emotional afflictions. Ancient healers may not have known why something worked but simply that it did. Modern scientists have unraveled the why of many medicinal plants and practices but only recently are they finding remedies that were previously unknown and yet, still a part of the natural life cycle. Soil microbes and human health now have a positive link which has been studied and found to be verifiable. Soil Microbes and Human Health Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.

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Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt. Most avid gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place” and the actual physical act of gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. The fact that there is some science behind it adds additional credibility to these garden addicts’ claims. The presence of a soil bacteria antidepressant is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon ourselves. Backing it up with science is fascinating, but not shocking, to the happy gardener. Mycobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis. How Dirt Makes You Happy Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats, and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration on tasks than a control group. Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt and improve your mood and your life. Resources:  “Identification of an Immune-Responsive Mesolimbocortical Serotonergic System: Potential Role in Regulation of Emotional Behavior,” by Christopher Lowry et al., published online on March 28, 2007 in Neuroscience. http://www.sage.edu/newsevents/news/?story_id=240785 [1]  Mind & Brain/Depression and Happiness – Raw Data “Is Dirt the New Prozac?” by Josie Glausiusz, Discover Magazine, July 2007 Issue. https:// discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/raw-data-is-dirt-the-new-prozac [2]  Article printed from Gardening Know How: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com  URL to article: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/ antidepressant-microbes-soil.htm. 14


Drive-Thru Plant Sale Station 1 & 2 Volunteers Heather Furnari, Michelle Peterson & Cynthia Bustin

Laura Mehr Delivering Plants

Drive-Thru Plant Sale Station 3 Volunteers Dale Johnson, Ben Woodruf, Laura Mehr and John Erickson.

Station 3 Plant Pick-up

Drive-Thru Plant Sale Station 1 & 2 Volunteers Stephen Bustin, Heather Furnari & Cynthia Bustin

Ben Woodruff working the propagation tables


Butterfly Garden Time with Phyllis & ???

WPTV Meterologist Kahtia Hall & Team filming promos in the Gardens

WPTV Meterologist Kahtia Hall & Team filming promos in the Gardens

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We have availability in the Gift Shop, Welcome Center, Propagation, Garden Maintenance, Event Planning

for a selection of fine gifts and those one of a kind items.


Volunteer Orientation ** Dates Will Be Announced Soon ** Learn about volunteering at the Gardens, meet other volunteers and offer Suggestions. Prospective and current volunteers welcome!


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20 Shade-Tolerant Plants to Grow in Your Garden This Summer With a rise in people wanting to become more sustainable, finding places to grow things can be tricky. That’s why you’re going to be shocked to discover that there are over 20 shade tolerant plants that you can grow in areas of the garden that you normally thought couldn’t be utilized. These edible shade-tolerant plants include things like root vegetables, leafy greens, herbs, and mushrooms! They all need just 4-6 hours of sun a day, or less!

Understanding Sun Exposure All plants require sunlight to grow, but some plants don’t need as much as others. Tomatoes, for example, require full sunlight during the day, meaning they shouldn’t be planted in an area that only receives sun for half a day. Most labels found on plants, or even seed packets will let you know how much sun a plant needs to grow. You’ll often find these described as follows: 

Full sun: plants that need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm. In northern climates where the sun is weaker, plants may require up to 8 hours of sunlight each day.

Part sun: plants that thrive with only 3-6 hours of direct sunlight every day between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm. In northern climates where the sun is weaker, plants may require up to 5-8 hours of sunlight each day.

Part shade: plants that need around 3-6 hours of sun per day, but need protection from the intense midday sun. These plants do well when they receive filtered or dappled sunlight all day. Dappled means that light gets filtered through another plant, such as the leaves of a tree.

Full shade: plants that require less than 3 hours of direct sunlight per day. Some descriptions claim that full shade means complete darkness – for the purposes of this article, I am using the description as lessthan 3 hours of direct sunlight. This could mean an east-facing side of the house could have a garden along its edge, as long as you planted full shade-tolerant plants.

Planning your Garden Planning your garden before you actually plant is it the best way to ensure you get decent crop yields. Creating microclimates – small areas of your garden that have different climates from the area around it – is a great way to suit the needs of specific crops that may otherwise struggle without your help. A section of your yard that is partially shaded will be different than an area that receives full shade or full sun. Partially shaded areas may be a great area to extend crops that may otherwise go to bolt and turn bitter in direct sun, and as temperatures rise (like leafy greens). Planting your fall garden under the dappled sunlight provided by the trees in summer will provide them with extra sunlight in the fall when the leaves shed. Cooler temperatures and extra sunshine might just be enough to enhance growth for your autumn crop. When planting a garden, it is also important to think about companion planting, which is the planting of different crops in proximity to naturally control pests, improve pollination, maximize the use of space and increase crop productivity.

20 Shade-Tolerant Plants 24

Without further adieu, here is a list of shade-tolerant plants that grow well in most of North America!

1. Spinach Almost all lettuce plants prefer less sun, and that includes spinach, too! Plant them in cooler, shadier areas of your garden, aiming for around 3-4 hours of sun per day. Spinach is an early bolter and is best grown both early and late in the season. The heat of mid-summer often makes the leaves too bitter and goes to bolt quite quickly.

2. Bok Choy Asian greens like bok choy, tatsoi, and komatsuna will grow very well with just a couple hours of sun per day. Plus, they taste incredible and add a beautiful twist on any salad. Bok choy can actually be planted in late summer as other areas of the garden become freed up. They are frosthardy, so they continue to grow after cold weather hits. Planting it in areas that don’t receive full sun is wise, as this plant is prone to bolting in the hot summer sun. Alternatively, you could plant bok choy early spring/summer, and again towards the end of summer when temperatures are generally cooler.

3. Broccoli Too much sun on your broccoli will make it flower at a much faster rate, which can spoil the taste. These plants do not tolerate full, direct sun very well. Partial sun (around 4 and no more than 6 hours per day) will allow the heads to remain tight and will slow flowering. Broccoli prefers cool weather and will tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It is actually one of the few vegetables that grow well in partial shade. You can technically plant broccoli in full sun, but you would have to time your planting well so that the heads don’t mature until later in summer once the heat has died down a bit.

4. Cauliflower Similar to broccoli, too much sun will make this cruciferous veggie not taste the greatest. Limiting sunlight to under 6 hours per day will ensure tighter heads and better flavor. Cauliflower craves cooler weather and will grow well in partial shade. Planting in full sun is possible, but you risk having the plant bolting before you have the chance to harvest any edible matter. If you do choose to plant full-sun, make sure you time it so that the plant matures once the heat of the summer has passed.

5. Swiss Chard This leafy green doesn’t enjoy a lot of sunlight, like most leafy greens. It is a bit more tolerant of heat than other leafy greens (like spinach), but when planted in direct light, the plant may bolt, turn bitter and become inedible. If you have a partially shaded area of the garden, swiss chard will grow quite well. Be sure to plant them in an area that receives less than 4 hours of sunlight per day. If you live in a Northern climate, sow from early spring to midsummer for a fall crop; in the South sow in fall to spring.

6. Leeks/Scallions Leeks thrive in cooler, moist environments. Plots that get morning sun and afternoon shade are a great area to grow leeks. They need some sun, but not a lot. Planting in partial shade will get that pure white stalk to pop up much faster than when planted in full sun. The white stalk must be shielded from the sun so that it blanches. The ideal temperature for leeks is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They can even tolerate light frost. You never want the plant to freeze, however, so make sure to cover if you anticipate heavy frost.

7. Radishes Radishes, like most root plants, need more root growth and less foliage growth to ensure larger harvest and tastier produce. Too much sun will provide larger foliage and less root, which is counterproductive because the root is the part you eat! While radishes do require around 4-6 hours of full sun per day, they are tolerant of some shade. Radishes prefer cooler weather, so shady areas could very well satisfy their growing needs. Planting in a shaded area might mean that you could have radishes on hand all summer long. As they’re not very tolerant of mid-summer heat, planting them in the shade would give them the cooler temperatures they need to thrive.

8. Mushrooms Most people already know this about mushrooms, but they don’t like a lot of sunlight. Mushroom growing is an art in and of itself, and they really prefer dark, cooler, moist areas to grow! Making mushroom beds to grow your own mushrooms outdoors is easy, and doesn’t require any special tools or technology. You will need to purchase some mushroom spores online first, and then get your medium ready. You can usually grow mushrooms in a patch of straw or surrounded by peat moss. Mushrooms thrive in cool dark places, so the shadiest parts of your garden that receive almost no sun during the day would be the perfect place to grow. Some varieties of mushrooms like Oyster Continued on Pg26


mushrooms only need a simple sprinkle on the soil to get growing in just a few weeks!

9. Arugula Another shade-tolerant plant, arugula, thrives in areas that are less sunny. Too much sun will droop and shrivel the leaves, and who wants a limp salad? Choose an area of the garden that receives morning sun, but doesn’t receive as much sun later in the afternoon. This will prevent bolting and bitterness. Arugula can also be planted underneath other larger plants that require the sun to grow. What I love about arugula is that it sprouts very quickly, so you can have a salad in under a few weeks. Sowing new seeds continuously every 2-3 weeks will ensure you have enough arugula to last you an entire growing season!

10. Garlic Garlic will mature with just under 4 hours of sunlight per day. For large bulbs, garlic is suggested to be planted in full sun, but the plant will also mature in partial shade. Plant garlic as soon as the ground can be worked in early spring. You will have to buy ‘seed garlic’ at a nursery, or you can plant gloves of organic garlic from the grocery store that have gone to sprout. If you do plant in a partially shaded area, do not water excessively, as the cloves may rot. Shaded areas don’t need to be watered as vigorously, as the soil doesn’t dry out as fast. As your garlic starts to mature in early fall, you can plant a second crop for harvest the following spring.

11. Cabbage Cabbage can be grown in full sun or partial sun. When grown in full sun, there is a bigger risk of pests who thrive in full heat. This is why I would suggest planting cabbage in partial sun. While more sun will ensure your cabbage remains tight and compact, I have had much success growing my own cabbages in partial sun (with heads that were tight and compact). If you plant cabbage in early spring, sow seeds in the soil directly. I usually start my seeds indoors and then slowly acclimate the sprouts to the outdoor elements before transplanting. Always transplant on a cloudy, cool day to prevent transplant shock.

12. Parsley All herbs are fond of shaded areas. Parsley will produce leaves that are bigger and more flavourful if you keep it in an area that receives little sunlight. Parsley is cold hardy, and can even be harvested for much of winter! I’ve personally done this myself. It is very frost-tolerant. For these reasons, parsley is also great at growing places where sunshine is slim. In hot, humid climates, growing in the shade is especially important. In fact, in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, parsley plants can die. I always grow my parsley in areas that only get around 3 hours of sunlight per day, and it thrives. The flavor is also incredible. Nothing like fresh grown parsley.

13. Cilantro Cilantro, or coriander, like most herbs, prefer less sunlight. It will help keep the plant smaller, and larger-leafed, which means a bigger harvest and more flavor. If planted in direct sun, cilantro will be quick to bolt, especially as you near closer to mid-summer. If you want cilantro all summer long, you can plant it in areas that get partial sun, or plant early spring in full sun, and late summer in full sun. Another tip: cilantro likes well-drained, moist soil. Soil that is on the sandy side will work well for cilantro. Combined with a little mulching, you’ll create the perfect microenvironment for this herb to thrive.

14. Carrots Carrots love the shade – allowing them to grow with under 4 hours of sun per day will encourage more root growth and less foliage growth (which, when planted in full sun, will encourage the opposite). As a cool-season vegetable, carrots prefer temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes partially shaded areas of the garden a great place to grow carrots.

15. Mustard Greens Mustard greens will grow well in the sun or partial shade. They prefer cooler weather and will bolt in direct sunlight. If you’re planting in partial shade, you don’t have to plan how or when you’ll grow your mustard greens. However, if you want to plant in areas with direct sun, you’ll want to grow an early spring crop, and then plant a later crop towards the end of summer to avoid the harsh mid-summer heat.

16. Potatoes Who doesn’t love fresh garden potatoes? Potatoes do well in full sun or partial shade. If grown in partial shade, they might take a little longer to mature, but if you have the space (and the shade), then why not make use of the space by growing more edible plants? If you don’t want to wait for your potatoes to mature, you could always harvest when they are younger. You know those baby potatoes you see in stores? That’s what I’m talking about! 10/12 Planting in the shade will also prevent sunburn on potatoes, which causes them to turn green and produce a toxin


called solanine. This toxin can make you very ill, and if eaten in large quantities, may even be fatal.

17. Kale Just like cabbage, its close cousin, kale doesn’t like a lot of sun. It prefers cold weather and less sunlight! I always grow successful kale, collard, and cabbage patches along the east side of my house, which only receives morning sun. The plants grow absolutely massive and thrive. My favorite thing about kale is that it is very cold-hardy. You can harvest kale well into the winter months, even after it has snowed. The cooler the temperatures are, the sweeter the kale will become, too. Leaving your kale until after the first frost will make it taste considerably sweeter.

18. Beets Beets should not be grown in full shade. They need at least a half-day of full sun or partial shade throughout the day. If beets are grown in partial shade, their greens will be more abundant, with smaller roots. But who doesn’t love baby beets? They’re sweeter, tender, and are great when roasted. Beet greens are incredibly nutritious, too, and can be chopped up and added to salads, or to fresh pots of borscht.

19. Lettuce Almost all leaf lettuce prefers less sun during the day. As lettuce tends to bolt when the heat comes on, it is always best to plant in an area that is out of direct sunlight during the heat of the day. The cool thing about lettuce is that if you simply cut away what you need instead of ripping up the whole plant, new leaves will sprout up from where you once cut. This means that you don’t need to replant your greens, and can instead harvest all summer long.

20. Turnips Turnips can be grown in full sun or partial shade. They can get by on as little as 4-5 hours of sunlight per day. Keep in mind that if they receive less sunlight, then they will grow a bit slower and take a bit longer to mature and reach full size. You can harvest turnips before they reach full size, too! Just like harvesting baby potatoes, carrots, and beets, baby turnips can also be harvested while they are still small and sweet. You can also harvest turnip greens while you’re waiting for their roots to fill out. They’re highly nutritious and can be added to salads, soups, and stews.

Tips for Growing in The Shade As with any gardening, what you put into the soil will provide you with what you get out of it. If your soil is stripped dry (aka. no mulching), the number of nutrients in the food you’re eating will be greatly reduced. So my first suggestion to anyone starting a garden, or to those who want to maximize yield and flavor of their crop: start mulching!

Mulch: using an organic straw to cover your soil has multiple benefits. First, it helps reduce the number of weeds, as weeds can’t grow with no access to sunlight. Second, mulching helps retain moisture, so you don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money watering in the dry season. Third, mulching reduces soil erosion and ensures your produce (like leafy greens) don’t get splashed by soil during watering (so less clean-up time when you want to eat your produce!). Mulching also maintains soil nutrients, controls pests, and encourages earthworms to move it.

Compost: if you have a compost – put it to good use! All those nutrients could be feeding your plants instead of sitting around. Adding compost to your garden is a great way to increase crop yield, as well as boost the flavor of many plants.

Use Good Soil: using good soil, especially in areas that don’t receive much sunlight, is a great way to ensure the growing success of your plants. Opt for organic soils or nutrient-dense soils like Sea Soil.

Maturation Times: vegetables that prefer more sunlight but are able to grow in the shade might grow slower. These plants might take a bit longer to mature than what is stated on the plant label or seed package. Don’t be discouraged, though! They will still mature, just at a slower speed.

The Bottom Line Growing a garden can be rewarding, especially when you make use of spaces that you previously thought wouldn’t be worth it. The truth is, many plants can grow in partial to full shade, you just need to plan out your garden ahead of time to get a good idea of where everything will be going. Keeping in mind companion planting, mulching, composting and utilizing good soil will all ensure your shade tolerant plants grow to their full expression for you to enjoy at the time of harvest. This article can be found online at: https://livelovefruit.com/20-shade-tolerant-plants-grow-garden-summer/? fbclid=IwAR00Nq0iMUHCop7OK_HQMmmlBLLUSQIBUyKYu7aYPpQ_xvpTDcHwAefh90k



Profile for Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens

The Gardens Gate - June 2020  

The Gardens Gate chronicles the events, volunteers and visitors to the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Featuri...

The Gardens Gate - June 2020  

The Gardens Gate chronicles the events, volunteers and visitors to the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Featuri...

Profile for pslbg

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