The Gardens Gate – June 2021

Page 1

The June 2021 Gardens Gate Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens

The Gardens Through The Eyes Of Laura Mehr


Board Member and Volunteer Spotlights

Garden Center, Pavilion & Gift Shop Hours:

Photos from our Guests

Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10am - 4pm Sunday 12pm - 4pm

Join us for the Taste of the Tropics Plant & Craft Sale




2410 SE Westmoreland Boulevard Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 Phone: 772.337.1959 • Fax: 772.237.5952 E-mail: Web:

Garden Center, Pavilion & Gift Shop Hours: Thursday - Saturday 10:00am - 4:00pm Sunday 12:00pm - 4:00pm Gardens Hours: 8:00am- 5:30pm 7-days a week PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE GARDENS SKATES, BOARDS & BICYCLES ARE NOT PERMITTED ON THE WALKWAYS 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:

Jeff Chambers Heather Furnari Mary Petrone Brenda Gustafson Mark A. Barnes Valerie Davis-Bailey John Erickson Laura Mehr Judy Nash-Wade Arthur Pearlstein Tim Sutton

Standing Committee Chairs... Election Committee:

Stephanie Alessandrini-Giarraffa Brenda Gustafson Laura Mehr Brenda Gustafson

Finance Committee: Gift Shop Committee: Horticulture Committee: Membership & Volunteer Committee: Mark A. Barnes Resource Development Committee: Heather Furnari Strategic Planning Committee: Arthur Pearlstein

Newsletter... Editor & Design:


Mark A. 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.

Dear Friends, I would like to welcome back some of our veteran volunteers and extend a warm welcome to all the new folks who have joined the “family” here at the Botanical Gardens. You should all be proud of the amazing work you do day after day. When I tell people that we are all volunteers, they are amazed at the dedication you all have and the professional way you conduct yourselves and the level of skill that is demonstrated by the upkeep of the grounds. For those of you who have not noticed, we have new furniture around the Pavilion, new lights on the promenade and a new art installation placed facing Westmoreland. By the time this newsletter comes out you should also see the new design of the lakeside promenade landscape area. In addition to all of this, we now have WiFi in the gardens. A big thank you to everyone involved. Our next event will be the Taste of the Tropics on June 12th. The Rare Fruit Club does an incredible job of showcasing exotic and local fruits to see and more importantly to taste! It is sure to be a day of fun for all ages. Your Board of Directors are always looking to hear from you with ideas, thoughts or concerns. Please feel free to speak with any of us at your convenience. And with that I’ll leave you with this: “Why did the farmer leave a tomato to his grandchild? Because it was an heirloom!”

Jeff Chambers,


Friends of the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens


What’s Going on at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens in




Continued on Pg8


Promenade (Bulkhead) Patio Garden Redesign

Thanks to Stu and his crew from Nature’s Keeper for all their hard work with the installation. Great job!


Brenda Gustafson & Laura Mehr, Landscape Committee overseeing project. Thanks to Laura and Tim Sutton for heading up this project.

Laura with Jesse from Nature’s Keeper.

FREE BROMELIAD with Plant Purchase • Come see our NEW selection of Succulents

daily DEALS



Open Thurs, Fri, Sat. 10AM-4PM Sunday 12PM-4PM

Grab a bargain everyday!

at our CLEARANCE Table $1, $2, & $3 Plants





The Gardens The Gardens need donations of the following items in mint to good condition. • • • • • •


1-Gallon Plastic Pots Clay pots Ceramic Planters Yard Art Copy Paper Plants to Propagate

• • • •

Home Improvements Gift Cards Spray Nozzles TLC Garden Tools Volunteers New Members


All board members started off as volunteers. So, why did you choose to volunteer at PSLBG? I have felt that I have been blessed in life and gardening has always been a part of my life. I believe everyone has an obligation to give back, to make their community a better place. What made you want to become a director? What are your goals? I never planned on being a director. I have always been in upper management and being behind the scenes was where I wanted to stay in this stage of my life. I was asked to fill in a one year position and, well here I am today.

touch base with as many volunteers as I can and thank them for their time and hard work. Who was the most instrumental person who influenced your love of gardening? I guess I have to say my Mother. She had a collection of Iris and dahlia bulbs that I had to help her with. Taking something out of a brown paper bag in the spring that looked like it was dead and then seeing what a beauty it became was kind of magical. What’s your favorite tree or plant, and why? A Moringa Tree. Every part of it is useful, even the root system can filter water!

My goals at this stage is to see the Gardens develop into a major destination point for the City, which it is close to now, and to see a docent program in place and have more educational on hands classes and a series of speaker events.

Outside of the Gardens, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

What do you find most rewarding about being on the board?

Tell us a little bit about your family

I find it rewarding when I can get everyone to agree on a project and see it happen. Working with the City to get their help in projects and showing how with a strong partnership, anything is possible is a great feeling. What do you like to do when you’re at the Gardens? My favorite thing to do is walk around the Gardens and just talk to people. Hear their concerns if any and just get feedback. I like to 14

I like to go to junk stores, antique stores...I like working out in my yard and I really like being in my pool.

I have no immediate sister died 6 years ago and we were very close. She did leave behind 4 boys so I am in touch with them somewhat. I do have people I consider family that are not blood related, especially my adopted sister Gay Carroll. Tell us something about you that’s interesting, or that not many people know. I used to be a youth minister and a folk dancer, not really interesting but that's it!

What’s your favorite quote or saying? “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”

would tell me tips and show me how to trim and take care of different plants.

What’s your favorite tree or plant, and why?

Sandy Mace Why did you choose to volunteer at the PSL Botanical Gardens? For the love of Plants – And I love to talk and chat with everyone . Do you have any goals for your time here as a volunteer? I would love to be able to say I helped just one person with a question – I love to know that people have had a good time and enjoyed the beauty of the gardens. What do you find most rewarding about volunteering at PSLBG?

There are so many plants that I love but most of all I love the Elephant Ear plant it is big and gentle. I also love orchids as they are delicate and it just thrills me when they bloom each time it gives such a thrill. Outside of the Gardens, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? I have a love of painting, reading, and knitting – I have just retired and I find I can get caught up in something so easy. I start to paint and I turn around and its 3 hours later. Tell us something about you that’s interesting, or that not many people know. I use to sing a lot when I was younger at banquets, gatherings and such – I was going to apply to a music school but something happened and that was taken away from me.

What’s your favorite quote or saying? I was put here to annoy you! ☺

For myself I so enjoy walking through the gardens. I find it is so great that it is here for people to enjoy, appreciate the flowers of all kinds and maybe get ideas for their home. What do you like to do when you’re at the Gardens?

Before I start to work I love to go for a walk around the gardens to see what might be new, what’s in bloom, enjoy the butterflies and of course see what is new in the gift shop. Let’s not forget the Garden Center! Who was the most instrumental person who influenced your love of gardening? I would have to say my father – we used to do gardening every weekend. He would buy me a rose bush for my birthday every year and I would do all the trimming and upkeep of the plants. My girlfriends father was a caretaker of an estate and I would follow him around and he 15

Be the “I” in Imagine. A new sculpture in the Gardens—Come see it!

thank you to Ruju for the wonderful donation of a beautiful water fountain

And Thank You again Ruju for the donation of a rare Old Man Palm!

Dieulanie from St. Lucie Arts Council and celebrates her Graduation with some fun photos at The Gardens


What better place to read the Wall Street Journal then the Garden. Richard enjoying the piece and quiet of the Secret Garden.

Jeanne & Don propagating copper leaf. Jeanne is a long time Master Gardener and brings with her lots of experience.

Be the “I” in Imagine. A new sculpture in the Gardens—Come see it!

The birthday king President Jeff and his crown.

Flame Plame with new shoot Continued on Pg18


It’s that time again! We are starting up our BOOtanical Halloween Committee. If you would like to be a part of the funnest event in the gardens, please come to our first meeting on Thursday, June 3rd at 5:00pm in the Gardens Pavillion.

Contact Beth Willard at: - Attn Beth or at 772-337-1959.

Help us touch the future, one child, one adult at a time! The Education Committee needs you. We meet every Wednesday in the Gardens Pavilion at 10am. We need help finding donors, applying for grants, evaluating activities, (and then having fun trying them out).

Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Educators, Non-Educators...

There is always something in bloom at The Gardens. Come check it out!


Continued on Pg20

All volunteers Are welcome!


As A NEWbie MG - by Laura Mehr

from Home Depot, that decays extremely slowly. Her backyard was just a haven a colors, textures, and many other aesthetic pleasures. Week 8 brought us Dr Anita Neal, SE Extension Director UF/IFAS, lecturing in the morning about turf Since she is situated directly on IRD, she alternatives to grasses and site planning and minimizes her storm water runoff by having preparation. There are so many ways to cover the minimal hardscapes, and protects the waterfront ground besides grass, that bring texture and color by having a totally natural area of Sea Grapes and a lot less mowing. Any area, regardless of sun and other native plants from the edge of IRD to or shade, drainage, or activities can be redone to the water.


utilize non turf alternatives. A site analysis is done, which plots the sun, the drainage, the irrigation and the activity areas, and then plants are selected according to those criteria. Many different options were shown, to give us an idea of what could be accomplished.

We were all most grateful for her knowledge and expertise, and she had bags and cutters on hand for us to take whatever cuttings we desired. Gaillardia seeds were also available for us to take home. We could not have hoped for a The afternoon brought us to PSLBG for a scavenger more gracious host. Thank you, Maggie !! hunt of great fun! Kate, our most accomplished leader, had gone to PSLBG the day before, and put numbers on 23 different plants, and our assignment was to match up those plants with descriptions that she gave us. We broke out into teams, and had a wonderful time figuring out which was which. Even though I have been working here for years, there were a couple of plants I didn’t recognize, and Indian Hawthorne was my downfall. Brenda Gustafson talked to the participants about our gardens, and our Garden Center, and helped us all to find and name those plants ! It was a great exercise in plant identification.

WEEK 9 The class spent a delightful morning on Indian River Dr., visiting the home of Maggie, a Master Gardener from last years class. Maggie’s entire yard has been planted using the Florida Friendly Landscape principles, and it is just gorgeous. We learned so much during our in person outing, we saw how she used the FFL principles of right plant/right place to make almost her entire front yard a butterfly garden. She also uses minimal irrigation and large chunk mulch

The afternoon found us back in front of the computer zooming with Ken Geolli, our local Master Naturalist instructor, who gave us an overview of our local invasive plants and animals. Ken ‘wrote the book’ quite literally about our most invasive plant, the Brazilian Pepper. We learned that there are over 4800 plant species in FL, and 1500 exotics, those that were brought in from outside FL. There are 80 plant species listed on the invasive list in category 1, which means they have altered our native plant communities. You can check out the entire list at: https:// invasive_plants.shtml. Our invasive animal communities include raccoons, primarily because they carry rabies, moles, rats, cane toads and Cuban tree frogs. We also learned that there is a phone number and app that can be used to report invasive. That # is: 888-483-4681 /



Gift Shop Goodies

Wedding Time at The Gardens Gift Shop Goodies

Gift Shop Goodies


Baby Showers are fun at The Gardens. Creative Take Home Gift. Continued on Pg22

We are currently booking Wedding Ceremonies and Events for 100 guests and under inside our Pavilion, and up to 150 guests in our outside venues. These dates are being booked fast. Email Heather at 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. A floor plan with social distancing and signed COVID-19 Addendum is required to book your event. Thank You.



Continued on Pg24




Can you give us as little as 3 hours per week of your time? The Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens are looking for Volunteers to assist in various positions throughout the Garden. Become a part of a very active garden, meet fellow volunteers, have fun, and enjoy being part of a team.

Gift Shop

Thursday-Saturday - 3 hours • 10am-1pm or 1pm-4pm* Sunday - 4 hours • 12pm-4pm

Garden Center

Thursday-Saturday - 3 hours • 10am-1pm or 1pm-4pm* Sunday - 4 hours • 12pm-4pm Garden Rooms—Daylily Garden, Bromeliad Garden, Secret Garden—Name your hours. We need help with weeding, trimming, and maintaining the gardens. *We are particularly short of volunteers on afternoon shifts 1-4pm for both the Gift Shop & Garden Center.

Contact our Volunteer Coordinator - Joanne Hurd at or call The Gardens at 772-337-1959 and leave a message. 26

CDC guidelines will be followed. Facial coverings will be required when social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Visit Our Gift Shop for a selection of fine gifts & more, one of a kind items & works from local Artists.


The Strangest Food Laws in Every State Alabama Throughout Alabama, it’s illegal for a person to walk down the street with an ice cream cone in their back pocket. Back when most people got around on horseback, horse thieves would put ice cream in their pocket to lure horses away without being charged with stealing. Luckily, not many people are trying to steal horses off the streets of Alabama today—and most prefer to eat ice cream the traditional way. Alaska In Alaska, it is illegal to give alcohol to a moose. Back in 2007, a moose—later named Buzzwinkle by local media—was seen parading down the streets of Anchorage after dipping his face into a local brewery’s supply during the holiday season. After getting his antlers tangled in Christmas lights, he stumbled past Alaskans and inspired quite the laugh—and a new law! Arizona There’s a widespread belief that it’s unlawful in Arizona to refuse a person a glass of water. In a place as dry and hot as the Grand Canyon State, we wish this rumor were true. Thirsty? Here are the best and worst drinks for keeping hydrated. Arkansas In Little Rock, Arkansas, it is against the law to honk a car horn in front of a sandwich shop after 9 p.m. We’re not entirely sure of the reason for this legislation, but we agree it’s easier to finish a late-night sandwich (including my favorite!) without a symphony of honks in the background. California In the Golden State, a frog that has participated in a frog jumping competition cannot legally be killed (or, by extension, eaten). Apparently, these contests are a popular polliwog pastime for some Californians, who have tried in vain every year since 1986 to break the record of a frog called Rosie the Ribeter. Colorado If you’re yearning to wake up to the crow of a rooster, don’t settle down in Louisville, Colorado. In this Boulder County town, it’s illegal to own these loudmouthed foul. But don’t ruffle your feathers just yet, because the city does allow residents to own as many as three turkeys. Here’s where to go if you hit the road in Colorado. Connecticut In Connecticut, they say a pickle isn’t a pickle unless it can bounce. One thought is that this keeps vendors from selling expired or subpar pickles. Is the idea equal parts kooky and clever? Definitely. Is it an actual law, or does it remain unwritten? Well, that question leaves us in a pickle. (Find our pick for the best store-bought dill pickles.) Delaware Grab a checkered blanket and an adorable picnic 28

basket, and then take a few big steps away from the road in Fenwick Island, Delaware, where it’s illegal to have a picnic on the highway! That this law exists makes us wonder whether early Delawareans were ahead of the curve when it comes to street food. Florida In Miami Beach, it’s against the law to sell any food—even the state’s celebrated citrus—from open-air stands. Orange you glad you can still buy fresh fruit at the neighborhood (indoor) market? Try a couple of our favorite citrus varieties in this favorite recipe for Florida Citrus Meringue Pie. Georgia In Gainesville, Georgia, also known as the Poultry Capital of the World, chicken must be eaten with the hands instead of a fork and knife. This law was intended to be a prank, but at one point the local police department jokingly created an ordinance to make it official. Find the best friend chicken joint in all 50 states. Georgia In Gainesville, Georgia, also known as the Poultry Capital of the World, chicken must be eaten with the hands instead of a fork and knife. This law was intended to be a prank, but at one point the local police department jokingly created an ordinance to make it official. Find the best friend chicken joint in all 50 states. Idaho People like to say it’s illegal to fish from a camel’s back in Idaho, which is technically true, but the actual law prohibits fishing from the back of any animal. This law was originally meant to dissuade horseback riders, but the alternatives (like camels) are fun to imagine, too. Illinois In Chicago, it is illegal to eat in a place that is on fire, so if you’re dining in the Windy City and your table is on fire, make sure you call both the fire department and the police. (If your mouth is the only thing on fire, however, it’s probably a sign to slow down on the spicy jalapeno poppers.) Indiana There’s nothing more satisfying than a summertime slice of watermelon, but it’s actually illegal to eat them in the parks of Beech Grove, Indiana. Parks staff came up with the ordinance after realizing that watermelon rinds often punched through garbage bags and caused messes. Luckily, the law doesn’t mention this watermelon slush. Iowa In 1967, the town of Indianola banned ice cream trucks from roaming its streets. Lucky for town residents, there’s a pretty easy way to make ice cream in your own kitchen. Kansas In Derby, Kansas, it’s illegal to hit a vending machine. C’mon, people…there’s no need to get riled up over loose change when you can make your favorite junk food at home.

Kentucky Remember that weird ice-cream-cone-in-a-back-pocket law listed for Alabama above? It’s a law in Kentucky and Georgia, too. Continued on Pg30


Louisiana In Louisiana, you can’t order goods and services to be delivered to a person without their consent. That means no prank pizzas! Luckily, we have plenty of better pizza gift ideas. Maine Maine is serious about their clam chowder—so serious that a law prohibiting the use of tomatoes in clam chowder was at one point given serious consideration. Real New Englanders will appreciate our contest-winning take on this delicious soup. Maryland Speaking of seafood, you’d better be careful what you do with those extra shells. While the state of Maryland encourages the recycling of oyster shells, there are a few things you can’t do with them. For one, you can’t feed them to chickens—and you’re also not allowed to use them as road construction materials. Luckily, that’s one of the last things on our minds when it comes to making and eating oysters Rockefeller.

Massachusetts In Boston, it’s illegal to eat peanuts in church. Do nut break this rule! Michigan If you’re starting a pig farm in Detroit, you either have to have strong fences or bejeweled swine, because it’s illegal to let pigs run loose in the Motor City without rings in their noses. Minnesota Meat eaters, take note: Hamburgers are illegal on Sundays in St. Cloud. If you indulge in one of our top 10 burger recipes, be sure to do it very, very sneakily. We promise we won’t tell anyone. Mississippi In 2013, Mississippi passed the AntiBloomberg bill to offset the impact of a nationwide nutrition-labeling law. In the rest of the country, it’s illegal to serve massive portion sizes (think supersize sodas) at restaurants—but in Mississippi, diners may indulge to their hearts’ content. Missouri If you were hoping to get more than just yourself intoxicated at your next circus visit, don’t get your hopes up for Natchez, Missouri: In this town, it’s illegal to provide beer to elephants. Maybe they’d prefer a trunk full of champagne or circus peanuts?

Stay tuned…

Part 2 coming next month :-) 30