Garden Talk – Growing Vegetables and Other Edibles
Growing food has become one of the most rewarding pastimes, especially for those who are interested in knowing where and how food is grown. Gardeners also get the added benefit of outdoor, physical exercise. I believe each year is another opportunity to learn new ideas for gardening in Florida. I am optimistic it will be the best year ever. Vegetables can be grown all year in Southwest Florida, but the best growing season is during the winter months.
If you’d like to learn about growing vegetables and fruits, including ones that you may never have heard of, don’t miss this talk! We will discuss the preparation tasks for creating a vegetable garden, including how deep to plant seeds, what pests to look out for, and varieties best suited for this climate. Store-bought tomato plant varieties are limited, but when growing from seeds, there are many other varieties to select from. Participants will receive a 20% off coupon for use in the Edison Garden Shoppe and will even get to take home a tomato seedling. +
Cost: Edison Ford members: $10; non-members: $15 Participants will meet at the Banyan picnic area after checking in at the ticket office.
Garden Class – A Fresh Look At Holiday Plants For Southwest Florida – Bring Them A Gift They Really Want
Price: Members $35, non-members $50
Location: Garden Council Building, 2166 Virginia Ave
Class size: Limited to 25 participants
Orchid Sale & Symposium
October 12-13, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The winter home site of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford was also home to numerous orchids that hung from the fruit-bearing Mango trees. Henry
Nehrling and John Kunkel Small visited the Edisons and gave them gifts of orchids. Nehrling himself spoke to the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs in 1929, and stated, “I am to report the epiphytic plants (orchids, bromeliads and ferns) were growing with exceptional vigor throughout the property.”
Orchids were Mina Edison’s favorite flowers and she attached them to trees on her Fort Myers property, just as they grew wild in the Everglades. Today, we continue to attach orchids to trees, where they get just the right amount of light and rain water. Throughout the site, there is usually an orchid blooming every day, all year long.
Collecting and growing orchids is a wonderful hobby that gives pleasure to snowbirds, long-time residents and those new to the area. We are partnering with the Southwest Florida Orchid Society to hold our first Orchid Sale and Symposium. Vendors will be on site, selling orchids and there will be educational opportunities throughout the day. Additional information will be available soon.
Garden Talk – Bromeliads
There is a bromeliad for just about every spot in your Southwest Florida yard. They will grow in sun, shade, and even in trees! They come in assorted colors and sizes, many with vibrant blooms.
Join our August garden talk to learn more about the different varieties and which ones are right for your garden.
Comfortable shoes, water, and sunscreen are recommended. Participants will meet at the information booth after checking in at the ticket office to pick up a wristband. Cost: Edison Ford members: $10; non-members: $15 Participants will also receive a 20% of coupon for use in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe.
Celebrate National Honey Bee Day at Edison and Ford Winter Estates
In celebration of National Honey Bee Day on August 17, the public is invited to learn about bees and native plants for pollinators at
B. Keith Councell from Councell Farms examines honey bee hives at Edison and Ford Winter Estates.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates (EFWE). The day’s itinerary includes a live honey extraction demonstration, a honey bee lecture by David Westervelt with the Florida State Beekeepers Association, and Tony Mauriello and Kara Tyler-Julian from the Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will give a presentation on Florida native plants for pollinators.
Additionally, there will be local honey available for sale and tasting; a question and answer session with bee inspector, Freddy Howard; and informational tables with guests from the Florida Native Plant Society, Florida State Beekeepers Association, and Solitary Bee Homes. Florida native and other pollinator plants will be available for purchase.
- 9:30 a.m. Honey extraction demonstration
- 11 a.m. Lecture by David Westervelt, Florida State Beekeepers Association Coordinator
- 12 p.m. Presentation on native plants for pollinators by Florida Naturalist, Tony Mauriello and Entomologist, Kara Tyler-Julian from the Florida Native Plant Society
- 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Information tables and Florida native and pollinator plants available for sale
There are currently more than a dozen honey bee hives managed by professional beekeepers at EFWE. Historically, bees were critical to the site for pollination. As early as 1886, Edison instructed his caretaker to obtain bee hives to pollinate flowers and other plants on his property.
In addition to honey bees, there are more than 4,000 native bee species in North America; more than 300 of those are found in Florida, and of those, 29 are endemic (found only in Florida). Due to pesticide use, disease and parasites, bee populations have decreased considerably. Across the United States, some native bee species have recently been added to the endangered list, such as the rusty-patched bumblebee, Bombus affinis, and seven species of the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees.
Approximately one third of the food that humans consume each day requires pollination, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and other crops. Bees are also the primary pollinator for many beautiful flowers that grow wild and are used in landscaping.
“This is an opportunity for residents to learn about the important role bees play in our environment and how everyone can help protect honey bees and the many Florida native bees in their own home gardens,” said Debbie Hughes, horticulture director at EFWE.
The event is free (does not include tours, museum or lab) and will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit the website or call 239-334-7419.
Garden Talk – Flowering Trees
If I was told that I could only grow one plant in my garden, I would have to choose one that is fragrant. For good reason, pleasant
Plumeria ‘Tillie Hughes’
smells are one of the greatest characteristics in the garden. Beauty in flowers is usually what draws most people to gardening, but what keeps them attracted is the intoxicating fragrance. Mina was an expert on adding plants for their perfumed fragrance as the flowers intermingled with a hint of the river. Her winter home made full use of bringing the outdoors nearer their living quarters and into their lives.
In this Garden Talk, participants will learn about the fragrant plants throughout the Edison gardens as we stroll and sniff until we find one you’d like to have in your garden. The walk will last approximately 1.5 hours, so wear comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen, and bring drinking water. The class will start promptly at 10 a.m. Participants will receive a 20% off coupon for use on plant purchases in the Garden Shoppe.
Cost: Edison Ford members: $10; non-members: $15. Registration not required.
Wood Slabs from Mango and Shaving Brush Trees Available for Purchase
The public is invited to view the Mango and Shaving Brush wood slabs on Tuesday, May 7 between 2-4 p.m. at 2145 Larchmont Ave.
Both trees offer very unique patterns and rich colors. The Mango is believed to be at least 90 years old, and the Shaving Brush is a very rare tree, so wood from both trees is valuable.
There are a dozen mango and six Shaving Brush slabs available. Sizes of the Mango slabs range in length from 49″ to 71″ and 21″ to 44″ wide. The Shaving Brush slabs range from 64″ to 69″ long and from 13″ to 44″ wide. The wood is priced at $25 per board foot for the Mango and $30 per board foot for the Shaving Brush. Click here to preview pieces (availability subject to change).
Grow Fort Myers
“Grow Fort Myers” is a part of National Public Gardens Week at Edison Ford. Help us celebrate all week long with special events:
- May 15 and 17, 2019 at 10:30am: $10 discount on Garden Tours
- May 17, 2019 at 7:30pm: Free Family Movie Night in the Gardens
- Membership Special: Purchase or renew your Membership during this week and receive one month FREE– it’s a perfect time to become an Edison Ford Member!
And on May 18, join us for a special plant sale, free workshops, and more:
- The following events will take place on the Museum Porch unless noted otherwise:
- 9:00 AM: Debbie Hughes – Director of Horticulture, Edison Ford Winter Estates, “Welcome”!
- 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM: Stephen Brown, Lee County Extension Agent “Fertilizer – Is it really necessary?”
- 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM: Brady Vogt, Everglades Rare Books “History of Commercial Horticulture in Lee County”
- 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM: Green Leaf Worm Farm “The Lowdown on Worm (Castings) Poop”
- 11:15 AM – Noon: Rob Solomon – Edison Ford Winter Estates Rain Barrel Demonstration – To be held under the Pavilion.
- 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Lisa Wilson – Edison Ford Winter Estates “Attracting Butterflies to your Garden”
- 1:45 PM – 2:15 PM: Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) of Lee County “Florida Friendly Gardening”
On-going Demonstrations and Vendor Tables in and around the Garden Shoppe:
- Marie Dyer – Painting a Rain Barrel (Under the Pavilion)
- MW Horticulture – Working with Compost
- Green Leaf Worm Farm – Worm Castings
- Everglades Fine Books – Garden Books for Sale
- Fred Rubino – Creating Hypertufa – Demonstration using Edison’s Portland Cement in a mixture to form lightweight, custom planters
- Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, Lee County Master Gardeners “Ask the Expert” – Your gardening questions answered
- Garden Shoppe – Open 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM offering special discounts!
Sponsored in part by:
Celebrate National Arbor Day
Arbor Day was started by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska as a way to get more trees planted in the Midwest prairie states. At Edison Ford, trees are planted throughout the year; although, on Arbor Day, we celebrate with students from local schools, garden clubs and other community organizations.
Fort Myers is part of a nationwide movement, providing the necessary framework for communities to manage and expand their public trees. Many of the trees on the Edison Ford site were originally planted because Thomas Edison understood the importance of planting trees in our neighborhoods. He planted many unusual varieties that still stand tall today.
In celebration of National Arbor Day on April 26, students from Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School will help continue the tradition of planting a tree. This year, two Poitea carinalis, or Caribwood trees will be planted at the entrance gate to the Ford home – for future generations to enjoy.