Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jax Mom's Group Tours Mandarin Garden Club's Gardens

On July 26, the Mandarin Garden Club hosted Jax Mom's Group for a tour of the gardens. The guests included mothers, children and three of our youngest garden enthusiasts in strollers. 

The children were delighted to discover pineapple, bananas and a variety of green vegetables growing in the garden. An abundant number of bees, butterflies and lizards also attended the tour. The morning was sultry but the summer flowers made a spectacle of themselves to make up for the heat. 

The young gardeners enjoyed cooling watermelon, grapes and butterfly themed treats. After being suitably refreshed the children channeled their energy into creating fairy gardens. The results were magical. 

Thank you to Master Gardener Mary Forester for her expertise in Fairydom. 

Donna Crosby 
Education and Community 
Mandarin Garden Club 








Photos courtesy 
Donna Crosby 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Annual Plant Exchange

The ladies of Mandarin Garden Club gathered together on July 29, 2017 to once again enjoy our Annual Plant Exchange.

If you have never attended, you are truly missing out on an experience.  The event began at 10 a.m., however, our ladies started gathering before 9:30 a.m.  You have to get that jumpstart on checking out the inventory and staking your place!!

By 9:45 a.m. as I moved around the room,  I visited with everyone - but they weren't moving away from their first choice.  Ladies had their hands on the prizes waiting for the first bell to sound.

Mary Forrester began promptly at 10 a.m. with the first round - giving instructions for those newcomers -



We had 10 rounds and great fun with good hearted competition.  It was a wonderful event and many thanks to Mary Forrester and Nancy Taylor for all their hard work.


Every exchange is unique - check your new directory (distributed in September) for next year's date.

Respectfully Submitted by ~

Karen Rowe

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Humming Bird Feeders


If you are interested in setting up a feeding station, I recommend that you read these two webpages 


In Florida, our weather is quite conducive to spoilage of sugar water, so cleaning and renewing your feeder is of prime importance here in Jacksonville.   From the “Wildbirdscoop” webpage, I have summarized the part about cleaning a hummingbird feeder in this newsletter article.  Here are the main points:

(1)  In hot weather, every two or three days will be necessary to prevent the syrup from fermenting and producing mold.  If hummingbird food sits in very hot sun most of the day then the feeder may need to be cleaned every day or every second day.

(2)  It is not advisable to refill your feeder when it is empty without cleaning it. A small amount left in a feeder for only a couple of hours, will ferment much quicker.

(3)  Use warm water and vinegar, or warm water with a drop of bleach and a couple of drops of dish detergent.  Do not use vinegar and detergent together.   Whatever solution is used - great caution should be taken to thoroughly rinse it out.

(4)  Brushes of various sizes will make the job much easier and more thorough.

Submitted By ~

Martha Dysart

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mandarin Garden Club Presents Westminister Woods on Julington Creek the Annual Business Beautification Award 2016-2017.

On May 25, 2017, Donna Crosby, Education and Community Director of the Mandarin Garden Club presented Amanda Birch, Director of the Westminster Woods Senior d
Development, the Annual Business Beautification Award for 2016-2017.  

Westminister Woods is an assisted living and active lifestyle facility built in 1961. Westminister has a beautiful wooded campus with stunning water views or gardens that can be enjoyed from every building. Residents remain active and enjoy their beautiful surroundings.

There are ponds with water features that are habitats for turtles, water birds. and other Florida wildlife. The occasional gator has even been sited. Park benches and tables surrounded by Azaleas, Gardenias, Magnolias and old Oak trees laced with Spanish moss invite a rest. Wide sidewalks encourage walkers, bikers and golf cart drivers to enjoy the beautiful grounds up close and personal. Residents can listen to the soothing sounds of fountains sprinkled throughout the gardens. Gazebos are also nestled creekside for sitting and enjoying the gorgeous views of Julington Creek. 

Westminister Woods has successfully married a mid-century modern style, that consciously compliments it's "Old Mandarin" natural surroundings with many options for residents to maintain an active lifestyle..  We greatly enjoyed our visit to their campus and encourage others to visit.

Submitted by ~

Donna Crosby
Education & Community




Monday, July 10, 2017

Soil Info For Duval County

You may not know that the soil in and around Duval County is generally very poor, especially around housing developments where the ground had been scraped to sand in order to even out the dips and bumps.  At that point, some developers will truck in a thin layer of topsoil, before laying sod on top.  

The best thing that you can do is provide some decaying organic matter to the soil (grass clippings), and continue to annually sprinkle topsoil evenly over the entire surface.  Of course, fertilizer is a must for grass – once a year adding minor constituents (magnesium, manganese, iron, etc.) to the commonly applied nitrogen, phosphorus (tiny amounts) and potassium mixtures.  If you have mulched areas, the very best mulch you can apply is live-oak leaves . . . they decay slowly, and keep the weeds down the best of any mulch because they form flat, overlapping layers which keeps sunlight from penetrating and producing weed germination.  If you don’t want live oak leaves, the next best is pine straw or pine bark mini-nuggets.  Contrary to common belief, this will not acidify the soil.  Please don’t use cypress mulch, since it is causing a scarcity of cypress trees in this area.  

Of course, to best take advantage of the above suggestions, you should have a pH test of your yard to determine if you have acid soil or not.  Directions for this obtaining soil to give to the Extension Office can be found online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss494 or call the Extension Office at 904-255-7450.

Submitted by -

Martha Dysart

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sweetwater Garden Tour

On April seventeenth, the Mandarin Garden Club welcomed Sweetwater Creek Garden Club for a tour of our facilities. Thirteen members of Sweetwater Creek were presented a history and outing by Master Gardener Mary Forester. 

The weather was perfect and encouraged a slow, appreciative walk through the various gardens. The ladies of Sweetwater had many questions about plant placement, maintenance and insect control. Information and helpful tips flew back and forth, in that easy way that happens when gardeners meet gardeners. 

Refreshments were served with additional information and resources. It was such a pleasure to present the gardens to incredible people that share a love for gardening. 

Donna Crosby 
Education and Community 
Mandarin Garden Club 






Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Yard of the Month

Carol Fitzsimmons is the proud owner of a lovely little oasis of green. This viridescent shade garden is nestled between bustling San Jose and Scott Mill Road.

Recently retired, Carol has been on a mission, to replace the "nightmare of maintaining grass," in a deeply shaded yard. Carol's goal is to drastically lower her garden's maintenance while increasing the pretty factor. The bonus for her accomplishment is more time to enjoy the beauty of her garden. 

Under the canopy of majestic Oak trees, Carol has used Mondo grass, Dwarf Mondo and Asiatic Jasmine to replicate a lush green grass look. Large Ligustrum trees provide shade and perfume the air.

A circular, paver walkway winds around the garden and is anchored with a shed in the center. The space is filled with Hibiscus, Azaleas and various Gingers. Bromeliads brush against Begonias and Blue Daze blends with apricot Geraniums. 

The Fitzsimmons' garden is a certified Wild Life Habitat. This means the yard supplies the three basic habitat elements food, water and places to raise the young. Carol has accented her space with bird houses, self-watering bird baths, bird feeders and plenty of vegetative cover.

The Mandarin Garden Club continues to search for people committed to demonstrating care and beautification of the Mandarin community. Residents interested in having their yard considered or who would like to nominate a yard should email information to -

themandaringardenclubflorida@gmail.com.

or contact -

Mandarin Garden Club 
P.O Box 23193
Jacksonville,  Florida  32241

Donna Crosby 
Education and Community 

Photo courtesy 
Donna Crosby