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  





Girl Scouts in the Garden

Mandarin Garden Club recently had the pleasure of hosting the Mandarin Girl Scouts for a tour of the club's beautiful gardens. 

The girls were treated to an informative tour by Master Gardener, Nancy Taylor. After the tour, the girls and their siblings participated in a garden scavenger hunt. Afterwards, they were treated to refreshments. 

Each troop member was given a succulent along with care instructions to take home. The girls also received their own rake for use at home.

Thanks to Donna Crosby and Nancy Taylor for conducting the tour.

Submitted by ~

Betty Waldrep

Monday, January 30, 2017

Chili and Bingo!

Oh What a Night....

Bingo, Chili, Soup, Cornbread, and Desserts with a group of Garden Club Ladies and guests is a recipe for FUN.

 Laughter, fellowship, and good food highlighted the evening's events.  As we have proven over and over - Mandarin Garden Club Ladies know how to cook.  Everything from soup to chili to stew was available - in fact - over 60 feet of food.  On a cold night - it was the perfect menu and I know I went back several times just to check out all the selections available.

Our ladies made good use of the photo booth preserving memories of another special evening shared by our members.  Props for our photo booth furthered our love of "dressing up" and the resulting new looks were quite amazing.

Bingo proved to be quite challenging for this writer - it doesn't look like work
- but I was worn out trying to keep up with my cards.  Thank you to Stacia Snuggs for being our Numbers Caller Extraordinaire as she kept us on our toes and moving right along.

Many, many thanks to Sandra Varner and her committee for putting  together such a great evening.

Karen Rowe












Wednesday, January 4, 2017

More About Mushrooms

Do you know about “stinky” ones--called Stink Horns--that have a distinctly putrid smell?  Usually you will find these things in mulch or damp, shady areas of your yard.  The spores are probably carried in by squirrels, crows, or other small animals that like to investigate rotting animals.

 When you locate the general area of odor, then begin to look for an orange/white shape coming up out of the ground.  I know the name says “horn” but sometimes there is really no horn shape to it – maybe it forms either earlier or later than I have ever found them.  You will HAVE to get rid of it, or it will multiply.  Do not touch any part of this thing, or you may spread the spores.  That goes for touching it with your hand or with any tool.  Begin by carefully removing any mulch or living plants which surround the mushroom.  The underground structure of a Stink Horn is surprisingly deep and wide, so begin a few inches away from the above ground orange structure, and, with a shovel, dig straight down about 6 inches, and then all the way around.  Try to remove the whole thing in as big a piece as you can and put it in a plastic bag which does not leak.  Go back to your hole and inspect to see if you have removed all of the mushroom.  Finish up removing what’s left and put that all in the bag, too.   Seal up the bag, then put that in another bag and seal up.  Place all in your kitchen garbage and put out for the kitchen garbage truck.  Wash all of your tools well with soapy water. 

PS.  If your garbage pickup is several days away, you may want to put the plastic mushroom bag someplace where you are sure its increasingly powerful smell won’t pervade your outdoor living space.

As insurance, you may want to make a weekly sniffing tour around your yard for the next several weeks.




Submitted by -

Martha Dysart