Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mandarin Demonstration Gardens - Then and Now

In anticipation of the Mandarin Demonstration Gardens' 30th Anniversary - here's a look at the Then and Now

Mandarin Demonstration Garden 1988

Mandarin Demonstration Garden 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

30 Years of Blooms

Mandarin Garden Club in cooperation with Duval County Extension UF/IFAS Presents 30 YEARS OF BLOOMS IN THE MANDARIN DEMONSTRATION GARDEN

On October 13th from Noon to 3 PM on the Clubhouse grounds at 2892 Loretto Road, Jacksonville FL 32223, gardening specialists and Master Gardeners will be on hand to discuss and answer questions about the plants and various garden beds that thrive on our 2+ acre property and in our Mandarin environment.

Guided tours will be held at 12:30 and 2:30 PM by our Master Gardener Liaison.

At 1:30 PM Master Gardener Vic Groner will give a demonstration on Tool Sharpening and Care of Gardening Implements. This presentation has been well-acclaimed over many years through the Duval County Extension Programs.

The Northeast Florida Bonsai Association and the Jacksonville Herb Society, both of which meet at Mandarin Garden Club, will have experts available to provide information and displays pertinent to their specialties of gardening.

As well, the Men's Garden Club of Jacksonville will be available to discuss their Aloe Vera Project, which brings needed relief to radiation treatment patients in the Jacksonville area. Mandarin Garden Club is proud to be a part of maintaining their supply of aloe vera plants for this important cause.

Featured will be the UF/IFAS Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program which will offer a display, informational brochures, and experts to give information of great value to all Florida gardeners, particularly in the Duval County area. 

This event is directed to novice and experienced gardeners. Our hope is to share the Mandarin Demonstration Garden knowledge learned from 30 years of practice and to fulfill the Mandarin Garden Club's mission "to cultivate appreciation for and knowledge of horticulture, and an awareness of and involvement in the preservation of the natural beauty of the Mandarin Community."

Free parking will be available immediately next door to the east on the Mandarin Masonic Lodge property. 

No pets other than service animals are welcome for this event. (904)268-1192

Friday, July 27, 2018

Plant Propagation – You will learn a lot about gardening, plants, and your own disposition.

Making cuttings --  the fastest way to get a mature plant.  The ideal time to do this is in the spring and summer when plants are actively growing, although it’s not impossible to do in winter, if you want to use “woody” cuttings.  Also, the easiest part of a plant to start cuttings from is the actively growing upper part, rather than the mature (woody) base.
The First, Second, Third and Fourth parts of growing from cuttings is very much the same as those parts we discussed last month for seedlings.  Prepare your pots, paying attention to soil texture, nutrient levels, and mold.  You will want to prepare and have ready, containers to receive cuttings before you actually cut, --  the cuttings need to have a clean, fresh cut which can absorb nutrients and water.  Just a note about putting cuttings in water rather than soil . . . roots developed in water are not the same as roots developed in soil, so if you start out in water, the cutting will have to start all over again after you transfer it to soil.  (I know, . . . I didn’t believe it either until I extensively, and skeptically researched it.)
Fifth, when you make cuttings, be sure that you a stem long enough to include “leaf nodes” which should be buried beneath the soil – this is where roots begin.  Also, strip all the leaves except for a very few at the top.  This cuts down on a now rootless plant trying to support big leaf structures. 
Sixth, cultivate extreme patience !!!  It may take weeks for roots to develop, and you don’t want to disturb this growing environment until there is an abundance of roots. To test whether roots are being formed, give your cutting a slight tug – if there is resistance, it tells you that roots are holding the plant.  At that point, you can pop the cutting out of its pot and check to see if there is a whole network of white hair-like roots.
Seventh, it is probably too soon to plant directly into the soil, so transplant to a larger pot and give your new plant some more light and back off on the moisture.  By poking your finger into the soil, you should be able to see if its dry down about an inch – then it’s time to water.
Last Step is to transfer your healthy plant to its final destination.

Another adaptation to this method is what I call the “brick method” . . . bend down a stem until you can bury it in the ground (but still keeping it attached to the mother plant).  Scape the stem as before, bury it, place a heavy weight on top and declare that weight to be off limits to everybody.  Go off and leave the plant for a couple of months.  When it is firmly attached to the ground, cut it from its mother and transplant it to its preferred destination.  This is my favorite means of propagation !!

Submitted by -

Martha Dysart

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Master Gardeners Appreciation Celebration for Terry Del Valle

Terry Del Valle, Horticulture Extension Agent at UF/IFAS Duval County Extension, was honored by the Master Gardeners of the Mandarin Demonstration Gardens and Heritage Gardens, at Mandarin Garden Club on June 20, 2018. Terry has served in this position for 35 years and is retiring in November. She has given 30 years of dedication and support by providing Master Gardener Volunteers to maintain the demonstration Gardens for Duval County.

Terry was presented with a plaque honoring her years of service and work with the Master Gardeners of Duval County. A plaque celebrating her work with Mandarin Garden Club and the Demonstration Gardens has been placed in the club’s Native Garden (the front garden.) Good food, beautiful flowers, a lovely cake and much fellowship was enjoyed by all who attended the celebration.
In 1988 Mary Howe, a garden club member and Master Gardener, suggested the club invite The Duval County Extension Office to use the Club’s grounds as demonstration gardens. Thus, begin the partnership between Mandarin Garden Club and Terry Del Valle for the next thirty years.
The Master Gardeners work in the demonstration gardens twice a month (and sometimes more often.) By working in the gardens, the Master Gardeners learn which plants grow best in our soil and weather. How to combat harmful insects and how much water is really needed. They can then pass this knowledge and expertise along to the community.
The celebration for Terry was a special way for the Master Gardeners to honor her and her work. The plaque erected in the Native Garden not only honors Terry but all the Master Gardeners who have worked under Terry for 35 years.
Terry is looking forward to retirement, but she also expressed to me “she hopes she can find enough things to do to keep her busy.” I bet she finds her way back to Mandarin Garden Club and the Heritage Gardens after some relaxation time.
You will be missed Terry! But your legacy of work will go on for years to come.

Pictures courtesy of - Candace Barone and Deb Campbell

Article submitted by Betty Waldrep

Friday, May 4, 2018

Mandarin Garden Club Hosted St. Augustine Garden Club Tour

“Come into the garden, the flowers want to meet you” This was the sentiment when Mandarin Garden Club entertained the Shamrock Circle from St. Augustine Garden Club. Mary Forster, 2nd Vice President, and Donna Crosby, Education and Community Chair, entertained the guests with a garden tour.

It is such a pleasure when gardeners meet gardeners. The level of appreciation for flowers, bees, butterflies, and trees are never higher.
The day could not have been more beautiful if it had been especially ordered. Blue skies, sunshine, and a gentle breeze welcomed the guests from St. Augustine.

Mary Forester, Master Gardener, shared the history of the club and a peek into the ever day maintenance and up keep of the gardens. The ladies from Shamrock Circle viewed several areas that were undergoing a Spring refurbishment. We had the pleasure of sharing details and tips for raising funds, gathering volunteers and soliciting resources. These three things are essential for making and maintain beautiful gardens for members and the community to enjoy.

Everyone then retired to the shade of the Magnolia trees to enjoy lemonade and a sweet treat. The conservation then turned to our own gardens, best loved plants and pest problems. The subject of home gardening is always a favorite topic for gardeners. A perfect ending to a lovely tour.

Donna Crosby
Education and Community
Pictures courtesy of
Donna Crosby

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jax Moms' Group Garden Tour

Mandarin Garden Club hosted the Jax Moms’ Group on April second for a tour of the gardens. The guests included mothers, children and grandmothers.

The children explored the Repurposed Garden and enjoying seeing vegetables sprouting. The wooden bridge was a favorite resting spot. Spring was in the Air! Buzzing bees and butterflies were out in abundance. Master Gardener, Mary Forester, explained how important soil, water, and sun were to seeds.

The young gardeners enjoyed fresh fruit served in a watermelon frog and other treats. The kids made a craft activity of planting and watering seeds in a take home tin. We hope a love for gardening was planted in our young guests by spending time at the garden club.

Busy with our Craft Project

The crafts were a big hit.

Loving our bridge in the garden!

Shared Courtesy of Mandarin Newsline