Monday, December 17, 2018

2018 Winter Celebration

On Saturday December 1st Mandarin Garden Club participated in the 2018 Winter Celebration hosted by Mandarin Historical Society.  Despite the rainy weather there was a steady turn out of visitors.

Mandarin Garden Club volunteers met and greeted visitors. They shared what the club offers to the community. Information brochures along with sweet wildflower seeds packets were handed out. We reminded the public that the gardens were open and invited them to visit.

Thank you to all the volunteers that represented the club throughout the day.

Judy Zamborski         (Dogwood)
Angela Munn             (Live Oak)
Janet Ford                   (Magnolia)
Wanda Bosworth        (Cherokee Rose)
Mary Forester             (Live Oak)
Sandy Ingram             (Magnolia)
Donna Crosby             (Live Oak)

On November 29th another group of volunteers spent an afternoon and evening creating period Christmas ornaments for the Walter Jones farmhouse. Popcorn and cranberries were strung with the greatest of care. Cinnamon and dried fruit ornaments were made for a real tree and to adorn native greenery. Red ribbon tied it all together.  Thank you to:

Betty Waldrep           (Dogwood)
Pat Sams                   (Dogwood)
Gail Cook                 (Dogwood)
Donna Crosby           (Live Oak)

for spending their time and talents on making this project shine.

Thank you again to Wanda Bosworth, who helped forage the ton of greenery that was used in this year's decorations.

Thank you again to Mary Forester for remembering this project and giving a heads up when garden volunteers were trimming the Magnolia trees.

Shared stories and so much laughter along with a special appearance by Santa made this day very special. All of the Mandarin Garden Club volunteers are officially on Santa's good list. That is straight from the big guy himself.

Donna Crosby
Education and Community

Here Comes Santa Claus

From Left, Wanda Bosworth, Santa Claus,
Donna Crosby, and Mary Forester,

Monday, November 19, 2018

September Yard of the Month

Home of Paula & Mike Zeman          

The Mandarin Garden Club has selected Paula & Mike Zeman as Yard of the Month for September for its 100% Florida-Friendly Landscaped home.

Paula and Mike have worked in construction and building and currently own a landscape business.  However they take great pride in maintaining their own yard.

With unique experience as an ecologist, Paula creates and experiments with germination, soil, composting, planting, and, incorporating the (9) Principles in a Florida Friendly Landscaping Yard.  Using these principles and her experience in her own yard and others she is known throughout the business and her community for her unique gift of design and creating a yard of art and beauty.  She gives of her talents and shares her tools of knowledge and experience with others.

The Zeman home showcases a wide variety of assorted tropical, cactus, succulents, trees, scrubs, perennials, and beautiful decorative pots of flowers with various heights for an eye-catching style of nature and beauty in any season.

 Pavers guide you through walkways and beds building the beauty and intensity of the yard.  Some of my favorite plants spotted were the beautiful Dwarf  Podocarpus, Sunshine Dwarf Ligustrum, Dwarf Sunshine Anise, Dwarf Azaleas and many other native flowering plants.

Welcoming cats lounge about enjoying a special place in this most attractive beautifully landscaped work of art.

SPECIAL THANKS:  September Yard of the Month Nominated By, Karen Rowe, Dogwood Member of the Mandarin Garden Club.  

Article/Photos Submitted By:  Wanda Bosworth, Community Education

Paula Zeman

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mandarin Winter Celebration

The Mandarin Garden Club is proud to once again assist the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society with their Winter Celebration by providing the greenery in the historical buildings. 

The event gives you a glimpse of old Mandarin as well as activities for young and old alike .

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Monarch Milkweed Initative Update

We would like to thank everyone who came out on Saturday, October 13th to the Mandarin Garden Club's 30 Years of Blooms Celebration. The only thing more impressive than the perfect weather was the attendance numbers. The level of interest in the Monarch-Milkweed Initiative was overwhelming. Visitors asked impressive questions about native milkweed plants and the Monarch butterfly migration crisis.

        The exchange of information provided us direction on what the community needs to join in our conservation cause. To keep the dialogue going, please check back to the Mandarin Garden Club's news blog for updates and scheduled events as we slowly march to the Spring season. Comments & questions are also welcome posts to:

From the fall and through the winter months, we will be stratifying hundreds of native milkweed seeds for early
2019  plantings.  Plans are in motion to offer milkweed planting clinics next Spring at the club. Starter plants & kits (Asclepias tuberosa and incarnata varieties) should be available for purchase. If you can't attend a clinic, no worries, the annual garden club plant sale is offered every April.   

Submitted By -       

Candace Barone

Saturday, November 10, 2018


Common Bromeliads The ones I am talking about are the epiphytes (air plants) growing in our trees.  

The two most common ones are called mosses, though they are not.  Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) and Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata) are the two most common, though there is another which is not rare, but rather uncommon -- Bartram’s Airplant (Tillandsia bartramii).  Many people think that these are dead plants, but if you look closely after a rain, you will see a faint green color within the grey foliage.  These plants are not mosses, since they have blooms – Spanish Moss has tiny (1/4”) flowers which you might miss if you don’t inspect them minutely.  Ball Moss flowers are about 3 times as big, and you will notice their seed pods (out on long stalks) more than the blue flowers.  Bartram’s Airplant has large pink spikes and brownish-grey seed pods which really stand out among the grey needle-like foliage.  

All of these plants use their roots for clinging onto their “home” (usually trees), but obtain their necessary minerals from dust particles and dissolved material within rain.  Unlike Mistletoe (which is a killing parasite), these air plants do not kill the trees upon which they are located.  If a tree is extremely heavily laden, these Bromeliads can inhibit the available light and limit the available sites for forming sprouts so that the tree may  “decline” a bit.  Unless you take the time to inspect these plants (ideally with a magnifying glass), you may miss their many unique features – keep your eyes open !!!

May your horticultural results be as fulfilling as your gardening diligence.      

Martha Dysart.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thank you ...


Every leaf was polished, every flower nodded, the sun shone brightly , and a gentle breeze
stirred the temperate air for our celebration,  “ 30 Years of Blooms, ” the 30th Anniversary of the Mandarin Demonstration Garden and our partnership with Duval County Extension IFAS. It was a beautiful day on Saturday, October 13th when  200 + visitors graced our grounds.

A  special thank you to the following for being part of the day:  Mary Howe and Terry DelValle,
founders of the garden; Jacksonville Fire Department Firetruck 42 and the crew of firefighters, who  were on hand;  North Florida Bonsai Association, Jacksonville Herb Society, the Men’s Garden Club of  Jacksonville, and Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, who set up  displays and  provided information;  Master Gardeners and Club - member Gardeners, who prepared the grounds and answered questions from the visitors; Mary Forester who led tours full of inquisitive people; Vic Groner,  Master Gardener with Duval County Extension, who entertained us while demonstrating Tool  Care & Sharpening; City Councilmen Sam Newby and Matt Schellenberg, who supported us, read Mayor Lenny Curry’s Letter of  Congratulations, and presented a Certificate of Recognition from the Jacksonville City Council;  Donna Crosby, who created fantastic items for our drawing; our giant Monarch Butterfly ( Candace Gerding ) and George DeMarino,  Monarch Milkweed Initiative, who  spent the afternoon informing a steady stream of people about saving native milkweed;  Jim Montgomery, who donated much appreciated water for  the volunteers;  our neighbors, Masonic Lodge 343, who loaned their property for parking; and Dom Colanero, who creates labels for every single plant in the gardens. 

Before the celebration and behind the scenes of the day our Mandarin Garden Club members worked for months to bring this First Public Garden Day to the Community.  Some even rallied their spouses, children, and grandchildren into volunteering their time and talent! Not only that, but they are excited about the next  Public Garden Days in February 2019 and are eagerly beginning to plan for them.  Thank you  all for making this beautiful day!

Thank you to the Community for supporting us, and for attending our celebration. We hope you
enjoyed the program and learned something new and helpful to you. Remember: Master Gardeners are on the property every 1st and 3rd Wednesday Mornings! They are here to learn and  to maintain the Garden, but they are  also here  to  be available to the community.  Stop by !

Sandie Ingram
Mandarin Garden Club

Sunday, October 28, 2018

30 Years of Blooms

 Mandarin Demonstration Garden- 30 years of blooms anniversary-
 Partnership between the Duval county MG/IFAS program & the Mandarin Garden Club
 Saturday, October 13th, 2018    12-3pm

 A perfect pairing! Beautiful weather welcomed a beautiful crowd on an October Saturday afternoon in Mandarin.  Nearly 200 guests visited the Mandarin Garden Club property to explore and learn on the first official Public Gardens Day. The young and old, returns and first timers, locals and residents of connecting counties turned out and plugged into the various gardens stations to ask their questions, inquire about FYN services and learn how to sharpen their metal tools.  Droves of pollinators, bees, birds and butterflies, also joined the landscape of the many ornamental and native plants covering the 2.5 acre site.

 Jacksonville City councilman, Matt Schellenberg and Councilman at-large, Sam Newby
 presented a certificate/letter from Mayor Lenny Curry sending congratulations to the
 contributions both groups made together over the last 3 decades (see photos below). 

First Stop -Marcia Lancaster, Mary Forester, and Mary Kay Weis

Earl Keller at the Vegetable Garden

Holly School between the Ginger and Perennial Beds

Marlys Golatz and Mary Clark in front of the Repurpose Garden
Lora Lewis and Nancy Traver checking out the Potager Garden

Friday, September 28, 2018

Monarch Milkweed Initiative

Self proclaiming yourself as a gardener, also carries a few unspoken titles along the way such as, stylist of dirty clothing, scientist of Florida's extreme heat index, and a versatile consumer of both sunblocks and bug spray. Suffice it to say, we endure the not so pleasant labors of gardening because the rewards of having a well manicured lawn, blooming gardens and bountiful food crops is rewarding to ourselves, our neighbors and the environment. But make no mistake, every gardener knows they do not achieve success as a human being alone without the contributions of nature. The pollinators and wildlife work their own kind of magic with an equal amount of devotion to

Alongside honey bees, another group of natural winged do-gooders are the butterflies. None of which are more recognizable in the Northern Hemisphere than the Monarch.  Not that anyone is keeping count of these graceful and delicate insects, but have you noticed seeing less and less of them over the last few decades?  Scientists estimated the Eastern Monarch population in the early 1990's was
around 700 million but 25 years later, only 25 million remain.

So what is happening in nature for such a drastic decline? Well a lot of reasons but mostly humans developing more land to live on which wipes out their native landscape, the overuse of pesticides and over plantings of non native Milkweed plants.  For those of you who may not know, the Milkweed species is the only host plant that Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on for reproduction.  Florida boasts 21 native species of Milkweed which are typically found in either dry lands or swampy areas.
Fortunately, in 2014, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service adopted the Monarch Milkweed Initiative (MMI) to promote the growth of native milkweed plants in an effort to prevent the proposed distinction of the Monarch. This prized butterfly actually migrates from Southern Canada to Mexico flying over 3000 miles (East Coast pattern). There are a number of outreach and lookout centers going down the eastern seaboard for tracking and the MMI outreach continues to build partnerships with others.

The Mandarin Garden Club has joined the conservation ranks by hosting a native Milkweed habitat for the Monarch butterflies. While Mary Howe initially created our back butterfly garden (and flourishes under Mary Clark's TLC), of which contains Milkweed plantings, and achieved Monarch Waystation status, the MMI space contains native only Milkweed beds. The goal is to improve community education and public awareness of the plight of these delicate yet necessary

We invite you to explore the western corner of the backside gardens that have slowly been carved out since mid summer in anticipation of our public day event on  October  13, 2018.  Learn more about their contributions to nature and what you can do in your own yard to get involved in the National Call to Action.

Respectfully Submitted,

Candace Gerding

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

2018 Annual Craft Fair

It's that time of year!

Fall weather (please...), pumpkin patches, and craft fairs.

Mandarin Garden Club's Annual Craft Fair will be -

9 am - 4 pm 

Mark your calendars and don't miss it.

Parking will be available in the Masonic Lodge parking lot right next door to the Garden Club.

Come shop, eat some BBQ, and enjoy the gardens.

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