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