Feb 20 2017

Did you know Thomas Jefferson was a landscape designer?  Yes, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States was also a pioneer in American landscape architecture.  Jefferson designed the Gardens of Monticello for his plantation Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia.  Most of his ideas were his own, but he gathered materials from travelers from all over the United States and other countries.   

The Pavilion

Jefferson was also known for creating the masterplan for the campus of the University of Virginia.  His original architectual design revolves around the Academical Village which remains in use today.  But his greatest impact he had within the ladscaping world was his advocacy of the grid for the subdivision of territory and for rational town planning.

 

 

Feb 07 2017

A relative newcomer to the citrus clan, grapefruit resulted from a cross between a sweet orange and a pummelo.  Some say the grapefruit got its name because of they way they grow in clusters like grapes.  But there have been many names for this subtropical citrus fruit.  Originally called the "forbidden fruit" back in 1750, the grapefruit was reported growing in most parts of Jamaica.  Later in 1837, it was given a a botanical name, "Citrus X Paradisi" meaning paradise citrus.  And that's just what it is; paradise in your mouth.  Not only does its tart and tangy and underlying sweetness make this a super fruit, but it is packed with health benefits as well.  Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and fights cancer-causing radicals.  This fruit has also been linked to weight loss, liver detoxing, fat burning and kidney stone prevention.

Grapefruit grows in many parts of the world with warm climates, but the United States is the main producer and consumer.  Grapefruit was introduced to Florida in the early 1800's.  Florida produces 75 percent of the domestic crop, with Texas a distant second, followed by California and Arizona.

 

Sliced Grapefruit

 

 

By the looks of it, not only an "apple a day keeps the doctor away", but a grapefruit can, too.

 

 

 

 

Jan 31 2017

In February, the US celebrates National Bird-Feeding Month.  Even in Southwest Florida, February can be a difficult month for birds.  Food, water and shelter are very important for birds in the colder months.  Creating a backyard for birds is simple and inexpensive.

There are a few simple things you can do to make your yard more inviting to birds.  For starters, limit the amount of lawn you have.  Replace some lawn grass with groundcovers.  This keeps the cost down on maintenance and watering while providing food and shleter for birds and other small animals.  Also include plants that are valuable for birds such as conifers, nectar producing plants, summer fruiting plants and nut and acorn plants. Providing water is essential.  Including a birdbath or small pond will provide birds nourishment while adding tranquilty to your garden.  Installing birdfeeders or nesting boxes in your trees can provide food birds need. Adding different seeds will increase the diversity of birds you can attract in your yard.

Providing an inviting yard for birds is not only entertaining but educating for both adults and children, all the while helping these little creatures survive in the colder months.