Aug 31 2016

100 Years of National Parks

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This month, our National Park Service turns 100!  Artist George Catlin was the visionary behind the idea of creating a national park after witnessing the destruction of wildlife and culture within Great Plains in California.  He felt that these areas should be protected with the help of the government.

Catlin’s vision was not fully adopted until the passing of the Antiquities Act of 1906 designed to protect public lands with antiquities and scientific interest by creating National Monuments.  Theodore Roosevelt signed the Act on June 8, 1906.  The first designated National Monument was Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.  On August 25, 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed an Act that created the National Park Service to manage the National Monuments and Parks throughout America.

Today, many vacations include a visit to one of our 58 National Parks throughout America.  There are 6 National Parks right here in Florida!  These include the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve near Jacksonville, the Canaveral National Seashore just south of Daytona Beach, Biscayne National Park near Miami Beach, the Dry Tortugas National Park at the end of our chain of Keys, Big Cypress National Preserve just out our back door in Naples, and Everglades National Park at the southernmost tip of Florida.  Plan a weekend, or even a day trip to one of these Parks for a fun and awesome experience!

Aug 22 2016

Roberto Burle Marx

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Roberto Burle Marx, the most famous Brazilian landscape architect, and a world-recognized designer, has been the topic of many conversations surrounding the olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  Born in San Paulo in the early 1900s, he brought a unique style to the world of landscape architecture and to the country of Brazil. 

Working on many residential projects during his early career, his most famous and most visited project is the beach promenade at Copacabana.  The modernist pattern runs down sidewalk adjacent to the famous beach for nearly two and a half miles!  Burle Marx used the traditional Portuguese paving pattern but added his own style, creating a unique texture that, the most famous section, resembles waves.  In some areas the pattern becomes a series of abstract shapes, but remains black and white. Burle Marx also loved native tropical plants, using them throughout the promenade for pops of color.  

Here in Florida we use Philodendron Burle Marx, named after the famous Landscape Architect, on many of our projects.  The bright green plant grows 1’-2’ in height and spreads two to three times its height, allowing it to be used as a shrub or groundcover.  While it is native to Brazil it is used anywhere from in pots indoors, to mass plantings throughout the Naples area.  The unique heart-shaped leaf and waxy appearance help it stand out in the landscape. 

Burle Marx Philodendron

Aug 15 2016

Water features are a great addition to a garden.  They can transform an outdoor space by adding calming white noise, interest to the garden, and can even be a focal feature.

People often ask about self-contained water features for courtyards and small garden areas.  We can definitely understand why.  They are affordable, work well in small areas (because their pump equipment is typically within the water basin), and they are easy to install.  Plumbing is not required all you need is a level area and power.  

Here are a couple things to keep in mind when locating a self-contained water feature.  Their compact pumps do not have filtration or chlorination, which can lead to build up and issues with the pump.  Also because they do not require plumbing they do not have an auto fill.  You will have to periodically check the water levels and fill as needed from evaporation.   

Self-contained water features do require a little more maintenance, but if you are a hands-on gardener and don’t mind replacing the water and periodically checking the fountain it can be a great addition to your outdoor space!

To ease maintenance, run an irrigation drip to the fountain.  When you plants get watered so will your fountain!