past month we were visiting with an old friend - Lesli Larmon down in
Palmetto at Accent Trees and Nursery. She welcomed us graciously and
made sure we all had a wonderful time. Thank-you, Lesli, I'm
sure we'll all be back!!
next Meeting will be on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at at Bill Hein's home in the Palma
Ceia section of Tampa.We
hope to see you there. PLEASE
remember to bring a chair so there will be enough seating for all, and
bring something to share in the potluck as well as the plant raffle!
No RSVP is necessary.
10-5-15, 12-6-18 fertilizer labeled as a “Palm Special” or
similar fertilizer containing 1% magnesium, 1 to 2 % iron and
and trace amounts of zinc, copper and boron.Fertilizers
that provide slow release of
their nitrogen, potassium and
magnesium are best.Applications of
these fertilizers should be made 4 times per year at the rate of 1.5
100 square feet (10 foot by 10 foot) or 1 pound to 5 pounds per
Recommended months to fertilize are March, June, August and October.Fertilizer should be applied to the entire
ornamental planting area or at least
the entire palm canopy area and watered in lightly.
Cold-Damaged Growth from Plants: Frost or freeze-damaged growth
on plants should be removed now.To
determine how much of the plant you need to cut back, gently scrape the
bark to see if the cambium layer is green (living) or brown (dead).Prune all dead material.
Plants that Require
Shaping and Size Reduction:Cut each branch separately with hand
to maintain a neat, naturally shaped shrub.Note:
Azaleas and Gardenias should not
be pruned until after they bloom.Remove
dead foliage from ornamental grasses
and cut stems to 4 – 12 inches above the ground depending on the
size of the
Watch for Pests:Lubber
grasshoppers hatch this month.They are
black with a yellow to orange
line down their sides.Young lubbers
should be hand-picked or
treated with a pesticide.Aphids feed on
the underside of new growth and cause cupped and distorted leaves.Mites thrive in the dry weather of Florida’s springtime,
sucking plant juices from
the underside of leaves.Forceful sprays
of water will dislodge both insects.Lady
Beetles and several other beneficial insects are effective predators
suppress aphids.Insecticidal soap
sprays and other pesticides will also control these critters if their
enemies do not.
Use Oak Leaves
as Mulch or in a Compost
Pile:A mulch of oak leaves around ornamental
plants will suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture and add organic
the soil.The yearly addition of leaves
may gradually acidify soils. Have your soil pH tested to see if lime is
needed.If you choose to compost leaves,
be sure to thinly layer them with manure or grass clippings to
decay process.Moisten, but don't
saturate each layer.Turning the pile
occasionally will also speed up decomposition.
Air-Layer to Propagate Plants:Select
pencil-thick branches and remove
a ring of bark about 1 to 2
inches wide, about 12 to 18 inches from branch tip.Gently scrape the girdled area to remove
green tissue and dust it with a rooting hormone.Cover
the area with a handful of moist
sphagnum moss and enclose with a small sheet of plastic tied at both
ends.Then cover with tin foil.Peel back the foil and check for roots in 4
to 6 weeks.When sufficient roots have
been formed in the moss, cut the branch below the rooted area and plant
and Old Blooms of Annuals:To increase branching and flowering,
1/2 to 1 inch of tip growth from each stem.Flowering
annuals produce blooms on the
new growth.The more branching that you
lovelier the flowering display.
bets for starting a garden this month are:
Collards, Cowpeas, Mustard,
Okra, Papaya, Peanuts, Pole
Beans, Pumpkins, New Zealand Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips (for
Parsnips (for bottoms) and Watermelons. Tropical Vegetables: Boniato, Calabaza, Malanga,
and Metula. Herbs:Dill,
Fennel, Garlic Chives, Marjoram,
Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Landica and
Amaryllis, Balsam, Cosmos,
Gaillardias, Gladiolas, Gloxinias, Lilies, Petunias, Portulacas,
Scabiosa, Strawflowers, Zephyranthes, and Zinnias.
We braved the Sunshine Skyway
Bridge this past month to get to Accent Trees and Nursery for our
monthly meeting. Lesli met us at the gate in her golf cart and
was soon speeding off to help get us situated. She had tables and
chairs for us, making it so much easier to get things ready for the
Joe and Bob
quickly set up the meet and greet table and were soon passing out
badges and signing people in,.
While waiting for people to
arrive, we had a chance to socialize, and explore the nursery. It
was a good time to get planting advise from some of our experts!
Because we knew
we were going to be setting up in a business, most of us thought ahead
and made cold dishes for the potluck.
There was lots to choose from
considering the size of the turnout. The winning dish this month was
from Scott Baker and Joe Florio - Mafongo., a dish made with plantains.
As the second place winner, I can tell you that it was very
exotic and tropical, perfect for the day!
lunch, Barry started the meeting by thanking Lesli for being so
accommodating to us by opening on her day off. Then he introduced
our new members and guests. He then gave Chip the floor to tell
about our upcoming plant sale. Chip said the sale would be at the
end of May, but Michael Collin pointed out that we would get a better
response if it were Mother's Day weekend. Sounds logical to us!
also told the group that since our membership is currently so small
that we needed to participate in Pride and asked for a volunteer to
chair the Pride booth committee. Unfortunately, no one stepped
forward at the meeting. He also told everyone that Rich Pollin
suggested we plan to set up a booth at Flamingo's Resort during a
weekend t-dance in hopes of reaching a larger audience and getting more
then turned the meeting over to Lesli who spoke on Florida native
plants and Florida friendly plants. She told us how UF is
working to produce an entire collection of fruit trees that have a
shorter freeze time, meaning they only have to have freezing
temperatures for a few hours as opposed to weeks to produce
sweet-tasting fruit. She had many examples in the nursery, and I
think she sold out of the peach trees!
meeting ended with the raffle. Lesli had selected a cartload of
plants for the club to raffle off, plus we had a decent representation
from our own gardens. Jim was the expert this month, describing
the plants and then raffling them all off.
Raffle is an important
part of the Club
Meetings.Please remember to bring a
plant or two for the raffle so that we can continue to have a good
If you do not have any plants started, then you might want to consider
visit to your local nursery or home improvement store to pick up an
plant or two.Plus, participating in the
raffle is fun!Let’s all try to keep
raffle selection top-notch in terms of number and variety!
Message from our
My Fellow Plant
hope you were at the February meeting and got to experience one of the
meetings we have had this year. As I have stated in the past,
Lesli of Accent
Trees and Nursery hosted us for a terrific meeting a couple of
years ago, and she did not let us down this time either!
For that matter, neither did
mother nature!!!! The weather was P E R F E C T and
the location delightful! What a spread Accent Nursery has,
some of the most unique plants. Of course, the food was EXCELLENT,
thanks to all of you
great cooks. Scott Baker won with the most delicious Mafongo.
all, I have heard nothing but good
This past month the
board members worked together to create a welcome kit for our newest
members. We have been discussing our newest members need to keep
them interested in the club. We need to give them a solid base of
information about us and make them feel welcome. To that end,
Bryan Hopper put together a Membership Kit – a small booklet of
information about the club that any new member would need to know
– what to bring to a meeting, what goes on at a meeting, how to
find information on the website, etc. It also includes several lists
– the board members, local gay-owned or gay-friendly nurseries,
and our club experts. Most importantly, it includes a thank-you
from us for joining the club! Rich Gill put together a
folder to present to each new clubmember which will include the
Kit, our club flyer, our refrigerator magnet and business card, seed
packets, as well as pencils, paper, plant label stake, etc. We
have discussed this for a number of years, but we finally have feet
and are developing the remaining parts to these packets.
For guests, we have decided to create a Thank-you card, thanking them
for attending, a club flyer explaining what we are about along with a
seed packet, and most importantly, a membership form.
To increase our
board has decided that we must take an active part in St.
Pete Pride in June and the Tampa Gay and Lesbian International
Film Festival in October. For the past couple of years we had decided
to forego manning an information booth in favor of advertising in the
programs. This hasn't worked as well as we would like. Both
of these events have a history of providing
us with a big audience to promote our name to and increase our
membership, so we want to actively work these events. Jim
and Eric brought
the Rakes and Blades club concept from San Diego when they moved
here and it quickly grew to become a fantastic organization! We have a
commodity that is desirable to many in the Gay community and we
that fact and use every opportunity to get our name out there. We will
need all of you to
participate in these events, and we need someone
to take charge of these two events! Please let me
know if you
are interested, and to what extent!! Thanks!!!!!
We have an excellent board
of directors who work hard for you and for the club. Although we have
shy in number, we are not going anywhere but to the next meeting,
will again enjoy the company of other plant enthusiasts and good
friends, and will partake of the great programs, delicious food,
and fantastic locations!
thank each and every club member for your past participation
involvement in Rakes and Blades. WE DO HAVE A GREAT CLUB, AND AS I
ARE GOING NOWHERE BUT TO THE NEXT MEETING!!! Hope to see you there!
Club officer contact
Click on any link to send
an email to that