Ich Liebe Boktoberfest

On my fourth visit to Bok Tower Gardens, first time without the company of classmates and instructors, I experienced pure joy. The Boktoberfest Plant Sale was everything I expected it to be and a lot more. There were just so many activities planned to suit everyone’s tastes and preferences: food and beer for the foodies, plants on display in the gardens and for sale in the vendor’s marketplace for the plant enthusiasts, several examples of fine architecture for the design-minded, Bok Tower’s carillon and lederhosen-clad musicians at the Oktoberfest Show for those with an appreciation for all kinds of music, tree climbing demonstrations for the daredevils, and horticultural seminars for the life-long learners.

With so many options, what did I do? Well, I’ll let the photos tell the story…

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“Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” — Edward W. Bok

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Autumn’s Herb Garden Collection

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Just because the leaves are starting to fall for some of our distant neighbors, doesn’t mean that all plants will be going through a dormant period. Just like garden mums, the following herbs can be grown during Florida’s autumn.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Sweet basil is sensitive to the cold so this herb will fare better in a protected environment in northern FL. But let’s be real for just a second, seems like cold winters in the sunshine state is a thing of the past so I guess basil will do just fine down here. In the off chance that Florida does experience some hard freezes, your extra effort in protecting your herb garden will yield some home-grown basil leaves to enhance one (or several… I won’t judge) delicious margherita pizza. Bon appetit!

Dill (Anethum graveolens)

This herb is a proud perennial plant in Florida’s zones which pretty much means you can consider Dill a staple in your edible garden. Just make sure you plant it where it will receive the most sun light it can get. Also, being that dill pickles get their name from this herb, you may want to include cucumbers as a companion plant in your garden. I sense a homemade dill pickle culinary project is in your future.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley is an annual or biennial herb that grows well in Florida and quite versatile in cultivation. The leaf parsley cultivar is used for many culinary uses including my favorite of all – Tabbouleh salad. There is also another cultivar that is commonly used for its roots, which looks similar to the parsnip with a different taste, as a cooked vegetable. For those interested in Parsley’s usage beyond the kitchen, this herb attracts some butterfly species as well as smaller birds like the goldfinch.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme grows best during the summer but it can take hard freezes and tolerate drought conditions. This herb is available year round as a greenhouse crop so if you have (or can create) a greenhouse-like ecosystem in your backyard, this is the plant for you. Thyme is used fresh and dried, whole sprigs with stems or just the leaves. Also, there are medicinal values with oil of thyme commonly used as antibiotic and antiseptic remedies.

There you have it!

Go on with this knowledge and grow yourself your very own herb garden. If you’re a confident gardener, you can start the experience from the seedling stage. If you’re more about instant gratification, visit your local garden shop to purchase a tray of fully emerged herbs and plant them in your garden. Whatever methods you wish to choose make sure to share your photos on Hortipopia’s facebook page or tweet me @victorculturist.

Happy gardening!

Category: Autumn Gardening 1 Comment

The Mums Are Here!

For the past three years I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming autumn and the month of October by installing garden mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium) in the gardens of my workplace. Mums are one of the four signature crops in our seasonal rotation, and to complement their beauty, the team adds decor and hard-scape elements in the workplace’s garden beds. Some of those elements include pumpkins, gourds, hay bales, straw… Pretty much anything that gives you the sense of autumn.

Mums by the barn.

Mums by the barn.

Garden mums are also known as hardy garden mums but if you ask me, they are more fragile than robust when I’ve worked with them. I have to be extra careful in handling them because they will fall apart just by looking at them. Though, work requires me to install 2,000 garden mums in a conservatory-like interior garden (4 acres in size) with thousands of guests walking around in a given day.

Maybe garden mums are better suited outside in a smaller garden. I’ll have to try that theory out in my personal garden one of these days.

Do you have a personal story about garden mums you would like to share? Would you be so kind to offer any tips? Leave them in the comments section below.

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Central Florida Garden Scene: October Edition


I like plant sales too, squirrel buddy.

October is seven days old already? Sheeeeeeesh.

I have my work cut out for me and I need some fun activities to balance out the work-to-fun ratio. The timing of this realization seems perfect because there are several garden-related community events planned for this month. Here are a few of them:

Boktoberfest Plant Sale: October 19

One of my favorite botanical gardens, Bok Tower Gardens, is hosting their annual plant sale infused with all of the great aspects of Oktoberfest. Boktoberfest Plant Sale promises to be more than just the average plant sale with the availability of food and drinks in this event. Done. Say no more. I’ll be there on the morning of Saturday October 19th.


Ghost Stories: October 25

Orlando’s Harry P. Leu Gardens will be hosting an evening of eerie stories the Friday night before Halloween. Their collection of camellias and Leu House Museum will serve as the backdrop for Ghost Stories. Organizers have even included a warning for this event so it seems like the fear factor is legit. Bring it on!

Honorable Mentions: varied dates

The other outings for October don’t have set dates…

I’ve been wanting to visit the Winter Park Farmer’s Market for quite some time. Hopefully, I’ll sacrifice sleeping in on a Saturday to venture over to the good ole city of culture and heritage.

Next is the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Believe me, Epcot makes it easy for me to make this wine and dine event into a plant-related activity. I’ll share photos to prove it.

Lastly, and don’t be alarmed, I’ll be visiting a cemetery for research related to a blog post I’m working on for Halloween week.

Happy Monday, y’all. The comments are yours.

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