Hortipopia on Google+

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When I went about searching for garden geeks in the world wide web the past several months I was amazed at the size of the garden/horticulture community on facebook, twitter, and other social media platforms . Now, I’m  exploring the social realm of Google+ to interact with other botany buffs and flora fanatics.

Are you on Google+? If you are, make sure to +1 Hortipopia’s G+ page!

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Blogger Fun at FLBlogCon13

FLBlogCon13

I commemorated the last day of summer with 300+ fellow bloggers. Sure — I could have gone to the beach or finished off some project around the house, but none of those activities would have given me the wealth of information learned after a full day at the 2013 Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference (FLBlogCon13).

This was my second time attending the conference. Last year’s FLBlogCon (along with the first conference in 2011) was actually CFLBlogCon but attendees traveled from all parts of Florida to be part of this amazing gathering of bloggers. With that newfound information in mind, organizers gracefully retired the C of CFLBlogCon in favor for a more geographically inclusive title – FLBlogCon.

With the prospect of the third annual FLBlogCon being the biggest ever, I made sure my friend Stephanie over at Everyday Ephee joined along in the blogging fun and I came equipped with fancy business cards to share with my new blog amigos.

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Expectations were high after last year’s conference and believe me when I share with all y’all that the team behind FLBlogCon13 did an awesome job planning the conference. Full Sail University served as the host venue and they were almost flawless at that role. The breakout sessions were informative and served as supplements for the notes I gathered from last year. The whole conference, again, was simply a fantastic experience.

It has been only been 9 days but I already miss FLBlogCon13. So to relive the day, here are the key takeaways that will encourage me to live out this year’s conference theme – Aiming for Awesome.

Read the rest of this entry »

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142 Days

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I hope all y’all enjoyed your Summer as much as I did because the 142-day long hiatus from blogging is officially over.

Yep, that’s right. Hortipopia Gardenblog is fired up and ready for take off.

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A Grand HORT Love Affair

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My love affair with plants began when I was a tiny first-grader. Inspired by some gardening tips printed on a pack of yogurt, mom enlisted my brother and me to help start a mini vegetable garden using seeds, soil, and yogurt cups re-purposed as garden containers. Mom didn’t know at the time – heck, I didn’t either – that her son’s newfound appreciation for plants, would endure the test of time and lead him to his current career as an up-and-coming horticulturist.

As exciting as that garden project was, though, I thought of it as nothing more than just a cool hobby to partake in with the family. Six-year-old me had other career aspirations, like growing up to be a Pizza Hut pizza maker. Ambitious, right? Oh, to be a kid again. The middle school years ushered in another career change (to become a news anchor) and high school was dominated by my dreams of becoming a meteorologist, a recording engineer, or working in the film industry.

But on one fateful day, I changed career paths once again…

For the first time in my young life, I had actually enjoyed studying for something and was bothered when an adult told me to stop.  The adult was my FFA adviser acting as the chaperone for me and my classmates participating in a series of Florida FFA 2004 State Career Development Events (CDE).  Being part of the Floriculture CDE, I was studying through flash cards with notes and images of all the possible ornamental flowering plants which I would be tested on. So here I was, surprised at my reaction to stop studying plant facts and features. The reemergence of my love affair with plants solidified on the day of competition when a 17-year-old senior new to the CDE competition circuit armed with an entry-level FFA Greenhand degree outperformed and outlasted the formidable students from Florida’s rural heartland with a Top 15 individual finish. On a chapter/team level, the suburban kids representing an FFA chapter from Miami placed third in the state. Now, working with plants was not just a cool hobby to pass the time. The signals were clear: I was fascinated with the subjects of floriculture and horticulture, and kicked butts and took names during the competition. On that day, the love affair with plants revealed itself as a promising career path in horticulture.

If the seeds were sown on my first garden project, and if a seedling emerged from the soil with my participation in the floriculture competition, then my completion of a bachelor’s degree in 2010 and subsequent start of a career in the horticulture industry represents a plant taking shape with its roots spreading underground.

This blog, a web-based garden project I call Hortipopia, will serve as a platform for me to express my love for gardens, nature, and green spaces open for the public’s enjoyment. And from this day onward, Hortipopia’s general purpose is to serve as fertilizer for the figurative plant specimen I consider my life.

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Plants of The Masters

On the weekend of the first full week of April, professional golfers and followers of the game of golf shift their attention to a quaint southern city nestled on the Georgia-South Carolina state line.  Augusta, Georgia’s “Garden City,” is home to golf’s most loved and coveted championship — The Masters Tournament.

While all eyes were trained on the professional golfers and the who’s who in Augusta National Golf Club’s guest list of spectators, I focused my attention — shamelessly, I might add — on Augusta National’s flora.  Why?  Well, ummm, how can I put this…  It’s eye candy to me and the plant life within the storied golf course plays just as much of a vital role in The Masters’ lore as the legendary green jackets.

The golf course which has played host to The Masters Tournament since its establishment in 1934 was formerly a plant nursery (you learn something new from Wikipedia everyday).  So, naturally, all 18 holes of the course are named after plants based on the association with its namesake plant.  The tributes to plants continue on from an iconic oak tree affectionately named “The Big Oak Tree” to the main driveway, Magnolia Lane, connecting Augusta National’s clubhouse to the rest of the city (read: real world).

So on this “Final Round” Sunday, please excuse me for I have righteously made my case to admire the small but mighty non-human legends of Augusta National and The Masters.

P.S. I also solidified my case for being a hort nerd, as if this garden blog isn’t proving it already.

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The Hortipopian Genesis

I want to start off this new journey with a quote that will serve as an inspiration behind this blog of mine.

Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.

— Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to Hortipopia Gardenblog and thanks for following along, from the very beginning.

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