Angelina Lopez Catledge has been a Landscape Architect with Botanical Visions since 2006. Since the day we met her, she has constantly revealed more artistic talents! Some of them we stumble upon by accident such as this Target commercial for Spring which features a song about springtime by her band Hola Hi. The commercial presently can be seen on Univision and Telemundo. Her band wrote the song over a year ago and a friend said “That song ‘Aire de Primavera’ would be perfect for a Target ad.” Shortly thereafter, Target happened to contact an ad agency who had previously worked with their friend because they were seeking a Latin song with a spring theme and things began to fall into place! The Hola Hi duo, Angelina and Paul, met at Louisiana State University where they were both students. They now tour throughout the United States when she isn’t designing and illustrating beautiful gardens for fortunate clients in South Florida! You can watch the commercial here: Hola Hi Spring Target Commercial.
Positivity has a power of perpetuation. A good deed, a pretty object, a kind word, an exciting idea, a thoughtful gift are all offerings of goodness. When they happen, they don’t just exist for a moment never to be thought of again; they often lead to a never ending chain of more goodness, simply by being inspiring. Plants embody this concept by being en ever changing source of constant miracles as they evoke admiration, awe and wonder in their offerings of flowers, fruit, colors, textures, sounds and fragrances. Artists often harvest the beauty offered by plants and recreate it in a new way which often inspires others to feel joy, peace, gratitude and happiness. When an artist paints a flower, it reminds me of a person who takes an event and turns it into a story which can be recorded and retold. The temporary beauty of a flower offered by a plant can only amuse and inspire a few individuals who take notice for only as long as the flower lives but when an artist depicts a flower, its beauty can be spread to more people for a much longer period of time, magnifying the positive power of the plant.
We are fortunate to have a local artist in Miami who is a master of the ability to magnify the power and beauty from plants to inspire others. Her name is Maria Soto Robbins and her goal is to spread the joy she feels when painting, to people who see her art. She features plants and landscapes of South Florida as well as from her native Cuba. Her work is bold and vibrant with bright colors and the flowers in particular can pull me in to stare at them all day! Her work is available on Etsy as well as Fine Art America if you’d like to add a bit of joy to your home or work space and of course, spreading this joy as a gift is also a nice idea. Do good. Be good. Promote good. Feel good!
There’s something magical about a makeover where you can witness a huge improvement in a short time frame. The transformation of something from blah to spectacular starts with inspiration and ideas and ends with an enormous feeling of accomplishment and pride.
If you have a space in your yard that is begging for a new purpose or look or just isn’t being used to its full potential, this event is for you! Pamela Crawford will be hosting this free workshop and will be supplying the inspiration and ideas for your garden on February 24th at the Wellington Community Center at 12165 Forest Hill Blvd. in Wellington at 1:00pm.
All you have to do is show up and bring some printed photos of an area of your yard that you want to beautify and she will spend five minutes providing ideas as conceptual sketches which you can bring home. If you lack the time or ability to put the ideas into action, then Botanical Visions is happy to help. Our professional team will take her ideas and install them using top quality materials so you can get outside more and enjoy your garden! For more information on the workshop, you can call Pamela at 561-371-2719.
Pamela Crawford is an award-winning writer and designer and author of ten gardening books, four of which are specific to South Florida. Her work has been featured on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens publications as well as in numerous editions of Southern Living, HGTV Magazine, Fine Gardening, Country Gardens, Country Almanac, Small Gardens, and over 2500 newspapers. As an expert in her field, she has appeared on GardenSmart TV, the Fine Living Network, gardenloverstv.com, and numerous local television shows. She has a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Florida International University and is joining the Botanical Visions team!
South Florida is home to World’s Largest Street Painting Festival! Every year, the streets of downtown Lake Worth come alive with art by more than 600 amateur and professional artists of all ages and skill levels as the pavement gets coated in chalk masterpieces until it rains. The event takes place February 23rd and 24th on Lake and Lucerne Avenues, between Dixie Highway and Federal Highway and will also feature live music, street performers and food. This is the 19th year that Lake Worth has hosted the event and it has been gaining popularity every year. The event officially starts on Saturday at 10:00am but if you can’t wait that long, you can join the pre-party in downtown Lake Worth the night before to enjoy a “Taste of Lake Worth” Block Party with food, drinks, music and other activities.
Have you ever seen orchids that look like they are naturally growing on trees? Well, this is what they do in the wild but humans have decided to pot them up and bring them indoors. Get them back outside and you will be amazed at how much happier they look! This is a fun project that you can do in your garden and it can be completed quickly and is great for kids as well.
Step 1: Find some dreaded panty hose. I assure you, this is the only good use for these uncomfortable things, especially here in South Florida. The nude color blends in the most and knee-highs are easier to work with than the kind that swallows up the entire lower half of your body. If you only have the latter type, you can cut off the leg portions to make your own knee-highs; just don’t attempt to actually wear these as knee highs or you will be very disappointed.
Step 2: Get some orchids and keep in mind, not any orchid will do, you will want to be selective and contemplate the location a bit. Most orchids are happier when they are attached to trees rather than when they are stuffed into pots. Our South Florida climate is very conducive for growing them year-round outdoors but in very cold winters, you may see some cold damage. Dendrobiums, Phalaenopsis, Oncidiums, Vandas and Cattleyas usually do very well. A local source for Orchids and knowledge is Mickey’s Orchids in Fort Lauderdale.
Step 4: Location! Location! Location! Most orchids like filtered light, not too shady and not too sunny. Palms with “boots” (bases of old fronds that are still stuck to the trunk) have ready-made pockets, just make sure the boots are secure. Sometimes, boots that are lower on the trunk will fall off and take the orchids with them. If you are tying them around the trunk of a self-heading palm (where the fronds fall off without having to be cut), make sure you don’t tie an orchid around the top of the palm containing the sheath of the next frond to fall off. Canopy trees like Oaks and Mahoganies make great orchid supports as well.
Step 5: Cut a hole in the middle of the knee-high and put most of the root system inside with a little bit of moss to help retain moisture. The open hole should face the trunk so that the panty hose side faces outward. This will allow the roots to make contact with the trunk so they can attach. Once they attach, the panty hose can be cut off or they may have disintegrated by this time.
Step 6: Take the legs and wrap them tightly around the trunk and tie them in a knot to secure the orchid to the trunk or branch. If the plant is top-heavy, you can tie a second band loosely around the upper part of the plant or bloom spike.
Step 7: Water them. You can run spaghetti tube irrigation up the trunks with small emitters to water them with your existing sprinkler system or you can hope for rain or water them by hand with a mister, watering can or light spray from a hose. The amount of water will depend on the location and weather. Orchid fertilizer is often not necessary but may be helpful if they aren’t blooming or if they look chlorotic (off-color).
BONUS: This procedure also works with many types of Bromeliads!
It seems that the flashiest and most luxurious landscapes in South Florida include at least one Date Palm. There are several varieties and hybrids such as the Roebelenii (Pigmy Date Palm), the clumping Senegal (Reclinata), and the most massive and stately Canary Island date Palm which is the one that looks like a pineapple and often has ferns growing in the “nut” just below the base of the fronds. However, the True Date Palm which produces the prized edible fruit is the Phoenix dactylifera and is also known by its most popular cultivar name, ‘Medjool.’ So with all of the gorgeous and expensive Date Palms planted all over the place, why don’t we have any dates around here? Dates are amazing; you can throw them in the blender with fruits and veggies to sweeten smoothies or just eat them plain or with peanut butter! They are rich in dietary fiber and also contain antioxidants such as tannins, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are thought to protect against various cancers, are anti-inflammatory and help prevent macular degeneration. If you could find a date around here, you would also find vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, potassium, iron, as well as minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium! These palms can be found at high-end resorts, in front of ocean-front condominiums, gracing expensive hotels, framing gated communities, inside malls, and in medians along the beach but no one will ever find a date there in South Florida. If you found these same dactylifera date palms in the Middle East or even in California or Arizona, you’d have yourself plenty of dates. Well, it turns out, these palms don’t produce dates here because they aren’t happy in our climate. They aren’t even grown here; most are shipped in from California and Arizona and are often older trees which have declined in production so they are dug, sold and shipped by a date producing operation to Florida to make room for younger more productive palms. The main reasons that these palms don’t like our Florida climate and growing conditions relate to rainfall and soil. South Florida receives approximately 65″ of rain each year, mainly in the hot summer months as opposed to their preference of 20-40″ of rain when it is hot with low humidity. The water table in South Florida is at 2-6′ so their roots will easily be in water much of the time which is very stressful for desert loving palm trees. There are things we can do to help them stay alive such as planting in sand, in elevated beds and away from water-loving plants but they sometimes remain in a state of slow decline often battling stress induced problems such as Ganoderma butt-rot, Phytopthora bud-rot, Fusarium Wilt, Lethal Yellowing, False Smut, Palm Weevils and nutritional deficiencies. So if you’re looking for dates in South Florida, and there are plenty of reasons to be looking, then you’re going to have to go to find them in a grocery store, which I’ve heard is a pretty popular pick-up location anyway!
The sky is its own ever changing landscape. If you’re lucky, you just might catch the red light at Sample Road and Federal Highway in Pompano Beach around 6:00pm to witness the murmuration consisting of possibly thousands of Starlings who gather there each night. Technically, the word “murmuration” simply refers to any flock of Starlings just as the word “murder” refers to a flock of Crows. However, most people associate the word with what the birds are doing rather than what the birds are being. And what they are doing is creating an amazing sight which has baffled scientists, inspired poets, and entertained anyone and everyone who has cared to witness them for as long as they have shared the planet with us. The “living cloud” commences as a small flock swoops and swirls from side to side of the intersection in an ever-changing waving motion. As the sun continues to set as a backdrop, more smaller flocks join them after foraging and the formation becomes more complex and mesmerizing. Recently, a murmuration video on YouTube went viral after two women tourists were canoeing and happened upon the birds and recorded them performing their dance over the River Shannon in Ireland.
Starlings in formation can reach speeds of forty miles per hour and flocks range in size from hundreds to thousands of birds. Scientists have determined that this phenomenon is similar to an avalanche, a system on the brink, capable of near instantaneous transformation. It is one of nature’s many reminders of the Power of One; if one bird in the group decides to change speed or direction, all of the other birds would rapidly do the same because each bird is copying their six closest neighbors. Similar to a school of fish or swarming insects, scientists suggest that this is a “safety in numbers” type of dance but they haven’t fully convinced themselves of this theory. As the poet Richard Wilbur states, these birds are “Refusing to be caught in the nets and cages of my thought.”
On the second Tuesday of each month from 6:00-9:00pm, there is free movie showing followed by a moderated discussion that is open to the public at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, Florida. This series is hosted by the South Florida Audubon Society, the Broward County Environmental Education Council (EEC), the Green League of Broward and the Friends of Secret Woods Nature Center. Each month, a different movie is shown related to environmental or ecological topics to increase awareness of issues and to promote solutions as well as participation in making a positive impact in our community. This month, the movie is award winning Blue Gold: Water Wars and will be shown Tuesday, November 8th. Blue Gold addresses water issues around the globe relating to demand, usage, pollution, and control. This film shows how large corporations force developing countries to privatize their water supply so they make profits often leading to court cases and violent revolutions as the people fight for their basic rights to water. As the world population increases along with demand for our finite supply of fresh water, peace and survival may depend on who controls the water and who is able to access it.
While working in Boca Raton today, we noticed a tree full of Golden Silk Orb Weavers. I have also seen many of them in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Ft. Lauderdale. With body lengths up to two inches, not including legspan, they can appear very ominous as they dangle in the trees. They are often incorrectly referred to as Banana Spiders but their real name is Golden Silk referring to the yellow color of their webs that shine like gold in the sunlight. The webs are designed to trap a wide range of prey such as flies, bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles and other small insects. Once the prey is trapped, the Golden Silk Spider moves it to a hub rather than leaving it in place in the web. It is hypothesized that they do this in order to prevent other spiders (kleptoparasites) from coming into their web to steal it.
The males of this species are much more inconspicuous, being much smaller and dark brown, but they can be spotted in the webs occasionally. As with most other creatures you encounter, it is best to admire and observe from a distance, without disturbing them. These spiders are capable of biting, but most often, these bites will produce only localized pain and swelling which dissipates quickly. If you are still removing your own Halloween decorations, please make sure you leave these guys in place!