Category Archives: Horticulture

Cactus Flowers – Before and After

This morning, I happened to go into the front guest room and looked out the window (I’m nosy at times) to see if there’s any action outside.  Going out to spend some time in the off-chance of meeting one of my neighbors is not likely at this time of year in South Florida.  We venture out just to go to the store or to meet friends or family for lunch or dinner out.

I thought my eyes caught something unusual in the landscape bed.  Looking again, yes!  Flowers were popped out of the big old cactus.  It’s more than 10 years since that had happened!!  I must take photos of that.

Grabbing my handy little camera, out I went.  The heat and humidity that greeted me was like running into a wall.  No wonder I’ve almost become a hermit lately!

The following 4 photos show the “after” photos, which I took today.


cactus 4cactus 1cactus 3cactus 2

The next 4 were taken 10 years ago.

Cactus Flower-Second One-2005-3Cactus Flower-Second One-2005-2Cactus Flower-First One-2005-2Cactus Flower-First One-2005

I wonder if this is the type of cactus that blooms every 10 years.  They are truly mysterious plants!


Bee Crisis: More Than 40 Percent of Honey Bee Colonies Lost

We are losing our bees at an alarming rate. They are vital to the growth of our food crops. The use of certain pesticides must be stopped.

The Fifth Column

(Photo: Dead Bee via Shutterstock) Beekeepers have reported losing more than 40 percent of their honey bee colonies over the last year. (Photo: Dead Bee via Shutterstock)


A dangerous new pattern in the bee crisis is alarming researchers and advocates. For the first time ever, beekeepers are losing more bee colonies during summer months than the cold winter months.

Beekeepers have reported losing more than 40 percent of their honey bee colonies over the last year, according to a recently released survey.

Why such alarm among experts and activists alike? Two thirds of crops require pollination by bees – that’s one out of every three bites of food we take.

The survey, conducted each year by the Bee Informed Partnership (BIF) in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America, included responses from 6,000 small-scale and commercial beekeepers from all 50 states to help assess the health of our nation’s honey bee colonies. The…

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An Update On What’s Happening With Florida’s Medical Marijuana Law


The Florida legislature passed legislation last year, allowing the growing and use of medical marijuana; however, before anything concrete could be accomplished, the Florida Department of Health’s efforts to write regulations bogged down in legal challenges from growers, court rulings and bureaucracy.  The main problem was with the Florida Growers’ Association.  The Department of Health was stymied.  How could they choose which growers would be granted the 5 licenses?  So, the case went to court, but the court threw out the parts of the new law associated with choosing the beneficiaries of the licenses.


The Orlando Sentinel published an article on Jan. 19th by Scott Powers entitled,

State pot committee heavy with commercial interests.”

Now, this is self-explanatory, isn’t it?  You don’t have to dig deep to understand what is going on.  But, I’ll give you just a “smattering:”

So, the Department of Health decided to form a committee which would decide on rules to which growers would have to adhere.  Sounds simple.  But, there is a catch 22 with this committee formation.  You can see it now, right?

After the court decision, a 12-member panel was formed, which includes Winter Garden nurseryman Bruce Knox and at least eight others in position to make money from the law.  I can see it now:  hands rubbing together and smiles of glee while thinking of all THE MONEY that will be handed to them.

money in hand

Never mind that there are lives at stake here. Never mind that time is running out for patients who suffer from multiple daily seizures; any one of them which could be their last.  Never mind patients are suffering from great bodily pain.  Never mind that patients are becoming addicted to pain medication; without which living is intolerable.  Never mind that a large percentage of the very sick patients will NOT be able to AFFORD the prices of medical marijuana.  Never mind that, if patients are lucky enough to have medical insurance, their insurance will most likely not cover the expense of medical marijuana, or make the prescriptions very difficult to fill.  Never mind that perhaps not all physicians would be willing to write prescriptions for “pot.”  Never mind that chronically ill people are too sick to work, and are losing their employment – losing their income – losing their lives.

The committee will convene in Tallahassee on Feb. 4-5 in order to create rules replacing those thrown out in December by Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins of Tallahassee.

At least 9 of the panelists represent Florida growers and other companies that could get involved in the budding Florida legal cannabis industry.

florida growers

“I think the [D]epartment [of Health] has been very thoughtful and mindful to try to create a group that stands the best chance of creating the regulatory framework that is going to make it successful,” said Knox, whose nursery, founded in 1962, annually produces about 125 million plants, mostly seedlings for wholesale growers.”

Yes, “thoughtful and mindful.”  Sounds about right.  “…creating the regulatory framework…”  Hmmm.

A committee seat went to a Colorado grower, Joel Stanley, whose company created the most well-known brand of cannabis oil called “Charlotte’s Web.”  It is believed that Stanley’s brand will probably have a great influence on the Florida marijuana crops.  So, Colorado growers are going to profit, too.  Why not join the crowd.  Share in the spectacular “crop” of money, as long as they are at it.

A botanist, Darrin Potter is on the committee, as well as Jill Lamoureux, a lobbyist for CannLabs, a product testing firm in Colorado.  The crowd is growing.

Holley Moseley, whose daughter RayAnn suffers dozens of seizures a day, was appointed as the patient advocate representative. She helped found Realm of Caring Florida, a Sunshine State franchise of Stanley’s company, Realm of Caring.

Three seats went to Miami horticulturalist and anesthesiologist Dr. Jeffrey Block; Tallahassee lawyer Donna Blanton; and Office of Compassionate Use Director, Patricia Nelson.

Here are some subscriber comments to the Orlando Sentinel article:

“It seems the industry will be defined by the foxes in the henhouse. An example would be nursery owners on the committee setting a soil test standard that matches the conditions of their soils, but not competitors’. It may not have any benefit to medical users, or might reduce effectiveness, but it solidifies the control of the committee members to ensure they get the business, rather than other vendors. NO vendors or providers should have voting positions on the committee. The result will be rules that benefit certain providers and not necessarily result in the most effective medicine.”

“Yes, it’s a sin against democracy to have interested businesses write the rules that will allow them to profit, but the Legislature set it up like that. Five dispensaries for a population of 19.5 Million people; I have never heard of a more absurd scheme. If you estimate from Census data that about 10% of the total population may benefit medically (elders at 5%, disabled at 5%, low estimates), that’s almost 2 Million who would be using the services. So, each nursery will serve 400,000, roughly. If they were open 365 days, that would mean serving 1,096 customers a day. Is that feasible? Not for patients, maybe for the businesses that will be hitting the jackpot. That’s not “compassionate”, it’s monopoly, but it is taking forever and the people who are suffering pay the biggest price. That’s the bigger sin.”

“The article sort of paints a picture of farmers wearing overalls. The Good Ole Boys hire the lowest cost workers to do their job for them because the state grant[s] them exclusive license. They aren’t farmers, they are bankers. They will not be able to produce medical grade cannabis with this absentee landlord plant. The only thing that will happen is that they will contract the growing out to people who can do it. With the cost of middlemen, granted as favors by politicians, the price will not be competitive and patients in Florida will have to wait until 2016 when our amendment passes.”

“If you liked the show Big Brother, then you are going to love this. Partnerships within this committee should begin soon.”

“Holley should bring her daughter to the meetings, just to keep the members focused on what the real issue is.”

“Greed is so ugly when you get to watch politicians legislate for the bucks.”

No one is getting fooled by the antics of the Legislature and its “committee.”


[Images from bing dot com]


A lovely poem about weeds in the garden.

Where Art and Nature Come Together

Considered the world’s most prestigious competition of horticultural art, Mosaiculture was displayed at Montreal Botanical Garden in Quebec, Canada, last year. More than three million flowers were raised in greenhouses throughout Quebec, and then shipped to the gardens in May, where designers wrapped them in steel meshes to create living works of art. The sculptures were created using steel or aluminum forms that were wrapped in metal mesh, filled with earth and planted with flowers, ivies and grasses whose foliage provided texture and color. Interior watering systems and growing medium were added so that the flowers could last all through the summer till the end of the exhibition in the end of September.

I invite you to enjoy these amazing images:

Lemurs.  This line of lemurs was featured at the entrance.

Lemurs. This line of lemurs was featured at the entrance.

Mother Earth

Mother Earth

Water is a gift of Mother Earth, enjoyed by wild horses and eagles.

Water is a gift of Mother Earth, enjoyed by wild horses and eagle.

Lady and Cranes - taken from a Chinese myth.

Lady and Cranes – taken from a Chinese myth.

Lady and Cranes - from a different perspective.

Lady and Cranes – from a different perspective.

Man Who Planted Trees

Man Who Planted Trees

Crouching Frog

Crouching Frog on lily pad.

Cobras.  Some of the creations were very high.

Cobras. Some of the creations were very tall.

Clown Fish

Clown Fish swimming among sea grass.

Barn Owl.  One of my favorites of the display.

Barn Owl. One of my favorites of the display.

 Bird   Tree.  This huge sculpture is 40 feet high and they built  special high bridge at this end so people could take photographs more easily.  Every branch becomes a different bird. The wing span of the condor must be at least 8 feet.

Bird Tree. This huge sculpture was 40 feet high and a special high bridge was built at this
end so people could take photographs more easily. Each branch became a different bird.
The wing span of the condor was at least 8 feet.

Big Flowers.  Notice the large bee at the right.

Big Flowers. Notice the large bee at the right.

 Butterflies.  They are about eight feet high and stood outside the Insectarium, a building housing exhibits of insects.

Butterflies. They were about eight feet high and stood outside the Insectarium,
a building housing exhibits of insects.