It turns out that one of the perks of writing a well-received garden book is not instant fame. I am still able to shop at my local Trader Joe’s without hiding behind oversized sunglasses, and no one has ever asked me for an autograph, unless it’s on the title page of Garden Up. But it has given me the opportunity travel to other parts of the country, and speak to groups of all different sizes about vertical gardening and small-space garden design. On my recent trip to Florida, not only did I get to speak to a vibrant and engaged group of gardeners, I also got to tour a spectacular private garden and an inspirational public one.
Can you say tropical paradise? Northern California is known for its mild year-round temperatures, but not this month. When I left for the airport it was a chilly 40 degrees, so you can imagine my delight when I stepped off the plane into the warm and balmy night air of Naples, Florida.
The Naples Garden Club is a warm and welcoming group, and none more so than my charming hostess Linda and her equally gracious husband Jerry. I arrived at their home in the late afternoon, and Linda correctly guessed that the first thing I would want to do was tour her garden. Here’s a peak at Linda’s glorious garden:
How crazy is it to see so many plants most of the country considers houseplants growing like gangbusters when planted in the ground? Crotons, copperleafs, ferns and bromeliads adorned every corner of the garden.
While stepping into a tropical paradise like this might make you think gardening in Southeast Florida is a snap, the opposite is true. The sandy soil requires constant attention, while the continuous damp invites a host of pests and diseases. In fact, several trees and plants in the front garden were slated for removal by the city.
Foliage makes up the backbone of Linda’s garden, but even in the middle of winter, I was greeted by a few spectacular blooms.
Thank you Naples Garden Club for the warm and enthusiastic reception, and a special thank you to my kind hosts Linda and Jerry for opening their home and garden to me.