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Palmarum

SFPS Spring Garden Tour - Miami, Florida

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Palmarum

- 9:54AM: There was a surplus of plant knowledge in the tour today. There were palm growers, collectors and enthusiasts mixed in with collectors and growers of other plant groups. When an identification was called for, there was at least two or three people to ask, depending on the plant family. We were heading for that strange red metal art sculpture on the patio, as it seemed a better 'tour bookmark' than anything else.

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- 9:55AM: As we were walking back, we got a showing of everything planted on the north side of the planting bed, namely this Calyptronoma rivalis...

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- ... and this giant Sugar Palm, Arenga pinnata.

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- "Oooh, that's spiny." The curious get a closer feel of the bulbous and spine-covered trunk of the Silk Floss Tree, Ceiba speciosa. The flowering shrub on the left is a Golden Shrimp Plant, Pachystachys lutea, a popular landscape plant in South Florida.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 9:55AM: The Silk Floss Tree went up and up... It's vertical growth habit and lack of grafting mark suggested this was a regular species C. speciosa grown from seed and not a grafted cultivar. Without being grafted, it may take decades to flower, which is how old this tree seemed to be... It had started to flush out again for the spring.

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- 9:56AM: The Bamboo subfamily was well represented in the garden, with several large clumps mixed in the landscape where they could fit. There were a few dwarf Bamboo species or cultivars that I did not recognize. This is a large clumb of Timor Black Bamboo, Bambusa lako which was fighting for space with a nearby Lady Palm strand, Rhapis excelsa.

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- The tour reached the pool patio that I had impulsively ran off to photograph earlier. This marked the three-quarter mark in the tour 'loop'.

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- Jeff Block was in the center of that mass, giving a short speech or description about something, I could not make it out from this distance; plus I was too busy taking shots of everything. I still don't know what that red sculpture on the right was for, but I was sure it was expensive. What ever it did, it was doing it now.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 9:57AM: When I saw this palm for the first time, I thought I knew what it was, but when I went in for a closer look I was not sure. I asked Jeff Searle and a few others about it but only got more doubt in return. I first thought it might be a Nannorrhops ritchieana, but it was flowering already, with familiar and different inflorescences. Has it started to fry your brain yet...? This is the Hobe Sound variety of the Silver Saw Palmetto, Serenoa repens var. 'Hobe Sound'. This was one ID that Jeff Block was sure about.

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- 9:58AM: This was all that was left after they got done preparing lunch.

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- 9:59AM: This large Oak Tree sat at the edge of the patio and has done its fair share of storm survival over the years, one characteristic this native is known for. It has since become host for numerous orchids and several hanging bunches of Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides.

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- 10:00AM: I was slowing edging my way to the Conservatory as I wanted to be the first inside. While looking inside through the exterior door, I took photos simultaneously including one of this Red Form, Alcantarea imperialis cv. rubra.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:00AM: The palms planted around the pool I had seen earlier, but this moment allowed me to capture them with awe inspired tour goers.

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- 10:01AM: When I wasn't peeking inside the Conservatory, I kept my camera pointed at the crowd. I was doing my best not to fall in the pool, when I shot across it to catch a batch of Forum members in the center, Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle), Randy Wiesner (palmisland) and of course, Jeff Searle. I think Jeff thought I was photographing just him.

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- 10:02AM: Jeff Block [center, w/ back to pool] continued to guide people around his yard, and calling out possible obstructions including those stairs. They were invisible when seen from the far side, and I expected to see someone trip over them into the pool, but it didn't happen. Shucks. The tour pace was getting interminable, and I didn't want to wait anymore, so I grabbed the door handle and sneaked into the Conservatory...

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- 10:03AM: It was like stepping into a whole new yard, while surrounded by another. I took some rapid area shots without the crowd at first, then proceeded to explore every nook and cranny. The entire structure was like a standard pool enclosure, (the pools original location was here) covered with heavy shade cloth. It was the length of the entire house, with a decent width and aforementioned height. Jeff had mentioned the other Red Sealing Wax Palm, Cyrtostachys renda, on the right during his introduction at the gate. He spoke of how certain rainforest species excelled out in full sun but seemed to struggle in the Conservatory, with irony. In the extreme right of the image, a tall Chamaedorea metallica var. 'Pinnate' took up residence.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:04AM: Those elegant, deeply-divided fan leaves can grab anyone's attention with ease. The bright white leaf undersides are just a bonus. This is a well grown Itaya amicorum, also known as the Miraña Palm and enthusiasts often refer to it as the "Licuala of the New World".

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- The back section of the Conservatory was fortified by a solid, coral rock wall that extended half way up the height of the structure. It was covered with a plethora of epiphytes, including ferns and aroids.

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- This palm needs little introduction, except for maybe the species epithet. I didn't even have to ask Ron to get next to this Silver Joey, Johannesteijsmannia magnifica, he was already in that spot, admiring the leaves. Those diamond leaves will eventually consume this entire spot.

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- 10:05AM: The center of the Conservatory featured a small pond, fed by a nearby waterfall in behind and was surrounded by a wrought-iron railing. Trying to absorb everything so fast was getting exhaustive. Again, I have to note the weather was flawless, in addition to the clear skies the air temperature was cool with low humidity, perfect for a tour.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:05AM: Ron Kiefert and I were the first ones in here, but sight of us walking around in addition to natural curiosity drew others inside. In addition to palms and epiphytes, the Conservatory featured Begonias, Ginger relatives, and one-of-a-kind tropical exotics.

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- Sporting some serious stilt roots, this sparse clump of Areca vestiaria var. 'Maroon Leaf' was scraping the shade cloth up above. Ron noticed how it was either pruned of suckers or wasn't growing any new ones. It had survived the cold with light damage, but should quickly recover.

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- 10:06AM: Some plants were really stuck in close together, and it was difficult to photograph them individually. The rainforest look for sure. Those stripped petioles belong to a Zebra Fishtail Palm, Caryota zebrina. The two-colored, heavy ground cover to the right is Brazilian Snow, Ctenanthe lubbersiana.

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- The tour was slowly reaching the Conservatory, as I could hear everyone outside getting closer.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:07AM: I returned to the Itaya amicorum to get some more shots, as it was looking so good and this species happens to be one of my long time favorites. I asked Ron to get in this image as I was afraid the other photos didn't fully represent the size of those large leaves.

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- 10:08AM: The unused airspace was not wasted, as several bromeliad and orchid clusters were mounted from the cross beams.

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- The center of the Conservatory was dominated by another large, Giant Tree Fern, Angeropterix sp. This one will take up a lot of space as is grows even larger.

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- The crowd slowly moved in through the door, as I looked for hidden surprises.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:08AM: I worked my way over to the western end of the Conservatory and noticed a few more shadehouses outside filled with all sorts of containerized plants. This large pot held a plant I had recently become familiar with, this is the Nun's Orchid, Phaius tankervilliae and it was just starting its blooming cycle.

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- A closeup of one of the newly opened flowers. Individual flowers range in color slightly from bloom to bloom, this one had the darker, burgundy hue.

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- 10:09AM: "What is that?" I said this to myself, out loud, as I got close to this unusual Rhapis clump. I went and found Jeff Block and asked him what it was and he said "Rhapis multifida", but it does not look like one, the leaves are too small and had much smaller, tiny inflorescences. It seems to have a bit of Rhapis gracilis in it, so it could be a hybrid between the two species... Whatever it is, it looked quite unique and would not have minded a small division...

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- 10:10AM: A garden sign stood out in front of this densely spotted Angel wing Begonia cultivar. They are hard to see, but it was bearing white flowers near the center of the plant.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:10AM: Here they come... The small walkway between the plants and the house quickly filled with people as the tour moved into the Conservatory.

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- Every collection has to have a Pelagodoxa henryana, of any size. This specimen was of good size and was not far away from producing trunk. The benefit of the enclosure, and its wind protection, would mean this palm would keep its iconic undivided leaves for much longer than normal.

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- I had to get one Croton in the topic somewhere or I would hear about it later. This is 'Tortoise Shell' Croton, Codiaeum variegatum cv. 'Tortoise Shell'.

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- 10:11AM: "Oh, how nice... Oooh look at that one." The wow factor stayed up into the high levels as people continued to "Ooh" and "Ahh" and point out everything they liked.

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Ryan

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MattyB

Great coverage Ryan. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I'm not 100%, but I think this bamboo looks more like Gigantachloea atroviolacea. The Timor Lako is usually smaller and glossier brown/black with green stripes.

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LJG

Great coverage Ryan. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I'm not 100%, but I think this bamboo looks more like Gigantachloea atroviolacea. The Timor Lako is usually smaller and glossier brown/black with green stripes.

Thanks for interrupting and trying to sound smart.

Please continue Ryan......

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Xenon

Amazing garden...!

-Jonathan

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Moose

Great coverage Ryan. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I'm not 100%, but I think this bamboo looks more like Gigantachloea atroviolacea. The Timor Lako is usually smaller and glossier brown/black with green stripes.

Thanks for interrupting and trying to sound smart.

Please continue Ryan......

Matt - how could you tell from that photo? confused0065.gif I think you hurt Ryan's feelings correcting his ID. violin.gif Now he has stopped posting on this very nice thread! rant.gif

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Palmarum
MattyB

Great coverage Ryan. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I'm not 100%, but I think this bamboo looks more like Gigantachloea atroviolacea. The Timor Lako is usually smaller and glossier brown/black with green stripes.

moose knuckle

Matt - how could you tell from that photo? ... I think you hurt Ryan's feelings correcting his ID. ... Now he has stopped posting on this very nice thread!

Lol :rolleyes: I took a break to go get some dinner, food powers the memory and the fingers. The photo came out darker than I had wanted, but there are green stripes on the culms and that is considered to be a small to moderate clump of bamboo here in South Florida. I have had containerized Timor Black Bamboo that have sent up culms without green stripes, as they emerge green and fade to very dark purple, sometimes completely and missing the stripes. I have heard from a veteran Bamboo grower I know from a nearby garden club, Mike Kellum that the better way of telling them apart is from the emergent shoots. Gigantochloa is very close to Bambusa and will probably be lumped into Bambusa in the near future.

Ryan

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Rafael

- 9:43AM: I quickly found out that when you see one specimen of a certain species, chances are there is a larger one somewhere else in the collection. FMs. Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) and Jeff Searle pose with a Coccothrinax borhidiana. This palm was much larger than the last one and had already started forming the characteristic 'skirt' of dead leaves.

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- The collection was thin in the Dypsis department, but did have a few individuals of note, including this Dypsis lastelliana the Red Neck Palm.

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- I took a few closeups of the crownshaft, leafbases and the tomentum or 'fur' for use in not only showcasing the species, but to make it easier to differentiate this palm from the Teddy Bear Palm, Dypsis leptocheilos.

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:floor:

- 9:44AM: There was motivation behind this photo, but did not know what it was.

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Ryan

:floor::floor::floor::floor::floor::floor::floor:

Excelent! Very nice, and people very happy!

Edited by rafael

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Palmarum

- 10:11AM: During the tour of his yard, you had to get in line to ask Jeff Block a question. I would say half of his time was spent with identification, the other half with describing the aspects of his collection, so he was quite busy. On the right in light blue, Tour Host & SFPS Director Tim Blake was thinking ahead to the stop at his place, which was the third garden on the tour today. That kid on the left was the only one who was bored. Even the non-plant enthused spouses and friends were getting a kick out of the tour.

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- "Harr Harr... this palm is mine!" Jeff Block holds up a leaf on his Silver Joey, Johannesteijsmannia magnifica to show everyone its private part, the namesake silver underside.

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- 10:12AM: One Jeff, two Jeff's, three Jeff's galore... A shot full of plant people named Jeff, which turns out to be a common trend for some reason. FM. Jeff Searle poses with Tour Hosts Dr. Jeff Block and SFPS Director Dr. Jeff Chait. Jeff Chait's flowering paradise is the fourth and final stop on the tour today.

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- 10:13AM: When I got surrounded by people, I would often hold the camera up to get a low aerial view of the tour. And, to look for an escape route...

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:13AM: "That's interesting..." Jeff Searle and grower Bill Olson, Sr. examine something behind me while SFPS Director Sandra Farwell couldn't help but smile when she saw the camera.

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- 10:15AM: Guess who. A small corner of one bed was reserved for this Licuala mattanensis var. mapu. He looked quite happy planted with all that mulch.

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- A common sight not only on the tour but throughout South Florida, were cold damaged Licuala grandis. The topic of the past January freeze was one of the hot conversations today. We will have to wait to see how many of these palms make a recovery.

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- Nice Bromeliad. I was pretty sure the bloom was the reason this plant was on display in this prime spot.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:16AM: This bromeliad had a beautiful bloom, but I did not get the name on it. The bloom itself was very long and that red and white contrast was amazing to look at, almost reminded me of peppermint candy.

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- This large leaf tropical had some very thick leaves and a purple underside. It made me think of some sort of Medinilla sp.

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- 10:18AM: This shrub was planted just underneath the plant pictured above and seemed to be a colorful Clerodendron relative. Jeff Block had mentioned the genus, but what I wrote down didn't seem to match up with anything. It began with the letter "H" if anyone knows this plant.

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- Randy got in a staring contest with the Pelagodoxa... "You will be mine, surrender!"

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Ryan

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Jeff Searle

Ryan,

What excellent coverage and photos! The PRA of the year! The selection of palms, tropical plants, orchids, cycads, and everything else we saw, was just amazing. The crowd was somewhere around 50 or so, and even though there were only a handful of forum members there, it still turned out to be a beautiful day for touring palm gardens in south Florida. After just going through one of the coldest winters on record, this really got people in the warm/spring frame of mind.

Look forward to the other gardens......

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GTClover

What great coverage and Fabulous Photos!:drool::drool::drool:

Thank You!! I look forward to this every night and we are only on the first garden! The only thing better would to have been there.

Susan

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BS Man about Palms

Great coverage Ryan. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I'm not 100%, but I think this bamboo looks more like Gigantachloea atroviolacea. The Timor Lako is usually smaller and glossier brown/black with green stripes.

Thanks for interrupting and trying to sound smart.

Please continue Ryan......

Good thing I'm deaf...

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Wanderanwills

Great slide show of a magnificent garden.

Regards

Stephen

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John in Andalucia

Ryan - your coverage is pure, nitrous oxide - inhaled or otherwise! Thanks for more great photos.

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palmislandRandy

I'm certainly not going to compete with Ryan's extensive PRA coverage, I'll add a few overall garden photos. :)

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palmislandRandy

In mature gardens, it pays to look up. :D Randy

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palmislandRandy

Unbeleavable, but this entire property is a little under an acre, per Dr Jeff Block, the proud owner! :D

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palmislandRandy

Heres a few more. I'll wait for the tour guide Ryan to catch up! :winkie:

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Palmarum
palmisland

Unbeleavable, but this entire property is a little under an acre, per Dr Jeff Block, the proud owner!...

Thank you for posting your photos Randy, as I see a few palms and plants I missed on my way through the garden, including that Coccothrinax, which I can't seem to remember where that was. Too many plants, so little time. I am glad this tour was limited to four gardens, as the last SFPS tour I went on two years ago included seven properties with even less time per stop. You reminded me of the 'property size' challenge Jeff Block gave us while we were standing at the gate. He asked us to guess the size of his property and to give him our guesses before heading to the next garden. It turned out to be 0.98 acre (0.40 hectare) in size and deeply rectangular in shape, what we call here in South Florida a "band-aid" lot. He has done an excellent job in maintaining the collection and adding to it. If you were thinking about finding Jeff Block's place on your own, you can forget about it, as it periodically moves to a new location; just like how the island does on the TV show LOST.

Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:19AM: In behind the Pelagodoxa henryana, a trimmed Kerriodoxa elegans was putting out a brand new leaf. This palm would have to be trimmed heavily if Jeff doesn't want it to take over with a huge footprint. The contrast between the glaucous leaf undersides and nearly black petioles are but one key feature of this grand palm.

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- I followed those stepping stones under the palms in the above photo and they led to a concealed pathway that went between the waterfall and the back wall of the Conservatory. Neato. That crownshaft on the right belonged to a Chambeyronia macrocarpa var. hookeri.

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- 10:20AM: The tour continued, and Jeff Block reached the end of the Conservatory, stopping only to identify a plant or two. That leafy plant on the right, in the center of the bed is another type of giant tree fern, different than the other ones we had seen.

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- 10:22AM: Not every palm or plant in a 'rare plant house' needs to be rare, all that matters is that it is wanted. This Licuala spinosa was growing very well and the shaded environment gave it a more spread out and delicate look.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:22AM: A few moments were taken while at the corner of the Conservatory for questions and answers before we moved on to the next area. To the left of center, Jeff Chait checks the time as were getting close to garden transition...

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- 10:23AM: I took a quick run through to search for any details I had overlooked. There were many beds of planted Begonia varieties mixed in throughout the Conservatory, this was just one.

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- Here is an upfront shot of the waterfall I kept mentioning. It was working, as the flow was low and quiet and even with the flash it was hard to make out the moving water.

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- 10:24AM: Time to move on, literally. I followed Jeff Block through the door and he asked me to hold it open. While serving as a door stop, I took this photo of people wondering why I was holding the door open... Jeff was trying to ferry people through to try and keep to the schedule.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:26AM: We left the Conservatory and entered a small patio filled with various planted and mounted Orchids. A few were grown as terrestrials while some were mounted on cork logs. The majority were in bloom and even the few plants we could see added up to a nice collection. I figured this might have been a staging area for plants before they got mounted or planted out into the yard somewhere.

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- 10:27AM: One of several Vanda orchids in bloom. There was no tag I could see for ID purposes. Try to guess which tour goer those fingers belong to.

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- With the Conservatory on the left and the larger of two shadehouses on the right, we had plenty to look at while we walked back and forth over the patio. There was one utility/work area behind me and I will spare you the view of the one 'dirty' area.

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- 10:28AM: "It's just sticks and flowers." A brief but accurate description by one tour goer of this unique type of Orchid growing inside and outside of a circular mesh trellis.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:28AM: The scheduled time to move onto the next garden was a couple minutes away and a few tour goers made their way out, while most of us stayed a little longer. The trunk of that giant Cuban Royal Palm, Roystonea regia, that we saw at the beginning of the tour can be seen straight ahead between the house on the left and the pump shed on the right; as we were not far from the gate. We had reached the end of the 'loop'. Speaking of the pump shed, people began to gravitate over in that direction as people wanted a closer look at Jeff Block's operation...

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- 10:31AM: The pump shed housed the bulk of Jeff's irrigation equipment, including a Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) filtration and purification setup, a few different Dosmatic proportional chemical injectors for delivering water soluble fertilizers and fungicides, a network of pipes, valves and nearby storage tanks, and the all essential battery of electric pumps. It was all religiously maintained and everything had to be either heavy duty aluminum or stainless steel, as the R.O. water would corrode normal steel quite efficiently.

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- 10:32AM: As we gathered around the pump shed, Jeff Block came over to describe and explain how everything worked. He started with the Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) system and mentioned how it was the basic element to how he keeps everything looking so well. To get the needed amount of R.O. water ready for each irrigation cycle, he uses a 1,000 gallon (3785 liter) storage tank to hold ready-to-use R.O. water after it had been processed. SFPS Director Lenny Goldstein happened to be standing in front of the tank when we turned around to look at it.

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- 10:38AM: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." Listening to Jeff Block describe everything about his irrigation, was like finding the Wizard of Oz at his controls and forcing him to tell how it all worked. The different processes were electronically controlled so much of it went on automatically.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:40AM: The head nodding was contagious as everyone silently agreed to what Jeff Block was saying about plant requirements and fertilizer. They were getting hypnotized by his conversations as the 10:30 mark came and went.

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- 10:41AM: The smaller crowd drew more die-hard growers and enthusiasts over to the pump shed as the remainder of the tour goers had left to go onto the next garden.

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- I took advantage of the patio recently made devoid of foot traffic to photograph the larger shadehouse.

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- It mostly contained Bromeliads of many different varieties and species. This is what happens when a gardening hobby explodes. In addition to the assortment of Bromeliads, I did see one palm...

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:42AM: Standing by itself on a bench, this ready-to-plant sized Silver Joey, Johannesteijsmannia magnifica drew palm people into the shadehouse like moths to a flame.

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- This individual might be a future garden member or be serving as a potential backup to the larger one in the Conservatory. Either way, it was great eye candy. I heard the conversations outside dying down so I knew it was almost time to go.

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- 10:43AM: The remaining stragglers began to thank Jeff Block for his time, information and hospitality as he graciously allowed us into his garden to ogle his great plant collection. We made our way out towards the gate one last question at a time.

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- 10:44AM: I take portraits and poses when I can get them, especially when people volunteer. In the last photo of the series with Jeff & Andrea Searle, Jeff had asked Andrea if they could stop for ice cream on the way to the next garden and she said no, so he started to pout.

RDG2010-03-27_10-44-06.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

- 10:45AM: We headed down the driveway and out the gate as the next garden beckoned. I stopped for a second for capture a shot of this grouping of Cycas circinalis and the surrounding bed. The smaller shadehouse can be seen beyond that wall. After a short walk to Jeff's truck, we were off to the next garden, after bidding farewell to Jeff Block's amazing yard...

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Garden #2: The John Greenleaf Estate

- 11:07AM: "Wow, this must be the place." The palm collection stood out from a distance as the taller specimens could be seen from almost a block away. After a short drive through the posh areas of Miami, we arrived to find the yard full of palms and palm crazy people. I was instantly impressed by the large amount of mature palms.

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- 11:08AM: Right on the corner of the property lived a giant. A nice giant that allowed us to walk around and worship palms in peace. This behemoth is non-other than Corypha utan, the Gebang Palm. FM. Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) had the honor to pose with it, before it reached down and ate him.

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- I had to step back a good distance to get all of the palm to fit into the frame. I got a little closer to get a shot of the colorful, spirally arranged leaf bases. The petioles were heavily armed with some serious, black serrated teeth.

RDG2010-03-27_11-08-44.jpg

Ryan

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Moose

- 9:37AM: A few of us went back over to the mystery Pinanga to decipher its identity. As we were checking out details, I got a scale shot with Forum member Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) and veteran grower and Croton expert Marie Nock.

RDG2010-03-27_09-37-04.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

- 11:09AM: John Greenleaf's vast collection of palms began right along the street, out in front of his house. We started right here with an over-sized oval bed that was full of palm species and few other plant types. A definite palm nut if I ever saw one.

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- John is in the back of that group and hard to see at this moment as he gave a short talk introducing himself and his garden. People continued to arrive as we began the tour, as we figured a few tour goers got lost on the way here.

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- 11:10AM: The oval planting bed had many mature, large and understory palms all mixed together but one palm that immediately stood out was this very tall Buccaneer Palm, Pseudophoenix sargentii. It seemed to throw caution to the wind and grow as tall as it could with long internode rings and a lack of the typical bulge.

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- On the right side of the front yard, or the north-east corner, there was a palm laden island surrounded on all sides by driveways and the street. It had a few cycads and other plants, but again the huge majority of trees were palms. Palms that can be clearly seen in this photo from left to right: Teddy Bear Palm, Dypsis leptocheilos with decent trunk, A rosette Bailey Palm, Copernicia baileyana (with a larger one in behind and towards the right) and the bed ends with a grouping of Bottle Palms, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis, in different sizes.

RDG2010-03-27_11-10-20.jpg

Ryan

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Tassie_Troy1971

WOW i am blown away - what an amazing garden on a grand scale !

Thought Howea forsteriana didn't do well in Florida ,Jeff Blocks looks perfect !

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Wanderanwills

- 10:28AM: The scheduled time to move onto the next garden was a couple minutes away and a few tour goers made their way out, while most of us stayed a little longer. The trunk of that giant Cuban Royal Palm, Roystonea regia, that we saw at the beginning of the tour can be seen straight ahead between the house on the left and the pump shed on the right; as we were not far from the gate. We had reached the end of the 'loop'. Speaking of the pump shed, people began to gravitate over in that direction as people wanted a closer look at Jeff Block's operation...

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- 10:31AM: The pump shed housed the bulk of Jeff's irrigation equipment, including a Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) filtration and purification setup, a few different Dosmatic proportional chemical injectors for delivering water soluble fertilizers and fungicides, a network of pipes, valves and nearby storage tanks, and the all essential battery of electric pumps. It was all religiously maintained and everything had to be either heavy duty aluminum or stainless steel, as the R.O. water would corrode normal steel quite efficiently.

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- 10:32AM: As we gathered around the pump shed, Jeff Block came over to describe and explain how everything worked. He started with the Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) system and mentioned how it was the basic element to how he keeps everything looking so well. To get the needed amount of R.O. water ready for each irrigation cycle, he uses a 1,000 gallon (3785 liter) storage tank to hold ready-to-use R.O. water after it had been processed. SFPS Director Lenny Goldstein happened to be standing in front of the tank when we turned around to look at it.

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- 10:38AM: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." Listening to Jeff Block describe everything about his irrigation, was like finding the Wizard of Oz at his controls and forcing him to tell how it all worked. The different processes were electronically controlled so much of it went on automatically.

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Ryan

That is a better irrigation/fertigation system than I have seen at most commercial large scale nurseries in Australia!

Very serious stuff.

Regards

Stephen

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Palmarum

- 11:10AM: The island of palms extended back towards the house and had a nice selection of residents. At this point in the tour, most of us were exploring the front yard on our own; with a small group following owner John Greenleaf as he spoke about his favorite plant family, palms. An Old Man Palm, Coccothrinax crinita, dominated this point of the island. It was well grown and had a thick layer of hair. To the right is an unfortunate victim of the freeze, a Licuala grandis with heavy leaf damage, but still with potential for a comeback.

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- The oval bed at the front of the house was packed with palms, but still had plenty of room for more plants. This was a nice surprise as you don't see that many Pseudophoenix lediniana around in collections. John's entire yard was a propaganda poster for Caribbean palm species. It was by far, the most used palm group, as I am sure Ron would agree.

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- 11:11AM: A mere jaunt led Ron and I nearby to this glowing white Copernicia ekmanii.

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- Giants tend to travel in pairs, as there is often safety in numbers. Down the driveway from the Corypha utan was this oppressive Borassus aethiopum which in scale made Jeff Searle's adjacent Ford F-250 look like a toy truck.

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Ryan

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