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Palmarum

SFPS Spring Garden Tour - Miami, Florida

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Palmarum
brodklop

...Cold damage did not seem to bad. I'm amazed the sealing wax was not touched.

What were the maximum day time temps.

At each garden we visited there were visible signs of cold damage. I just didn't post many photos it as witnessing the damage was bad enough for the palm kindred there on the tour. The cold damage and to a greater extent the freeze we suffered in South Florida was very destructive. It has already been described as the worst winter for S. Florida in 40 years. Jeff Block's Red Sealing Wax Palm was indeed a surprise, but not a complete one knowing the lengths Jeff goes to in order to grow his plants healthy. During the 8 days of real bad cold back in January, the highs in South Florida hovered around 50ºF (10ºC); including a few days where the highs never reached the 50º mark.

I would have had even more photos to post of different palms and plants if it wasn't for the cold damage. The current part of the tour is a better example of this, as the cold struck Jeff Chait's garden worst of all. I know on the Forum, members have heard of those collectors who 'push the limits' of what could be grown in their zone and Jeff Chait is no different. He likes to grow popular tropical plants that are very cold sensitive, even by South Florida standards. Many of these plants were either destroyed or severely damaged and left much of his yard unable to be photographed during this tour. I had extensively photographed his great garden two years prior at the SFPS Fall Garden Tour, so I was lucky enough to had captured images of the collection before this years cold.

Ryan

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Palmarum

- 12:44PM: The street out front began to fill with the vehicles of tour goers as I made my way up the shaded driveway. The 'rainforest feel' was all around you as beds were filled to capacity, and then some. There was barely enough space for a walk inside one of the beds, just to look around. This area was at the high point in the driveway, not far from the house's front entryway and underneath the giant Talipot Palm, Corypha umbraculifera, seen earlier. This Pelagodoxa henryana is a personal favorite of Jeff Chait's and is often the first palm people ask him about, and vice versa. It has a trunk taller than me and has been flowering and setting seed for several years. Immediately to the right is another Carpoxylon macrospermum, this time planted in the shade and stretching for the light. I caught a whiff of BBQ and decided to go find the source, somewhere out back...

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- 12:45PM: The center of the backyard featured a large pool and surrounding patio, at the corner of which was this Chambeyronia macrocarpa var. hookeri. The newest leaf was in the final stages of fading to green, and still had a hint of red left in the leaflets. FM. Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) unknowingly provides scale.

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- Food. Yum. Garden Tour Host Dr. Jeff Chait himself was at the BBQ helm getting the fire going and cooking a selection of tasty hamburgers and sausages. In addition to the grilled feast, there was traditional picnic fare and an assortment of beverages and desserts. There was a ton of food and hungry tour goers made the best of it.

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- 12:46PM: Roses... Lots of roses... Palms are not the only passion that gets Jeff Chait out into his yard. Many people who know Jeff for his palm addiction are unaware of his vast knowledge and expertise in Roses, including their horticulture, morphology, habits, history and the thousands of cultivars. He is a world authority on roses and will often travel far and wide judging rose competitions at various flower shows around the planet.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 12:46PM: Lots and lots of Roses... Jeff Chait's personal collection was spread all over the yard but most of the rose bushes were here, in the northeast corner of his backyard. He has over four-hundred fifty (450) different rose bushes in his garden! Each one a different cultivar or hybrid and they come complete with their own history. Believe it or not, but this is how the roses look at their worst. They are currently in their "refresh cycle" and had a comparatively small amount of blooms. They had three times as many flowers open a few weeks prior to the tour.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 12:47PM: If a plant family or group had an interesting flower of some kind, chances are it had a representative in Jeff Chait's garden. He collects different plant groups that feature a showy flower or fragrance, including Orchids, like this Cattleya variety, also Gardenias and Jasmines.

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- 12:48PM: This White Elephant Palm, Kerriodoxa elegans, was a show stopper. The crown spanned the width of the area and spilled over into neighboring beds. The leaves were a good 8 feet (2.4m) across and were the largest of any specimen seen on the tour.

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- The crowded aspect of the garden turned simple photographs into geometric challenges. I had to lean around the trunk of one tree, while kneeling and aiming up to capture this Hyophorbe indica. The collection also had many Crotons, some of which were unnamed seedlings that had naturalized themselves.

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- 12:49PM: [chomp!] If all these different plant groups weren't enough, Jeff Chait also has a long standing collection of tropical & subtropical fruit trees, squeezed in where ever they could fit. Tour goer and collector Marie Nock bites down on a ripe Jaboticaba, Myrciaria cauliflora, fruit. The heavily shaded tree was in behind to the left.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 12:50PM: I made frequent trips out into the light to see how the lunch crowd was gathering and to use the brilliant sunshine to photograph what palms I could see from the pool patio. The tall coconut palm stretching up in the background is a unique cultivar known as the Red Dwarf Spicata Coconut, Cocos nucifera cv. "Red Dwarf Spicata". The nuts are an apricot, orange-red color and this color extends up into the petioles and rachises. They form on a single, unbranched inflorescence (hence the name spicata) and are arranged in a spiral formation. The tall Neoveitchia storckii to the right made photography of the coconut difficult but interesting. The corner of the patio held an Old Man Palm, Coccothrinax crinita.

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- After I walked over to get a closer look of the Old Man Palm, I turned around to photograph the other side of the pool patio. Marie Nock walks past one of several planted Telegraph Trees, Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula. I thought about yelling her name to get her attention, but she was dangerously close to the pool's edge and had her eyes set on lunch. The showy palm to the left of center, above the conveniently placed garbage can, is a mature Nicobar Palm, Bentinckia nicobarica. I enjoy telling people that it is also called the "Palm of the Naked People" since 'nicobar' in Malay means "land of the naked people".

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- This was one of several Vanda orchids that were blooming around the garden. Time for some food...

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- 12:52PM: I took my place in line and waited for my allotted amount of BBQ goodness. I wondered if any of those cookies would be left by the time I got there.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 12:52PM: There was plenty of food, I know a few people that took more than one trip through the line.

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- 1:30PM: During and after lunch, tour goers continued to arrive and explore the garden. The property took a bit of navigating to find, as there were many dead end streets nearby.

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- I noticed tour goers could not get enough of the rose bushes. On my way over to see them getting scrutinized, I stopped after spotting this hidden Burretiokentia hapala. It was well grown and was flowering prolifically, but was hard to see unless you were right next to it.

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- 1:32PM: "Ohh that one is nice, I like that one." People compared the roses and tried to pick a favorite but soon abandoned that idea. Too many to choose from.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 1:33PM: I could not resist a few closeups of the Roses doing their thing. I did not see any tags or forms of identification on the plants, so I have no names to apply. Jeff must have another way of keeping them sorted, short of just having them all memorized. Which is possible, knowing him.

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- 1:34PM: FM. Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) and Marie Nock argue the identify of those large Crotons near the house. This type of activity is fun to watch, as you can see how much plant crazy people can get. Tour goers were all around sightseeing between the roses and the rest of the garden.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 1:36PM: A pair of Rose bushes together with their blooms made for an 'easy to frame' image. There was one grouping of antique rose cultivars in another section that showed promise as being the next generation of South Florida-proof roses.

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- 1:38PM: Tour goers navigate the labyrinth of rose bushes. The occasional thorn prick was easily ignored. It was just like a hedge maze, just a lot more colorful.

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- 1:42PM: A small group of tour goers made their way back to the front yard via the gate, off image to the left. We had to maneuver our way around this huge clumping Pinanga dicksonii.

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- One shot featuring the ivory colored crownshafts, petioles and rachises. Describing this palm as bushy was an understatement.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 1:43PM: We were just about to open the gate and walk through when a tour goer noticed and identified the flower on this small, unassuming tree. I did not give it a second look at first, as there were many strange plants in Jeff Chait's garden that I had no idea what they were. Those of you in more northern and temperate climates would probably recognize this tree. This is a Peach Tree, Prunus persica and it had both flowers and immature fuzzy fruit.

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- I am not sure as to which type of Peach tree it is, but successfully growing any kind in South Florida is an achievement. This was one of its flowers if anyone knows Peach flowers very well.

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- 1:44PM: The entire western edge of the front yard was dedicated to another vast bed of Rose bushes.

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- The smaller group of tour goers we formed began to finish the days tour with looking through the front yard. Andrea Searle took on the role as guide as she pointed out her favorite plants to others. Obscured by foliage on the left was a very old Bottle Palm, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis with a trunk taller than the nearby roof. A Cuban Petticoat Palm, Copernicia macroglossa (familiar throughout the tour) was growing in the crowded bed in center, with a taller Blue Latan Palm, Latania loddigesii to the right. A roughed up Licuala peltata var. sumawongii was doing its best in almost full sun, located under the Blue Latan.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 1:45PM: The front yard, as seen from the west. I had to walk clear across the neighbors driveway to capture everything in one shot. The tall palms on the left are a mix of Sunshine Palms, Veitchia arecina and Solitaire Palms, Ptychosperma elegans.

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- Zooming in further to show another angle of the Talipot Palm, Corypha umbraculifera. It was the key source of shade for the area around it.

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- 1:46PM: I walked back under the canopy to find the plant related discussions going non-stop. Collector Chris Mahue and FM. Jeff Searle were going back and forth over croton history and who knows what else. The bent Coconut Palm, seen earlier from the street, can be seen just above Chris's head. If you follow the trunk to the left, you can see just part of how far it goes.

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- 1:47PM: A recently planted Dypsis basilonga gets a prime spot, just off the driveway.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 1:48PM: "Pffft... I have no idea..." On the right, Marie Nock gives Jeff Searle a puzzled look after she was asked to identify yet another unknown Croton nearby. Chris Mahue gets ready to lean on the Kentiopsis oliviformis while putting forth his two cents into the conversation. In behind the K. oliviformis are fan leaves belonging to another Kerriodoxa elegans, and those golden yellow culms to the right of the image are part of a larger clump of rare Sacred Bali Bamboo, Schizostachyum brachycladum.

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- I tried to show as little of the cold damage as possible, but I decided to show this additional view of the entryway to give an idea as to what certain South Florida collectors went through. The old Pelagodoxa henryana seen earlier is on the far left of the photo and you can see the damage on the different palms. The tall dead palm on the right 'was' a very nice Hydriastele costata. Palms that would have been in this shot include a well grown, tall combo of Verschaffeltia splendida and Phoenicophorium borsigianum. A featured tree no longer living in this garden was a record breaking Breadfruit Tree, Artocarpus altilis. It had a height of at least 40 feet (12m) and was annihilated by the cold. That tall and very skinny palm just to the right of center is an Actinorhytis calapparia, the Calappa Palm.

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- Across the driveway from the K. oliviformis seen above, was a very dense section of the yard complete with a burly Mt. Lewis King Palm, Archontophoenix purpurea.

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- Due to its size and stout nature, I thought it might have been one of the larger King Palms, like a shaded A. maxima, but when I got in closer, I spotted the faint hue of purple on the crownshaft. I also found a tag.

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Ryan

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LJG

Looks like a Cunninghamiana Ryan.

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Palmarum
LJG

Looks like a Cunninghamiana Ryan.

That's what I thought at first, and that is what it is. I had to call Jeff Chait today to confirm and it turns out the tag belongs to a much smaller A. purpurea to the right, buried under that croton and in behind a Chambeyronia macrocarpa var. "Houailou" that I was too busy staring at to notice anything else. In the past, I have seen deep shade grown A. purpurea lose that color and gain that hue on the crownshaft. The collection has also been 'chemically modified' so there were some strange forms on a few palms and plants. To maintain his outstanding Rose collection, Jeff Chait uses a spectrum of different chemicals. Since his roses are scattered all over the yard, the combination of liquid fertilizers and growth enhancements are sprayed on everything creating some well boosted plants. When I called Jeff a little while ago, he was at a plant sale getting more add-ons to his collection. Pinecrest Gardens is having their spring sale this weekend, if anyone near the garden reads this in the next 2 hours.

Ryan

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Palmarum

- 1:50PM: Andrea, Jeff Searle and myself started to work our way out of Jeff Chait's amazing menagerie of tropical plants, by way of several continuing conversations. Jeff and Chris got into a staring contest while debating something about crotons. Andrea was trying to get Jeff's attention so we could leave and start our long trip back up north.

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- Before leaving, I took one more look around the front yard and captured them still talking about crotons. It was nice to see the Jeff Chait collection once again, but the cold damage was hard to take in. Many of the palms will survive and eventually recover, but it will take some time. This is true for all the gardens on the tour.

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The South Florida Palm Society does an excellent job and puts forth solid effort in promoting palms in and around South Florida. The society's board of directors spend a great deal of time and resources towards organizing their palm related events, including the Garden Tours. While I was talking with Jeff Chait today, who is responsible for much of the society's Garden Tours, he mentioned that the next tour will be sometime in the fall and to check the website for up to date info: Link: South Florida Palm Society

The opportunity to see these collections was well worth the price of membership, especially those gardens you would otherwise never get in to see. I had photographed half of the days stops before, so for me it meant taking fewer photos of plants and focused more on the people. In the end I took a bit over 400 shots of the tour and posted the better three-quarters of them. The previous tour from two years ago included seven stops and I went crazy and took about 1300 photos in the same amount of time. To be finally able to see Jeff Blocks amazing garden for the first time was the highlight of the day for many, including me. They had originally planned to have his garden last, but he had a prior scheduling conflict with something involving a tennis tournament. If you are in the South Florida area, or plan to be in the fall, the next SFPS Garden Tour should be on your list of things to do. It is a blast to walk through such great collections with fellow palm nuts and to see every plant in person as the photos do not paint a complete 'picture'; as it is impossible to capture everything. I do try though.

Ryan

--<

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Moose

Ryan - thanks for taking the time creating this thread. In spite of the harsh winter (by South Florida standards), some very beautiful plants and gardens were experienced. greenthumb.gif

Ron. smilie.gif

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palmislandRandy

Thanks Ryan, The late start didn't allow me enough time to see Jeff Chait's garden. :bummed: The other three were each magnificent in their own way & I'm looking forward to the fall tour. The cold damage should just about be grown out by then. :P Randy

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sick1166

looks like a great and fun time i look forward to next year

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sick1166

graet pics

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amazon exotics

GREAT GARDEN'S !!! Thanks for the pics Ryan !

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bubba

This Post is so amazing that whenever I am bored, I find it and browse.It is getting to far back to find and I just wanted to bring it back so anyone who missed it can see it. The photography(Ryan)and specimens are mind boggling.All taken a couple of months after one of the coldest Winters in Florida history.

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BS Man about Palms

Thanks Bubba! (More so Ryan!)

Somehow I missed the finish...what a great day!!

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sick1166

great places

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Moose

Actually Luther you will not have to wait until next year! We are putting together a tour right now and it looks to be around Late Sept. or Oct. As soon as details are available, I will post the information on the palm talk calendar and in the affilate news thread. laugh.gif

Best regards,

Ron. smilie.gif

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bubba

This is the post I was trying to find. Does anyone know if Dr. Block's C. renda is the last in Florida? How did these burned L. grandis recover?

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Palmarum
bubba

This is the post I was trying to find. Does anyone know if Dr. Block's C. renda is the last in Florida? How did these burned L. grandis recover?

There are many more C. renda in and around South Florida, but Jeff Block's is more than likely the largest, and will continue to be the largest for a while. The population of the older landscaped specimens have been greatly thinned out. I imagine a few plants that were protected and survived, but lost the majority of their larger stems and suckers. More than likely, containerized plants spent those horrible winter days indoors.

My large Licuala grandis has come back from the cold after being treated. It is currently working on its third leaf since this past winter. I haven't seen many other populations lately, but the few I have noticed have been recovering.

Ryan

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Moose

I lost my smallest Licuala grandis. The other three survived and have recovered quite well. But I also average about 4 degrees F warmer than the gardens where we saw the L. grandis get severely burned. sad.gif

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bubba

I have been looking for this thread since the discussion commenced regarding speculation of the lack of the Red Sealing Wax Palm in Florida after the Winter of 2010. This has to be one of the most incredible private tours in South Florida as recorded expertly by Palmarum. Among the litany of incredible Palms, take a look at the gigantic RSW Palm at Dr. Jeff Block's.

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edbrown_III

This is the time of year that I wished I lived in Miami! Thanks for bumping this up

Best regards

Ed

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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

I had to go back and look at these magnificent gardens.

Does anyone know what Jeff Block uses for his fertilizer regime and frequency etc?

Regards

Wanderanwills

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