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The 13th Annual Spring - Searle Brothers Plant Extravaganza!


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The 13th Annual Spring

Searle Brothers Plant Extravaganza!

March 3rd, 4th & 5th, 2011

- Friday, 7:55AM: The collectors and die-hard enthusiasts started to arrive around 7:00AM and took positions near the gate as usual. As soon as they saw Jeff Searle coming to unlock the gate they got closer...

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- ...only to be moved to the side to allow Andrea to pull in with the truck carrying a flowering branch, cut off a Saraca thaipingensis grown in Jeff's yard. There were plants of this species out for sale and it was a last minute decision to get a fresh example of the bloom to put out on display. The usual Extravaganza rush to get everything done in time.

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- As soon as the truck went through, everyone followed it on in. Jeff was powerless against the mob...

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 7:55AM: "Run!"

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- Forum member Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) makes his way down the road while chatting up the other customers including Cathy Burger on the right in the black.

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- They are off to the races and each one had their primary objectives in mind, whether it be the rare palms on the sidewalk or the croton section. Most were heading to grab a cart first, however.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 7:57AM: With Jeff at the wheel, I sat in the back of the golf cart and shot while he maneuvered his way through the moving crowd...looking forward, and turning around as we moved, trying to get the 'angle of the crowd'.

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- We were going as fast as we could, but some customers sprinted far ahead and started to grab plants before we even reached the sales area. As we got closer to the shadehouse, a customer had his hands full and was asking Jeff questions before he could get off the golf cart.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 7:57AM: Time to ditch the golf cart and go on foot. The mob was heading towards the shadehouse, looking for palms and crotons.

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- Cathy saw she needed to loosen up to get into the mix fighting over crotons so she shed the jacket.

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- It was not a time to be shy if you saw a plant you wanted...

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 7:59AM: Some customers had want lists, others just grabbed ones they liked. It was fun watching how they picked through the crotons.

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- Volunteers and FMs. Rob Van der Borg (Borgy230) and Jim Glock (jglock1) were keenly placed to help those afflicted with the croton bug.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 7:59AM: Must... get them all...

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- Jeff explains he can't grow everything to collector and author Paul Humann. Paul's incredible collection is quite full and it is hard for him to find plants he does not already have.

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- The Moose is on the loose... complete with list and highlighter...

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- At times it seemed like Ron and FM. Randy Wiesner (palmisland) were dividing up the best crotons between themselves.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 8:01AM: Cordylines were also popular and customers were grabbing one of each at times. They were fighting for aisle space with the Croton fans.

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- 8:02AM: One extra bonus with our customers, they will often sell the plants to other people. Plant enthusiasts are great in that regard.

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- 8:03AM: "Rawr..." I didn't know if he was waving or reaching, but FM. Jerry (Pez) was one of the first in the shadehouse to cover the length of the sidewalk.

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- 8:05AM: One customer made his way through, with a 3 gallon Dypsis carlsmithii along for the ride.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 8:07AM: An eager collector grabbed either a Burretiokentia or a Cyphophoenix species and made for the holding area in a hurry, sans cart.

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- The carts started to get full and made transit through the shadehouse difficult. The way it is supposed to be.

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- "Uh oh... hide the rare stuff here they come..." Forum members Tom C. (tikitiki) and Randy Wiesner (palmisland) strolled down the sidewalk like a duo in an old western.

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- Volunteer and FM. Jim Glock (jglock1) was as easily at home with the palms as he was with the crotons. He has experience growing many species and has a full yard to prove it.

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Ryan

South Florida

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Wow, brings back memories of last fall's sale. What a blast. I see a lot of familiar faces. I couldn't make the spring sale but thanks to Ryan, Jeff and the Glocks I managed to snap a couple of Dypsis. Thanks, all.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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- 8:11AM: I sent out quite a few copies of the palm, croton and cycad list and it was nice to see them being put to good use. FM. Mark (Mark@PalmBeach) looks through his copy while starting his palm browsing near the front of the shadehouse.

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- Near the entrance, the crotons were still being picked through rather viciously in between the surge of collectors looking for palms. Walking away on the right, Ron carries off what I think is a 3 gal. 'King of Siam' Croton.

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- 8:23AM: Sometimes one of a kind is not enough. FM. Jerry (Pez) carts off two, count them (2) Dypsis basilonga 10 gallon plants. They were going to a great home and I know the popularity of this rare Dypsis is finally taking off.

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- 8:24AM: The cart towards the left was almost full of Nun's Orchids, Phaius tankervilliae, and they were one of the more popular choices on Friday and Saturday. They had ready bloom spikes and were at the verge of opening their flowers. The customer coming towards on the right was taking off with a 'Magnificent' Croton.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 8:26AM: The Extravaganza was only open for about a half hour and restocking was already needed. Jeff had to pull another 10 gal. Licuala peltata var. sumawongii and tag it quickly for a waiting customer.

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- 8:27AM: Going on simultaneously in behind Jeff by the shadehouse intersection, Jim sells a customer on Red Sealing Wax Palms (Cyrtostachys renda) on the left while Randy talks with collectors Cathy & Lew Burger on the right.

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- 8:28AM: The yellow cart belonging to Jerry came back through yet again and this time he grabbed a specimen Dypsis arenarum. He did the move so deftly and ninja-like he finished it off with his trademark arched eyebrow. I wonder if he was being watched by the customer on the right.

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- 8:30AM: I distinctly heard the characteristic "Yoink!" sound made behind me, so I spun around to find this happy customer holding his new 5 gal. Johannesteijsmannia altifrons or Diamond Joey. He was not going to let anyone take it from him.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 8:41AM: Part smile, part palm enthusiasm featured the expression on Tom's face. He was lifting a 7 gal. Licuala peekelii all the way down the sidewalk to his cart.

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- 8:45AM: The main road outside along the landscape plants started to fill up for the morning rush.

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- Bromeliads! The colorful section was not ignored as collectors of the popular plants dived in head first.

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- Tom and Randy compare their hauls so far.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 8:48AM: The Bromeliads were back in their original area this Spring and there were many varieties. It was hard for me to tell some of them apart, but it was nice to see the collectors sorting through them.

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- 8:59AM: It was Nine in the morning and after an hour of being open, the holding area was getting full.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 8:59AM: This is the key point of the Holding Area. As soon as a customer is ready, their plants are taken from their stash in the holding area and loaded onto one of the waiting trailers; towed by a tractor or golf cart. This process is repeated many times like clockwork, thanks due in part to many years of practice.

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- 9:00AM: Looking back east along the main road, the customers are divided among the landscape plants, Bougainvilleas, and Bromeliads.

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- 9:06AM: Antonio is on his way back with his tractor to get in line by the holding area. Braden is on for the ride serving as armed escort.

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- 9:07AM: The Bromeliads were divided basically by sun and shade varieties, and were further grouped by type and/or genus. They were also placed in a designed layout to create contrast, or so I was told.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 9:07AM: I have noticed that many Palm collectors have since branched off into other plant groups. They often need plants like Bromeliads or Crotons to grow underneath their palms, which have since become tall with age.

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- When Cathy gets her sights set on a plant she will not let anyone get in her way.

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- Volunteer and President of the Bromeliad Society of Broward County, Colleen Hendrix helps a customer design her fantasy garden.

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- 9:08AM: They keep coming!

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 9:08AM: The weather for Friday was shaping up to be perfect, with only a slight chance of rain very late in the day with an over night shower possible.

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- Jerry was over in the full sun Palm area and spotted the grouping of Beccariophoenix alfredii.

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- 9:10AM: Back inside the shadehouse, the traffic was constant and customers were moving through slowly. They took their time reading the signs and studying the palms. Hopefully, they put the signs back...

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- 9:11AM: Rachel writes up a customer's order filled with all sorts of different plants including two variegated Swiss Cheese Plants, Monstera deliciosa cv. albomarginata. Similar plants were seen at TPIE about 6 weeks earlier under the silly name 'Cheesecake'.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 9:12AM: Volunteer Naftali holds a tray of small Bromeliads while his niece Michelle writes them down on the ticket. In the background, Frank 'Pops' Searle keeps and eye on everything going on.

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- Customers will often wait in the area next to the registers to get their cart load of plants moved to a trailer. This is just to make the trip out to the parking lot easier.

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- 9:13AM: The collector who grabbed the Joey, also got a few other palms.

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- 9:16AM: Volunteer Lisa writes up an order of Bromeliads, Orchids and Ferns.

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Ryan

South Florida

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It was nice meeting you at the sale Ryan. REALLY regretting missing the first day of the sale (again), though I managed to get a great deal on a fat Pseudophoenix sargentii on day two. Now I just have to decide where to plant her. Hell or high water, I will be storming the gates on the first day of the next sale!

-Chris

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It was nice meeting you at the sale Ryan. REALLY regretting missing the first day of the sale (again), though I managed to get a great deal on a fat Pseudophoenix sargentii on day two. Now I just have to decide where to plant her. Hell or high water, I will be storming the gates on the first day of the next sale!

-Chris

Hey Chris, It was good to put a face to the name, correctly this time. I am glad that P. sargentii is going home with a Forum member, it was a good deal. It takes a few attendances for some customers to know they need to get in Friday morning for the ultimate selection and for the best deals. I heard the same phrase from customers Saturday and Sunday as they were staring at empty tables and blank spaces.

- 9:16AM: "That is all mine..." The customer on the left combined all her stashes into one and then had them loaded onto a waiting trailer.

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- 9:17AM: The shadehouse sidewalk never saw a void of customers until about noon.

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- 9:35AM: A rather colorful cart load of plants, idling in the shadehouse.

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- 9:52AM: Complete with their matching palm shirts, collectors and FM. Ray & Theresa Gompf (Ray G) make their way through the sale screaming their palm affliction. They stop for a second to discuss a gallon palm with Ron, which was either a Gaussia princeps or maybe an Areca montana.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 10:33AM: The sun was climbing and lit up the sales area nicely for a long spread of photo opportunities.

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- 10:34AM: From a distance, I spotted FM. Jeff Cramer (street124) browsing through the landscape plants. Soon after, he vanished into the shadehouse.

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- 10:35AM: I was already predicting which plant groups we were going to run out of before Sunday.

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- 10:37AM: "There is room for that one right there."

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 10:37AM: Customers were buying everything that was in a pot, with or without leaves. This large Plumeria, or Frangipani, was normally deciduous at this time of the year, but this fact did not stop these customers from taking it.

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- 11:32AM: If certain plants were available in small, diminishing quantities, the sudden rarity seemed to 'jump start' customers into buying what was left. The smaller Aroids that were placed randomly along the sidewalk went fast for this reason.

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- 2:19PM: The afternoon pace of the sale started to slow down and the stream of familiar faces continued to arrive. IPS Director and FM. Larry Davis (Lefty) joined the group of us in the shadehouse to discuss all things palm related and the future IPS Biennial in Thailand.

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- 4:31PM: The Friday of the Extravaganza was a success, with two more days to go. The plant conversations were continuous and with the day coming to a close at the nursery, the topic turned to Crotons, in lieu of the Post Tour that will take place at Jeff's house soon after. The heavily minded Croton enthused volunteers and guests headed back to discuss the plants in the forbidden shadehouse.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 5:56PM: While dinner was being prepared and with drinks firmly in hand, the Post Tour at Jeff's house started in one area filled with palms and crotons. On the right in blue, IPS Director and FM. Ray Hernandez (Ray Tampa) arrived late in the day to volunteer on Saturday. Jeff points out the differences in two familiar looking croton cultivars, which happens quite a bit.

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- 5:58PM: The alcohol was flowing and the plant talk was continuous, the atmosphere was suitable to that of a well rounded PRA. The palm on the right is a thin Dypsis carlsmithii and a very robust twin Arenga westerhoutii is shading the area on the left.

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- 6:06PM: "Cheers!"

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- 6:17PM: I tend to photograph this Heterospathe cagayanensis whenever I am over in the yard. It is always in a state of looking flawless with a big crown of leaves and often in the process of flowering and setting seed. It is just about full size, has great color and is what a happy palm looks like.

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Ryan

South Florida

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Great work Ryan, what are they drinking ? the red stuff in the big glass ?

Happy Gardening

Cheers,

Wal

Queensland, Australia.

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- 6:17PM: Two more shots showing the petioles, leafbases...

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- ... and inflorescence.

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- 6:24PM: The Chambeyronia macrocarpa var. 'Houailou' was just finishing putting out a new leaf, which was now fading completely to green. It is recovering from the cold damage suffered a while back. Many tour goers were looking underneath it at the crotons.

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- 6:41PM: "Dinner's ready!" The dinner call came echoing through the yard and we turned and headed back through the jungle. The tour continued after dinner and until the campfires were started. We planned what plants we could pull for Saturday morning and the list was short, so we waited for what tomorrow would bring.

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...next is Saturday morning and the rush to find more plants for the sales area...

Ryan

South Florida

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- Saturday, 8:59AM: The flow of foot traffic on Saturday morning was slow as usual, but picked up quickly after an hour, with both collectors and enthusiasts arriving in numbers. I think the supply of donuts, muffins and fresh orange juice had something to do with it. An early collector went through quickly, grabbing rarer palms in three and two gallon pots...

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- ...they were unique and represented a spread of different genera, including a Red Sealing Wax Palm, Cyrtostachys renda; Areca vestiaria var. 'Maroon Leaf'; Diamond Joey, Johannesteijsmannia altifrons; and a Dypsis carlsmithii.

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- 9:04AM: "Keep going, it will make it under the sign." The Rainforest Collection sign touched many palms during the sale, as tall palms were few, but were quite popular. A tall Wallichia disticha was next to pass underneath, along with a large Licuala ramsayi.

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- 9:36AM: The morning continued on, slowly approaching the noon hours and there was a casual feel to the sale. People went from section to section, but were less hectic, taking time to read signs and drink their morning beverages.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 9:36AM: Certain customers were back for their second day, but most were here for their first. When landscaping their yard with ornamental plants, sometimes a customer's design falls short and one or two more plants are needed. When they come back to get additional plants, they often get more ideas and even get hooked on a species or cultivar that perks their interest.

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- 9:37AM: Landscape Design by Smartphone. Volunteer and Designer Candace Leggett sits down and provides ideas for a customer while looking over photos.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 9:39AM: Volunteer and Croton collector extraordinaire Judy Glock assists in a customer's purchase of some of the remaining crotons. The section was getting quite thin.

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- 9:42AM: When a Bromeliad collector checks out at the registers, it is quite noticeable.

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- Soda powered help. The kids were going out to help unload the Bromeliads while on the left, Volunteers Missy and Edy check the receipt.

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- 9:43AM: When familiar customers entered the sales area, they would sometimes jokingly ask if there are any plants left and I would reply "Yes, but you better hurry if you're looking for something rare." They would occasionally speed off at a faster pace.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 9:44AM: The clouds began to build at times, but no one showed signs of leaving. Too many plants to get.

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- "The space to fill is this bigggg."

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- 9:45AM: The fruit trees were a welcome group this spring, with many customers looking through them intensely. They were looking for that one tropical fruit they like or perhaps a new one to try. We only had a few left on Sunday.

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- 10:15AM: Jim was at it again in the shadehouse, describing palms and telling stories of his collection or seeing them in habitat. He had the customers mesmerized.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 10:16AM: As it got closer to lunchtime, I could smell the BBQ grills being fired up and the crowd was quickly filling up the sales areas. I got behind Judy and used her as a blocker while heading to the shadehouse entrance.

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- 10:18AM: Candace (Candy) was always on the move, showing plants and explaining design ideas. She was here one minute, then gone the next.

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- 10:19AM: The landscape ornamentals were restocked during the day, as long as we had replacements. The runs to get more plants diminished as we ran out of stock of certain plants.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 10:20AM: It was fun watching the customers and the way their heads darted about, looking at everything, trying to take it all in. They do the mental calculations of whether or not they have room for it and wondering if they have one already.

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- 10:24AM: Those who entered the shadehouse for the first time from the side entrance got a close view of the gallon palms and cycads on the tables. Those new to palms would often try to pronounce the names out loud or show it to their friends.

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- 10:25AM: "Beep." A little traffic jam at the entrance.

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- Candy was at it yet again. She uses her hands to describe things the same way I do.

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Ryan

South Florida

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Man! I missed Lefty and Ray!!!

Zone 10a at best after 2007 AND 2013, on SW facing hill, 1 1/2 miles from coast in Oceanside, CA. 30-98 degrees, and 45-80deg. about 95% of the time.

"The great workman of nature is time."

"Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience."

-George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon-

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- 10:27AM: I made use of a specialist type of photographic equipment, namely a step ladder, to take slightly higher angle shots up and down the sidewalk. It worked good, but I can only do it during lulls in activity which do not last long.

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- The restocking was never ending. Even when we ran out of something, Jeff would pull as heavy as he could and it would still not be good enough. This was the second time getting more 2 gallon Diamond Joeys, Johannesteijsmannia altifrons and the very last of the Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii 3 gallons.

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- 10:32AM: That Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii in the above photo came a long way from another part of the nursery and had a hitchhiker during the trip.

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- 11:44AM: The selection only had one large Verschaffeltia splendida out for sale along with a pair of smaller ones and I was surprised it made it to almost noon on Saturday; before it was grabbed.

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Ryan

South Florida

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That Heterospathe cagayensis is fantastic.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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- 11:45AM: At a quarter to noon on Saturday, the BBQ production was in high gear and crowds of customers were streaming through the sales area. It was getting packed down the main road and along the side road where the barn is located. I noticed a few customers who managed to shop and eat at the same time...

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 11:46AM: I could smell the BBQ from this position at the end of the main road, plus six feet up a ladder. The hunger grew and I had to investigate...

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- 11:47AM: ... I kept shooting as I cut across the landscape plants and made my way through the shadehouse...

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- 11:51AM: When I got to the Barn I noticed the line was forming well and the food supply was keeping up with demand.

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- 11:52AM: Volunteer and Veteran Horticulturalist Derek Burch took turns answering questions in different sections of the sales area, usually in the tropicals area or with the landscape ornamentals. His plant knowledge is extensive and the scene is educational when you stand close by and listen in to his descriptions.

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Ryan

South Florida

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- 11:52AM: Sodas, drinks and bottle water was handed out all day long so even if someone was not hungry, they always had something to drink. The day's temperature was still rather mild but browsing plants always seems more fun when one has a cold beverage in hand.

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- Its an expected fact that when lunch starts the area near the barn becomes a cart parking lot. Customers will prefer to leave their carts where they can see them.

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- 11:53AM: Inside, the serving area next to the grills was a blur of hotdogs and hamburgers as they were delivered through the opening. I think I caught the customer on the right off guard when I was taking photos.

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- We had to add a round table just outside the Barn to handle the overflow of customers. This was in addition to the refurbished picnic tables out in behind the Barn that were also filling up.

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Ryan

South Florida

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@ Ryan

It's an excellent coverage of the event, thank you for sharing!

It has been nice chatting to you.

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Greetings from Amman/Jordan

Simona

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- 11:45AM: At a quarter to noon on Saturday, the BBQ production was in high gear and crowds of customers were streaming through the sales area. It was getting packed down the main road and along the side road where the barn is located. I noticed a few customers who managed to shop and eat at the same time...

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Ryan

That dude on the right is one bad looking mamma-jamma.

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:D :D

Zone 10a at best after 2007 AND 2013, on SW facing hill, 1 1/2 miles from coast in Oceanside, CA. 30-98 degrees, and 45-80deg. about 95% of the time.

"The great workman of nature is time."

"Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience."

-George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon-

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