By Kim Charles

This is my back patio, the view from my bedroom french doors.  The patio also is adjacent to my sunroom.  

Sonja from South Florida has learned how to garden in tough conditions thanks to her Master Gardener education.

"I live in Fort Myers, Florida.  A very difficult climate with 8-9 months of near drought conditions and 3-4 months of tropical rains.  It is a sub-tropical climate. The soil in this area is very tough so most of these plants are in pots.  The small fountain was chosen to give us the refreshing sound of splashing water.  I use native plants extensively for hedges and trees and fill in with lovely, large leafed tropicals that I can water and fertilize to keep them lush.  I am a 28 year Master Gardener here in Lee County and can’t emphasize enough how much I have learned from the various Extension programs in our area."

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In the front yard, a colorful mailbox is surrounded by 'Ellen Bosanquet' crinums.

This orchid has found a new home at the Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  The estates will be one of our gardens feautured by the Royal Horticultural Society's Hampton Court show in England this summer.


A profusion of native palms — here the thrinax radiata backed by the giant, white bird of paradise,
the lady palm and the colorful leaves of a copperleaf.


The purple flowers and berries of native beauty berry, offset the complimentary color of bright orange in the cleordendrum, the soft billows of the ming plant, and the spiky thorns of the acanthus.

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