Leu Gardens Annual Plant Sale

Being avid gardeners we look forward to this annual plant sale.  There are vendors from all over the state selling their wares.  There are tropical plants, flowers, and all the things that a gardener could need to tend their garden available.  In addition, there are groups that are at the plant sale to give gardeners information.  Such as this little guy who is a native species and the group was asking gardeners to plant native specie plants.


Every year there is a private hour for members of the botanical gardens to get in an hour before the general public.  Luckly, we are members of the botanical garden.  Even getting there early for the private hour, the crowd starts to get big.  The below picture is just one entrance to the garden and you can see it was starting to get busy.


All who are knowledgeable of this plant sale always bring a wagon of some sort.  Because those who buy do buy a lot.  The following slideshow is just a small portion of the plants we saw for sale.

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It is a great time for all who attend.  We came away with our wagon full of plants as you can see.


Going Bananas

As we have told in past posts we have a nice garden in which we grow many different fruits and vegetables.  This time of year we are harvesting bananas.  Once the flower forms on the banana tree it takes 3 to 4 months before you can harvest the fruit.  This year we are very lucky to have 3 bunches growing at the same time.  We just harvested our first bunch.


The best way to harvest the huge bunch of bananas is one hand at a time.  Each of the above sections shown in the picture is called a “hand.”  Several hands make up a bunch when we harvest them.  We still have two more bunches to harvest.

With so many bananas ripening at the same time what are you to do?  Well of course you eat some but that is too many to eat before they ripen too much.  So… we make banana muffins and banana bread.  We are often told that our banana muffins and banana bread is so tasty but when friends try to recreate our recipe they cannot get the same taste.  The secret is simple.  We use fresh bananas from the garden not ones from the store.


Once they are made we can freeze the muffins and bread and take them out whenever we want a treat.

Lukas Nursery

When you visit Lukas Nursery you are visiting a piece of Central Florida history.  Paul Lukas and Mary Klimek emigrated to the United States from Czechosovakia.  Mary in 1899 and Paul in 1905.  They met in Cleveland, Ohio and got married in 1908.

In 1911, Paul and Mary had enough of the city and decided to live the life of farmers.  They left Cleveland with six other families settled in the Oviedo area and began their farm in 1912.  They named the area where the farm was located as Slavia.

Over time that farm became Lukas Nursery.  In 2012, they celebrated 100 years of doing agriculture in the same location the family settled.  In fact, they even wrote it in a sidewalk on the property.  The inscription reads; ” 100 years 1912 – 2012 In agriculture at the same location.  We love our customers.  Thank you!  The Lukas Family”


The nursery has a big selection of very large pots that are not normally found anywhere else.


Of course, the nursery has a huge variety of plants.


And sprinkled throughout the nursery are all sorts of garden statues, fountains, and interesting finds.


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Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Gardens were built in 1868 as the family home of Mitchell Henry and his wife Margaret Vaughan Henry.  Mitchell built it as a token of his love for Margaret.  The house was sold in 1903 to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester.  Upon the death of the Duchess’s father the two lost the house as it was too expensive to maintain.  In 1920 the Benedictine Nuns took over the property and are still there today.  Through the years the Nuns have operated an international girls boarding school which was closed in 2010.  Nevertheless, the Nuns maintain a close relationship with Notre Dame University of Indiana USA and has become one of their Global Gateways for learning and social exchange.

We were lucky enough to enjoy this wonderful piece of history when we visited Ireland.  We hope you enjoy this video of our tour there.

Irish National Stud and Gardens

We visited Ireland’s famous Stud Farm in County Kildare were prize winning thoroughbred horses are raised.  The idyllic surroundings and best care make for a wonderful afternoon of exploration in the Ireland countryside.  The guides are very knowledgeable of all the horses and even know them all by name.  One of the highlights of our trip was to see the new-born colts and their famous sires.  The gardens surrounding the property are beautiful and serene.  Their Japanese Garden is renowned throughout the world as one of the best in Europe.  It is hard to put into words one of the prettiest places we have ever been to.  To share this with all of you here is a video of our visit.


Audubon House – Key West

The current home known as Audubon House was built by Captain John Huling Geiger in the 1840s for his family.  The family lived in the house for almost 100 years.


For six weeks in 1832, John James Audubon stayed at a home that was located on the property before Captain Geiger built the present house.  It was during these six weeks that John James Audubon painted 22 of his 435 Havell plates that represent birds.

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In 1958, when the current house was in dilapidated condition it was rescued and became the Audubon House.  It was then that it was converted to a museum and tropical gardens.  It was during this restoration that it was decided that since John James Audubon had stayed at the property that the museum would depict what it was like to live on Key West island during this period.


The tropical gardens on the property are well-known for their large collection of orchids.

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Le Jardin d’Èze

Le Jardin d’Èze is also known as the Jardin Exotique d’Èze and it is located on the site of a medieval fortress that sits 429 meters above the Mediterranean Sea. The panoramic views from the garden offers one of the most spectacular sights in all of the French Riviera.


The south-facing side of the garden features numerous species of succulent plants and xerophytes from all the continents.


The north face, with its caves and cascade, shelters plants from the Mediterranean as well as plants from other humid regions.

May_195May_163Since the garden was built on the site of a medieval fortress the village surrounding the fortress ruins have become a place to stop and grab a bite to eat or a little bit of shopping.


Fresh Tomatoes for Thanksgiving

Nothing can compare to a fresh tomato from the garden.  We wait patiently for them since we grow our own.  Living in Central Florida we get two seasons for growing tomatoes, Spring and Fall.  We start our Fall season tomatoes in July from seed.


We then nurture them over the next few months.


Now we get to reap the harvest of great tasting tomatoes that you cannot buy in the supermarket.  We grow all varieties and they are all good.


All the vegetables shown in the next picture were grown and picked from our garden.