Need a new garden? Don’t be daunted by the post-Irma landscape; instead, this is an opportunity to re-envision a new, more sustainable backyard. From lost shade trees to saltwater damage, the Key West Garden Club can help, with its annual plant sale that will be bigger and more informative than ever. Taking place at West Martello on Saturday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 19, the club will sell its own locally cultivated plants as well as hosting vendors such as Soroa Orchids, Searle Brothers, Tropiflora, Holmes Bamboo, Peter’s Croton Nursery and Grimal Grove, specializing in all tropical plants from palms to orchids. Also, there will be six informational sessions about gardening post-hurricane, helping everyone navigate, from saving trees to tending orchids.

“All the native plants do better, period,” said Garden Club President Rosi Ware. Touring West Martello with Ware, it’s obvious the plants and trees that were able to weather a storm: Lignum Vitae, “which can withstand everything”; bamboo, “so beautiful and dramatic and moves with the wind”; Frangipani, which “always does well in a storm”; Fiddlewood – “love Fiddlewood trees because they have beautiful green leaves, smell good and (have) small white flowers”; and palms which are “meant for wind” such as Seashore Palm, Silver Leaf and Buccaneer, all of which will be on sale. There are enough varieties thriving on the grounds of West Martello to help gardeners decide how to replant.

“Because we lost so much canopy, many people will have sunny gardens this year,” said Ware. “It’s a great time to plant a butterfly garden because all the plants thrive in the sun.” Butterfly gardens consist of small flowering plants with vines for caterpillars and nectar plants for the butterflies to eat. These gardens include Lantana, Plumbago, Milkweed, Firebush, Golden Dewdrop and Passion vines. The club just replanted its own butterfly garden which can provide inspiration.

There will also be a croton specialist – another hearty tropical plant – plus bromeliads, beautiful Staghorn and Elkhorn Ferns from West Martello’s nursery, and a plant sale would not be complete without orchids, lots of orchids. The club members will be on hand to help and vendors will be selling inspired jewelry, artwork and hand crafted items.

Gardening Tips From the Key West Garden Club President Rosi Ware

  1. Do not fertilize after a hurricane, because it can burn the plants.
  2. Post-hurricane plants need lots of water to clean off the saltwater.
  3. New plants need water every day for about three weeks.
  4. Give plants a few weeks before removing them; they may not be dead and regrow.

Lily after the stormThe Crinum Lily is a healthy spidery type white lily that grows well after a storm.

Garden Club member Sharon Liberman will sell her delicate, original succulent gardens she creates as a way to reuse broken pots.


Nov. 18:

11:00 am         – Growing orchids                               Jose Exposito Soroa of Soroa Orchids

12:00 pm         – Palms                                                Patrick Tierney

1:00 pm           – Planting after a hurricane                 Kim Gabel

Nov. 19:

11:00 am         – Repotting your orchids                     Jose Exposito Soroa of Soroa Orchids

12:00 pm         – Resetting trees after a hurricane     John Harris of Earth Advisers

1:00 pm           – Fruit trees                                         Patrick Garvey of Grimal Grove

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.

Hays Blinckmann is an oil painter, author of the novel “In The Salt,” lover of all things German including husband, children and Bundesliga. She spends her free time developing a font for sarcasm, testing foreign wines and failing miserably at home cooking.