|The pathway just beyond the begonia container strays off from this beautiful scene and leads into the natural woodsy acreage of the Brown's garden.|
Spanish moss is an epiphyte (air plant) in the bromeliad family. The misconception is that the moss lives off the tree it hangs from, when in reality it lives off the nutrients in the air/rain/dew and doesn't take any from its host site. Too much moss in a tree can prevent the tree from receiving enough sunlight and that could pose a potential problem.
|Rick and Sydney Brown erected timbers and placed netting on top to create the ceiling for dripping Spanish moss.|
The moss garden creates the perfect environment to enhance the growth of the tropical plants is houses. Dripping moss adds overhead protection from the sun's rays and captures the heat and humidity requirements for tropical plants .
|Part of the Moss Garden viewed from the entry pathway sansvisitors.|
It's like walking into a small piece of paradise within a paradise. Pause. Breathe. Take in every vista. A botanical garden within the forest of trees.
|This water feature is one of many throughout the gardens.|
The Brown's moss garden is definitely one of the most unique creations I've seen in a residential Florida garden. It could be used as a romantic altar for a wedding or a garden tea party for a small group of friends or just a quiet peaceful place for a cup of morning coffee.
The *wall* of Tillandsia was the highlight for me (I've wanted to do this for a very long time). These epiphytes are most intriguing in form, shape and habit. They need good air circulation, high humidity and bright (but not direct) light for best performance. Attached to vertical lines the Brown's have artistically displayed them and provided the optimal environment for their success. Glorious.
What a delight it is to be invited into the garden of fellow plant and garden lovers. No matter the size, the scale, the simplicity or the extravagance, walking through anyone's garden gate is a privilege and a valued treat. Much thanks to the Browns for their open-hearted hospitality and for sharing the beauty of much hard work with the rest of us.
Sydney Park Brown
Associate Professor and Extension Specialist
UF/IFAS GCREC-Plant City Campus
Rick Brown is co-owner and the face of Riverview Flower Farms.
If you've ever met Rick you know he is one of the most encouraging and helpful garden growers that also produces beautiful and healthy plants for Florida gardeners. Here is a great article that details the growth history of his business.
Here's a link to my photos from previous visits to Riverview Flower Farms.
**I wrote this article last summer and it was hanging out in my drafts all this time waiting for a few edits. On this coldest winter day so far of our Central Florida season, the Brown's garden gently reminds us why we love to garden in Florida through every season. Stay warm. Meems
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