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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrating Earth Day in Positive Park

Being the one year anniversary of Positive Park, Earth Day made it a perfect time to be commemorated. I was invited along with many others to participate in the fun festivities today.

An empty plot of land between the beautiful old buildings of historic Hillsborough High School in Tampa has been turned into a lovely and restful stroll through several garden areas. It is now called Positive Park.

The Environmental Club President, Hannah Hong, is to be credited with spearheading the project and was instrumental in getting faculty on board to sponsor and help make the vision come to fruition.

The other person most responsible for creating the gardens and nurturing them as her own is Janice Vogt, the school nurse and a graduate of HHS. She coordinated getting many of the plants donated and organized the ROTC to help get them planted. Mulch was delivered for free by a local garden center.

Janice's signature roses make up a large bed center stage and they are breathtaking.

The tropical gardens were added last fall and Janice lovingly extended the gardens to include the plants donated by the alumni.
Ferns, perfectly situated, have found their own way into the cracks of the mortar in the red brick walls that make up the background for the entire area.

A Forest Pansy Redbud tree donated and planted in memory of a recently deceased 1931 graduate.

Butterflies and lady bugs were released as part of the ceremonies. There were even plenty of Jadera bug nymphs adding brightness to several plants. They are helpful in eating the seeds of goldenrain tree and chinaberry. If they didn't eat them we just might be overrun by them.
The culinary class baked up the refreshments which included lady bug and froggie cookies.

Janice Vogt, school nurse and gardener with Virginia Overstreet, Master Gardener.

Activities were planned to help in the celebration. They included a demonstration on how to plant vegetables.

Then Hannah (President of the Environmental Club) and Katie (Vice-President) show us how to create a worm bin.

Nana K was there with her adorable grandson who helped transfer the worms to their new home.

It was evident that everyone involved has worked very hard to make the gardens a place of beauty. What a wonderful way for students and faculty to contribute and add value to their school. Planting plants and creating a little piece of paradise in the middle of a public school that will live-on long after the organizers have graduated.

It was a good way to celebrate Earth Day.


  1. Being able to involve in such initiatives is so meaningful. It is a perfect way to celebrate the earth day! I have read Janica and NanaK's blog for a while, feel I have known them in person :) It is so good you guys can meet to participate this festival.

  2. sounds like a great thing to be involved in.
    those jadera bugs are so beautiful and doing a much needed job.
    hope you had a wonderful time.
    happy april.

  3. What a treat to see HHS after all these years...and what a delightful story you've shared. Thank you, gail

  4. Beautiful pix, Meems! I never even saw the ferns on the walls -- how lovely!
    They're looking for donations of tools -- pruners, shovels, etc. -- so if anyone has a bunch they're no longer using, this is a good home for them.
    An interesting note: Because the building is historic, they were not able to install a rain barrel-irrigation system they'd hoped to have. So they're still watering with one hose -- and it's worn out.
    It was great to see you out there this morning, Meems. And better yet, to yak-yak-yak with fellow gardeners.

  5. My grandson and I had such a nice time there yesterday. You have captured the school and garden beautifully.

  6. The gardens look great...what a great way to spend Earth Day. Janice has done an outstanding job bringing beauty and nature to the school for students and faculty.

  7. Anytime you can share with the children, "It is a good thing".

  8. very nice post honey, and as i am an HHS grad, this was doubly interesting. since the school was completely rennovated a few years back to its original qualities with updated c/a&h and other system upgrades, it is an historic building that still meets the educational needs of hundreds of students. this garden addition is truly an enhancement not only for the esthetic value, but because it involves the students in maintaining it. i also shared the post with several alumni friends by email so they could know about Positive Park.

  9. I admire people who can turn nothing to a beautiful garden. Love every picture, including the ferns growing in the brick wall. And even bugs are special in your corner of the world! Thank you Meems!

  10. What a gorgeous garden. A fun and educational format.

  11. Meems,I just knew your photos would be beautiful, you have such talent. My favorite photo is the Resurrection fern growing out of the red brick. Thank you so much for coming to the first anniversary of Positive Park, it was great meeting you. NannaK it was good to see you again. I asked the kids to pay special attention to your grandson and they did and had a good time with him.
    So, Senior gardener What year did you graduate from the Big Red?

  12. Meems, this looks like a lovely place. I it open for public perusal? NanaK, your grandson is adorable, and I bet he really enjoyed those worms!

  13. Fantastic way to celebrate Earth Day, and a beautiful park! The jadera bugs are interesting...I'm glad you mentioned their benefit or I might think otherwise.
    I like the worm box...I'm going to start my own along with a composter...never done it before but am going to give it a shot!
    Happy Earth Day!

  14. How fantastic for this to be done. I think every school should have something like this.

  15. I love to see project like this were people can be involved to create something beautiful. The gardens look lovely and you must have had a great day. You live in a beautiful area and your garden is a treat as well. It is so important to involve the children to treat nature gently and learn to plant...

  16. That is such a great project & park. Perfect for Earth Day. I don't remember the grounds around my school being anything special at all. How nice to have such a beautiful place to attend school.

  17. response to Janis ~ well, you have put me on the spot now ;-) since Meems is my daughter, and her grandson is my great-grandson, you should not be surprised that i graduated eons ago in 1951, lol! what about you? are you an alumni?

  18. Senior Gardener, Yes I graduated from Hillsborough High in 1975. Janis


Have a blessed day,

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