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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.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chickens are Calling

It seems everywhere I turn lately there are chickens. Like plants, they come in so many colors and varieties.

How perfect would life be to gather up hen-laid, organic eggs for breakfast each morning! My neighbors wouldn't appreciate my latest longing for chickens. Maybe someday when I move to my craftsman style dream home? In the country. On a few acres. *Dreaming is okay!*

In the meantime, what a great idea it is for Florida Native Plants to allow them daily roaming space. They are a natural source for organic bug control.

If you're ever in the Sarasota area a trip eastward to Florida Native Plants Garden Center is worth the country drive. I have been there a few times and they are a great resource for Florida native plants that you might not find in your local garden center.
The dead of winter is a perfect time to visit garden centers. Would you agree? With all the dreaming gardeners like to do it is an opportune time to scope out what is cold hardy and to garner the undivided attention of knowledgeable employees. In very close proximity to FL Native Plants is Crowley's Nursery. So be sure to wind around the curvy roads and follow the signs down the bumpy dirt road to find them.

You will find a heavenly acreage full of wonder. They are most well-known for their enormous selection of fruits and fruit trees. The wide range of fruits that grow in central Florida might surprise you.

On this visit I went with a group of fellow Master Gardeners. Talking with the Crowley family is like having a walking (Florida) encyclopedia at your disposal. They are extremely good, hard-working folks who don't mind sharing what they know.

Even in the middle of all the frosts and freezes we've had this season there are always pretties to be seen. Not to mention pretties to be purchased.

Oh, it's those chickens again. See. I told you they just keep showing up to taunt me.

I'm definitely going back to Florida Native to pick up some much coveted Mimosa. After all there are more lawn removal projects going on around here and replacement groundcover is needed.

I do SO appreciate their signage. Easy to read. Good information. A must for a worthy garden center.


  1. You are in turn taunting me. I love seeing the chickens wandering about doing organic pest control. I like to hear their vocalizations as they go on their rounds. You always know when they find a nice juicy bug to flaunt.

  2. I still remember when I visited my grandparents in the countryside when I was litter, and gathering those organic eggs... Fun memory! I won't be too surprised if someday you can not resist the temptation and bring some chickens home! Visiting those nurseries sound lots of fun. I have been discoverying lots of local nurseries recently, and amazed how many more plants I can find there that I don't see in big box store. Feel like treasure hunt. Only if I can have more land! Well like you said: "Dreaming is okay!" :)

  3. I am ashamed of myself. I live in Sarasota and I have not been there since we moved back in 2008. Thought about going many times, but never did. In the next 2 weeks I will definitely go!!!

  4. Ooooh...I wish I was closer. It looks like a great place for dreams to come to fruition. Glad you were able to enjoy the tour.
    Uh, I couldn't help noticing, you didn't mention what you brought home? ;P

  5. Meems, I know I told you I did not want chickens again, but at about 4pm after my Fall party I was gifted 3 day old they remind me of vintage lace. My all time favorite chicken is called the Easter chicken they lay GREEN eggs My husband built a very cute country looking coop with a metal roof, they have a fenced in area to run around in.I am not going to let them run all over my garden they will scratch my mulch all over. They are very happy and cute, we will get eggs in about two more months. Janis

  6. Nope-sorry-no chickens for me.Manure,maybe,but not the real live thing.
    that IS one nursery I have had on my list to visit.

  7. The chickens will take care of the lubber grasshopper problems that come in early summer. A neighbors chicken used to wander into the yard and we haven't had any grasshoppper problems since.

  8. I have been SO tempted to try chickens since Janis' friend, Sally, told us about her very suburban-friendly (small, quiet) varieties. And sanddune's comment about lubber control -- well, that about puts me over the edge.
    I ditto Meem's observation about how much good, quality time you can get with the nursery folks this time of year. They seemed thrilled just to have someone to talk to, which you won't get in March, and they have lots and lots of tips to share.

  9. It definitely would be great to have fresh organic eggs everyday, and the chicken droppings would be great for the garden, too. Sounds like you hade an enjoyable trip, but you didn't tell us what plants you purchased.

  10. I've been eyeing chickens but my hubby says "no." I may have to borrow some chickens just for a day or so when I see the first lubber babies emerging.

    I think I NEED to go to that nursery:)

  11. Lisa,
    We've got a bad case of chicken-desire.

    One never knows ... I many be able to work around the negatives and bring some home eventually. I have fond memories of chickens, too.

    Siesta Sister,
    Funny how that works. Sometimes it's the sites closest to us we take for granted. We think we will get there when we need to. I do hope you can get there and enjoy when you do.

    There is a great center over your way and I can't think of the name of it but I wanted to go with a group last year and couldn't make it. I'll try to dig it up and e-mail you if I can find it. The day I went with the MG's there wasn't much room in the county van for plants but I got a king's mantle shrub (crowley's), Native Climbing Aster, & Native Royal Fern.

  12. Oh Janis,
    Perfect! Your Mr. Grumpy is surely accomodating with his handy tools. The Easter chicken is adorable. Maybe I could manage them??? You must have yours back behind the window wall??? So happy for you... you need to post about them.

    I hear ya. I didn't think I'd ever want them either... but oh my how things can change.

    I've always wondered about them eating the grasshoppers. That's reason enough to let them roam about!

  13. Penny,
    This new information from Janis is kicking up my desire a notch. And what if they really did control lubbers... OH. MY. I've been pushed...

    I listed the plants in my comment to Daisy. Today I went back and bought the mimosa (24 of them), some native prostrate petunia, and some more royal fern.

    I think you NEED to go, too. I would have called you to go with but I was visiting my dad also. We should plan a trip (even a group~~ Janis? Chris? Penny?)because I'm always willing to go back. There are a couple of others we could combine on the way, too.

  14. Hi Meems,
    I'm planning on raising 3 chickens in our urban garden starting this Spring. Our neighbor has them as well and they seem easy. Just don't get a rooster our your neighbors might cackle. :-)
    I've done some research on the friendliest chickens since I want them as pets. Something called a Buff Orpington is one of the sweetest as a pet. It lays brown eggs. I've not read all the comments, so sorry if someone already mentioned this.
    David/ Tropical Texana/

  15. Meems, I would love to go nursery shopping, just give us the date. Oh, I just posted my chickens on my blog. Let me know what you think. Janis

  16. Love the chickens Meems! I have a chicken-raising fantasy too (as does my oldest daughter.) We've done the next best thing recently, and are now getting organic, pastured, farm-fresh eggs straight from the farmer. (There's no comparison to store eggs, even organic store eggs.) It's getting easier in the Chicago area to get really fantastic local, organic food.

    Your native plants nursery looks like a real gem. Master Gardeners are great company for that kind of field trip!

  17. Looks like a wonderful place to visit, Meems. I, too, love the idea of fresh eggs. However, I don't like the idea of fresh (or even well-behaved!) chickens! Don't do claws and beaks, but I do like to admire them from afar at our favorite local nursery, where they also have 2 donkeys, goats and cats!

  18. Janis,
    We will arrange something in the next couple of weeks. Will e-mail you. Your chickens are just exactly what I need! :-)

    Oh, I used to have a source for fresh eggs and I need to find another. We eat a lot of eggs.
    I am a member of an organic co-op for vegetables and they have been discussing adding grass fed beef and eggs... we'll see. If only my native plant nursery wasn't 1.5 hr away it would be perfect.

    Who knows? Maybe I wouldn't be so good with claws and beaks either. But they are SO useful I think I could get used it. :-) This nursery also donkeys and goats... they are WAY out in the middle of nowhere.

  19. I would very much like to have chickens but not in the city. We had them when I was a kid. Plenty of fresh eggs as well as an occasional meal. It was also a source of some income for my dear mother. Hard raising 4 kids in that day.

  20. I am desperate to identify a Flax lily type of plant or perhaps grass to help meet the dying wish of a family member.

    I did not see this flower and therefore don’t think that it does.

    I saw this plant in Massachusetts growing in the warm seasons and it was growing on stalks with flax like leaves every where. The plant is about one foot tall.

    I do have pictures so if you respond, I can email them to you.



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