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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our fourth calendar year
    PCR #180  (Vol. 4, No. 36)  This edition is for the week of September 1--7, 2003.

Florida's Gardens Up Front and Personal -- Part One
by Will Moriaty
"Dickie Roberts"
by Mike Smith
Sci-Fi Hunks and Babes (or is Salma Hayek the Frank Frazetta girl?)
 by Vinnie Blesi
"Filthy" the official premiere reviewwed!
 by Ashley Lewis
"Hollywood, Horrorwood" (Pillars), Part 3
 by John Lewis
Gay World.....One Shots....Movie News....Things I Didn't Know But Maybe I Should Have
 by Brandon Jones
Answering My Critics
 by Matt Drinnenberg
You Never Give Me Your Money....Welcome To The 21st Century (RS's Top 10 Guitarists)....Passing On
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Florida's Gardens Up Front and Personal -- Part One

My love for Florida's flora is of no surprise to anyone who knows me. This started out to be a book review but evolved into my own introduction to and interactions with the many fine gardens noted in the book 'Guide to the Gardens of Florida" by Lilly Pinkas. I will give a review summary of this fine book once I have finished my own story first. What I have done is structured my tale in a similar manner of encapsulating Florida's gardens into the categories shown in Ms. Pinkas's book. She has nine categories in the book, eight of which are based on their geographical location in the state.

For other reviews I have made on Florida's wonderful gardens, please link to PCR numbers 94 and 95 ("Florida's Fabulous Gardens"), and 130 ("Historic Landscapes of Florida").

Maclay State Gardens, Tallahassee: Located in the densely wooded red clay hills of Leon County, Maclay has the finest collection in the state of ornamental and native trees and shrubs found in more typically cooler temperate climates. February and March are the most stunning months with breathtaking blooms of Saucer Magnolia (M.x soulangiana), Redbud (Cercis Canadensis), Flowering Cherry (Prunus campanulata) and Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida). In addition, there are specimens of locally indigenous natives that are also found in the cold cliff faces of the high Appalachians, plants such as mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and Sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum). I had first visited this southern extension of the Piedmonts in February 1985 on my first trip to visit former Florida Department of Transportation Landscape Architect Gary Henry in order to pursue T.R.E.E. Inc.'s first Interstate planting which occurred in 1986.For more information on Maclay Gardens, link to: http://www.floridastateparks.org/maclaygardens/default.asp

Torreya State Park, Bristol: First visited in May 1998 with my wife Karen Cashon and Friends Greg and Kathy Howe, Torreya State Park is located along the high bluffs of the Appalachicola River. In addition to having one of the few native populations of the rare and Federally endangered Florida Torreya (T. taxifolia), this park appears for all intents and purposes to be a slice of the Appalachian Mountains moved south some three hundred miles. For more information on Torreya State Park, link to: http://www.floridastateparks.org/torreya/default.asp

Ravine State Gardens, Palatka: More than 40,000 Azaleas were planted in this one hundred-foot deep ravine that is home to spring fed ponds dotted with water lilies, making spring a riot of color. Initially visited in July 1981 with Bob Scheible and Greg Van Stavern after our infamous "U.F.O. Hill" visit (see PCR #173). For more information on Ravine State Gardens, link to: http://www.floridastateparks.org/ravinegardens/default.asp

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville: Contains one of the largest bamboo and water lily collections in Florida, as well as a first rate herb garden. In 1988 I furnished the Gardens with the design for the "William Bartram Native Plant Demonstration Gardens" which was installed along an escarpment west of Lake Kanapaha in 1989 and 1990. One of my favorite anecdotes is when the Gardens was "busted" by the D.E.A. in the fall of 1990 as the leaves of Red Hibiscus (H. coccinea) I donated were mistaken as marijuana. Upon discovery of the plant's red blooms, the D.E.A.'s face also turned red as their agents marched back into their helicopter without substantiating their reasonable cause. My fondest memory was going with my former employers Allen and Ellen Shapiro (of former Plant Shoppe and current San Felasco Nurseries) on one of the Garden's "Moonlight Walks" back in the fall of 1989. For more information on Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, link to: http://www.kanapaha.org/

Maitland Art Center, Maitland: First visited in July 1999 with friend Susan Hughes, this collection of buildings with Aztec and Mayan facades was an artists retreat built by artist/architect Andre Smith (who allegedly still haunts the premises, see PCR # 131) in the 1930's. For more information on this unique collection of buildings, ponds and nooks and crannies, link to: http://www.maitartctr.org/

University of Central Florida Arboretum, Orlando: Finally, a place that pays homage to my favorite native Florida tree, the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), this fine arboretum does an exemplary job of labeling and identifying the many native trees, both naturally occurring and planted, on this northeastern parcel of the school's campus. First visited in February 2002, the native Wetland area with its boardwalk is particularly enjoyable. For more information on the University of Central Florida Arboretum, link to: http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~arbor/home.html

Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando: possibly the finest botanical gardens in Central Florida, this institution is both owned and operated by the City of Orlando. First visited in July 1984 with former girl friend Judy Anderson of Clearwater, Leu claims the largest collection of camellias in the eastern United States, as well as having a first rate Rose Garden, Palm Garden, Daylily Garden, Herb Garden, White Flower Garden and Floral Clock. I have sporadically donated T.R.E.E. Inc. material to the Gardens as recently as 1999. When in Orlando, don't miss this treasure. For more information on Harry P. Leu Gardens, link to: http://www.leugardens.org/

Next week: In Part Two, we will visit gardens that were the launching pad to T.R.E.E. Inc. and my own marriage. We will start with the University of South Florida's Botanical Gardens in Tampa, and wind our way down to the exquisite and world class Fairchild Tropical Garden in Coral Gables. All in next week's "La Floridiana" here in PCR!

"La Floridiana" is ©2003 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.