You’ve heard of many famous gardens, right? The Garden of Eden, Cypress Gardens, maybe Kensington Gardens, and the Rose Garden at the White House – I could go on and on. But do you realize there are gardens galore right here in Goodland? Now, of course, they aren’t famous, but they are colorful, sometimes edible and sweet smelling.
One of the most unusual ones was created by Cleve and Jane Ann Smith. Cleve, who had never gardened much until this year, started all his plants from seed and he has had plants and vegetables galore on their dock all season. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had any success with seeds and I certainly have never had a container garden on my dock. Cleve is really having fun and he told me, “I am trying all sorts of new stuff and I love it all.”
Over at Calusa Island Village, the townhouses as you drive into Goodland, several residents have front and back gardens which they treasure. Laurie Van Dorn, my neighbor, loves hers. In fact she works hard tending to every detail, even the tiniest weed. She tells me, “I like everything neat – no weeds for me.” Laurie has a special knack for growing flowers and picking out colors. But just about the time Laurie gets her garden here perfect, she has to leave to start her garden up north. A woman’s work is never done, you know.
Right next door to Laurie, Frank and Ellen Hall have quite a bit going on as well. As it turns out, Frank comes from a family of gardeners and he loves getting into it as much as he can. I asked Frank how he became so interested in digging in the dirt. “When I was a kid in Boston, the city allowed kids to go to the suburbs and see how gardening was done.” Over the years Frank’s interest grew just like his gardens do now. He eventually had his own greenhouse and flower and vegetable business. Now, the garden behind his townhouse is just the right size and a wonderful hobby for Frank. He even has Proven Winner petunias. Colorful and happy flowers! Isn’t retirement great?
There are all sorts of gardens in Goodland. One even uses toilets as planters for beautiful impatiens. You haven’t lived until you see that one. Just drive around. You’ll find it.
Many Goodlanders try growing tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, peppers and more. But if they aren’t successful for one reason or another, they can always buy from Jim Bob who rides around on his golf cart selling veggies. Or they can buy from Gary’s produce stand at Stan’s on Sunday. Either way it is fun. We all know fresh produce is the best!
Some lucky people grow an orchid or two. Nothing prettier to me than an orchid hanging in a basket underneath a shade tree. So tropical. Isn’t that why we are all here?
That reminds me. Some folks are leaving for the summer. Those gardens will be neglected and we will have to start over next season. Oh well, we’ll be ready, running to the nurseries, planting seeds and plants galore, choosing colors too, maybe trying something new and loving every minute of it.
Joanie Fuller is the President of the Goodland Civic Association. She and her husband of 47 years, David Fuller, are residents of Goodland.