Down in St. Augustine

(Editor: A year ago, Marjorie sent this note and an accompanying CD of her trip to St. Augustine, dated Feb. 24-25, 2015. Unfortunately a hospital crisis at home led to a great deal of disorganization in my office and it wasn’t until I began to de-clutter that I found this. Well, it’s still February, isn’t it?)

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If the snow gets too deep and all your meetings are cancelled, it’s time to consult the Internet to find a garden club course in a warm environment. So it’s cold (9°F) in Westminster and I am here in St. Augustine, Florida (max 81°) taking an E course on “The Living Earth”. We have eight hours of classroom lectures and yesterday, we had a two hour field trip to Saturiwa. This area, the home of one of our lecturers, Mr. Adams, is a 94 acre conservation and natural history site on the St. John’s River. It’s dedicated to biological and wildlife protection.

Yesterday, we walked for two hours in the pine forest including a 3/4 mile walk on an elevated trail and boardwalk over the swampy area that leads out on to the St. John’s River. We were shown some of Mr. Adams’ forest management methods like selective harvesting and controlled burns. Selective areas were burned. Most of the pine trees survived but the tall grasses and bushes were reduced to dust. Three months later, we were able to see ferns, grasses and flowering plants emerging from the ashes of the controlled burn.

One of the many advantages of studying in this area is to see daffodils blooming in the garden at the St. John’s Cooperative Extension Service (7 miles NW of St. Augustine). Cherry trees are blooming in the garden. I saw marigolds, snap dragons, parsley, kale, swiss chard, ornamental cabbage, etc. Just a reminder that Spring is on its way.

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