This free garden group was founded so that local gardeners could meet one another at frequent get-togethers to share their experiences, and offer and receive practical advice. Whether they're long-time residents very knowledgeable about gardening in this semi-tropical environment, or new residents from up north unfamiliar with the plants of southwest Florida, group members freely exchange valuable ideas at our informal meetings.
Most of the free two-hour gatherings take place in the homes and gardens of volunteer members, usually on Saturdays or Sundays when most members are free to attend. Some classes are also occasionally offered exclusively for our group at local garden centers and nurseries, many of which give our members discounts, as listed in the "Our Sponsors" column on the left side of the screen.
We're all inspired by the wide range of landscaping designs created in members' gardens. Usually members bring along light snacks and drinks to share during the gardening classes, although meeting hosts are under no obligation to do so. Hosts can also adjust the date and time of their gatherings to suit their convenience, and can specify the maximum number of people allowed to register to attend. Members who would like to host a group event can write to the group's organizers, Peter Kacalanos and Suzanne Cherney, at PeterSuzanne2@hotmail.com, or call them in Naples at (239) 331-2858.
Peter and Suzanne often host garden classes in the spacious (36'x60') screened enclosure located in their half-acre garden in Naples, with no concern about mosquitoes. Those who attend can relax around tables in the shade of three umbrellas on the patio, with comfortable couches and seating for 40. During these events, members also admire the dozens of goldfish and hundreds of other tiny fish swimming through the tropical water lilies, papyrus, lotus and other beautiful flowering aquatic plants in the enclosure's large ponds.
Visitors to the group's web site can instantly become members for free by clicking on the link to join. (It won't take long, did it?) They can then click on each link at the top of the screen to get useful information on every page of the extensive web site. The link marked Home lists the web site's latest changes, notably the upcoming free gardening classes. Clicking on the title of an event will bring up a page giving its full details. There you can show whether you will or won't attend by clicking on the green RSVP panel to reply Yes or No, and indicate the number if you're inviting any guests to come along. At each class you can meet a few of the well over a thousand local gardeners who are already members of the group. Welcome aboard.